Our series of articles on the tools reshaping construction has already highlighted the overwhelming benefits of construction’s digital revolution. Handover, CDE, Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Document Management software have all helped to deliver efficiencies; better data accuracy and security; greater insight for improved operational decisions; a more cohesive, collaborative workforce; safer worksites; enhanced productivity; higher quality buildings; and happier end-clients.
In the fifth and final article on digital construction tools, we turn our attention to the impact of digital Health & Safety inspections.
In construction – an industry where the risks and hazards are very real – effective H&S management is critical. Not only does it ensure compliance and afford legal protection to the responsible parties, it also serves the far more important and fundamental role of keeping people safe.
Paper: slow, inaccurate, labour-intensive, dangerous
Manual processes and paper-based reporting in Health & Safety are riddled with disadvantages. No two projects are the same and as such, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach; implementing a H&S programme that meets the needs of your specific project can therefore be a slow and laborious undertaking. And once your site safety agenda is implemented, communicating that agenda with a typically transient workforce carries significant complications.
Traditional, manual inspections themselves (that is to say, the physical act of gathering and reporting safety information) are time consuming – not to mention, prone to human-error and omission. Even when information is gathered proficiently, there is always the risk of paper records being damaged or misplaced. Plus, any pertinent information gathered is subject to a time-lag before it can be checked and resolved by the responsible risk managers, thus exposing stakeholders to dangers for longer than is necessary. Exacerbating this time-lag, information is ‘trapped’ on site and cannot be accessed remotely, which is both inconvenient and inefficient.
Storing and searching paper H&S records poses another problem. With advice stating that records should be stored for a minimum of 40 years, paper records occupy a huge amount of physical space and are very difficult to locate once filed away. Since injuries resulting from work carried out on your site can arise at any time, who knows when you’ll need to demonstrate due diligence.
Digital: quick, thorough, easy, safe
Throughout the turmoil of the COVID pandemic, the speed and efficiency of digital H&S (coupled with the fact that inspections and analysis can be conducted remotely) has proved especially useful. This has led to an increased uptake in digital solutions over the past 12 months or so, but the benefits of digital H&S are many, and will continue to serve the industry well, long after things have gone ‘back to normal’.
A digital H&S system will help you to identify dangers quickly and eliminate them efficiently. Digital workflows can be easily tailored to your project, meaning that no stone is left unturned in your pursuit of a safer work environment. Moreover, no time is wasted gathering safety information that may be irrelevant to your specific project.
With all safety information stored in one centralised, cloud-based location, H&S data can be easily accessed and shared in real-time from anywhere. This empowers risk managers to act with crucial agility and resolve issues as soon as they are identified, limiting the exposure of personnel to risks and preventing accidents and costly delays.
True to all digital construction tools, improved communication is a massive bonus. Notifying your team of key policies, legislative changes, hazard alerts and action points is simple, while progress tracking and scheduled notifications ensure inspections are always carried out on time.
What’s more, with your H&S data stored in a digital format, analysis and cross-reporting tools enable you to spot patterns across functions and personnel so that you can identify risks before accidents occur and take action to prevent dangerous activity.
From a management perspective, the reduced admin time achieved through digital H&S inspections will have a clear, positive impact on your bottom line. A comprehensive overview of H&S reports will enable you to make quicker, better strategic decisions across your projects and your entire organisation.
Zutec’s integrated digital construction solutions combine to deliver a safer working environment and safer finished facilities.
In the field, our Safety Management product will help you and your team identify, report and nullify risks quickly and effectively. With scheduled inspections and toolbox talks, you can be sure that your team remains focussed on safe practices and all aspects of your project remain compliant. Powerful cross-reporting features allow you to analyse and audit your project safety, while digital Health & Safety Files can be easily searched, reviewed and verified, helping you fulfil your obligations for a smooth and speedy handover.
Start nurturing a culture of safety now. Talk to Zutec about a free, customised demo today.
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