A safe working environment is imperative for any person involved in working in the construction industry.
Construction sites can be dangerous places and accidents can happen. This fundamental concern should be at the forefront of all plans developed by project owners and contractors, as well as a key factor for workers on-site carrying out potentially dangerous tasks.
The improved planning and communication involved with digital construction management can greatly reduce the risks to workers and minimise any dangers they may face.
With increased construction safety, owners and contractors can lower the amount of money spent on repairing damaged equipment, pay lower insurance premiums, and avoid the delays and other headaches that follow from on-site accidents.
Construction sites can be dangerous places to work. Project teams are exposed to a variety of risks, including electrocution due to bad wiring, the risk of falls from height, and even the potential for respiratory tract problems due to toxic airborne fibres.
There might be the risk of crush injuries due to moving or falling objects, or accidents due to moving vehicles that are difficult to manoeuvre. There can be instances when faulty equipment causes accidents.
Although workers should be trained to avoid on-site hazards and take a safety-first attitude to their job, eliminating all risk is impossible. The use of casual workers, many lacking in experience, can increase the risk of something going wrong.
Accidents can also involve pedestrians or other non-construction workers. In these types of cases, a construction company or worker, contractor, subcontractor may be held responsible for any injuries.
Apart from the human cost, accidents can lead to huge repercussions for a building project, including increased costs, fines and delays – as well as possibly tarnishing the reputation of the contractor, the client and the project itself.
A culture of safety is paramount on any building site – and the steps that can be taken include greater accountability, better communication on-site and better oversight that work is completed according to safety procedures and regulations.
One way to help install this culture is with a digital software solution being incorporated at every level of the job, through mobile apps on smartphones and tablets.
Greater communication and access to files and plans mean that workers are better informed when they step on-site, meaning they are less likely to make a mistake. And it means a contractor has more control of who is on their site, casual workers included.
Working with a paper-based system, subcontractors were more likely to take a chance, rather than spending precious time to go off-site to consult a plan in an office. Now they can access what information they need from whatever area or floor they happen to be on, without losing time or taking any unnecessary risks.
The integrated system of accumulating documentation in the field also means that corners are less likely to be cut as everyone is more accountable for what they do and therefore the quality of work is higher.
Construction software that gathers and collates on-site safety reports inform and educate. With this kind of information at their disposal, site managers can make decisions that will reduce the danger for workers and help avoid safety issues that have occurred repeatedly in the past.
Zutec is keenly aware of the importance of safety, both to the well-being of workers and to the successful completion of a project. The Zutec platform drives greater safety on-site, through better communication and access to information, as explained above.
But it also helps ensure safer sites through better planning. BIM models, for example, help architects, designers and contractors to spot problems with the building or the site in a 3D virtual representation of the building. This allows for many potential dangers to be removed before there are even any boots on the ground. It also allows for greater planning, meaning smoother running of the site with fewer problems to solve, and fewer decisions taken on the hoof which may lead to confusion or mistakes.
And it makes possible better general over-sight – all stakeholders, from main contractor, up the chain of command, can keep a closer eye on what is going on on-site and ensure that everything is being done properly and safely.