Managing Health and Safety in the construction industry and achieving an overall good level of occupational health involves the supervision of a wide array of risks and a huge level of dedication, organisation and knowledge.
Construction workers face hazards that vary in nature and potential severity, including the risks associated with working at height, working with electricity, asbestos-related health issues and manual handling. As well as the variety of risks, the nature of the work involved in construction can make managing health and safety on site more challenging than in other industries, and therefore more consuming of your company’s resources.
Factors that can increase the H&S workload in construction include –
- A constantly changing environment: As construction projects develop, the work and conditions involved change, meaning that new risks are present and new risk management measures are necessary.
- A manual, out of office work environment: When the majority of your team are working on-site on manual jobs (as opposed to desk-based work) it makes ensuring the completion of relevant health and safety paperwork more challenging.
- The volume and variety of risks, rules and regulations: Due to the nature of the industry, the potential risks are various and the regulations required to prove that workers are safeguarded are extensive.
While these challenges can often complicate your mission to improving occupational health in the construction industry, technology can provide solutions and methods to alleviate the workload.
As the world becomes more digitised, the days of excessive paperwork and being tied to the desk are numbered.
Here are some ways in which technology can not only make managing health and safety in construction easier but also improve occupational health on your construction site:
Make it mobile
A vital part of identifying and managing risks is being present on site and seeing potential hazards for yourself. Mobile-friendly software can now allow you to assess risks and build risk assessment documents while you’re moving around on-site, meaning hazards are less likely to be overlooked and the process is made quicker.
Mobile technology also means that contractors and construction workers are able to engage more with health and safety processes. The use of specialist apps, like NotifyIt, allows workers to report incidents, near misses, or potential hazards wherever they are on-site, without the need to leave their post to go and fill out paperwork.
Apps also allow team members to provide visuals such as photos and videos of risks and provide accurate location details to site managers and safety officers. The more accurate data you can accumulate, the easier patterns will be to spot, meaning that you increase your ability to catch serious incidents before they happen.
Use the Cloud
Storing important information, such as best practice documents, training notes, risk assessments, plans, and permissions online means that the whole team has access to the information they need from their mobile devices, not to mention that they’re also more secure and version control is far simpler.
This means that if workers are unsure of the correct procedures for a task, they’re less likely to take unnecessary risks in the spirit of saving time, as they can check the best practice and training notes from their mobile devices. Finding a cloud provider that works offline will mean that mobile data and Wi-Fi issues won’t impact access to your important documents.
The more quickly risks can be resolved, the safer your workforce is.
In general, technology is effective at increasing the speed at which processes can be carried out. With specialist software (like Notify Incident Management), near miss and incident reporting can be completed within 60 seconds of the incident taking place, meaning that site managers are alerted and can follow up on incidents through to resolution quickly.
Technology allows for real-time responses to changes in circumstance and environment. In a changing environment like a construction site, new risks that become relevant can be assessed, added to risk assessment documents and distributed to your team quickly, without the need for brand new documents to be drawn up. This means that as the conditions on-site develop, the whole team is kept up to date on any procedural changes or additions to health and safety precautions as the changes are made.
Sound communication methods mean that misunderstandings and mistakes are reduced, helping to ensure the safety of your team. Assigning tasks, scheduling events and communicating across different sites and work schedules are aided by the use of a shared online communication hub. This simplifies planning audits, inspections and assessments, as well as removing complications around ensuring tasks are completed, vital safeguarding work has been done, and the relevant information is shared to the appropriate parties. As an example, take a look at Notify’s Audits and Inspections module.
Specialist health and safety software can help you track your actions, including carrying out assessments, implementing safety precautions, and delivering or receiving training. Tracking actions means that should any actions be missed, or incidents left unresolved, they can be caught and rectified before they affect the safety of your team (and keep your business compliant with the various rules and regulations relating to construction).
Occupational health in a construction setting can be improved through technology by keeping workers and team members informed, simplifying and speeding up communication and reporting, allowing your approaches and risk resolution activities to be responsive, and providing a virtual paper trail to improve audits and keep your business compliant. By streamlining the health and safety management processes, technology reduces the amount of resource spent on chasing paperwork and allows you to concentrate on keeping your team safe and risks minimised.
Want to find out more about how your construction company can benefit from including technology into its health and safety processes? Read more about how Notify’s health and safety management software products work for the construction industry and get in touch to arrange a demo of our highly-configurable software.