Strong Safety Programs Critical for Winning and Maintaining Contracts

Tom Webb, VP of Strategic Initiatives & Customer Relations, HCSSTom Webb, VP of Strategic Initiatives & Customer Relations,HCSS
Heavy construction companies know a strong safety program is critical, not just for the wellbeing of employees, but also as an employee hiring and retention tool, a strategy for winning and maintaining critical contracts, a key component of risk reduction, and an avenue for building company culture. Companies look to digitize their safety program using construction safety management software to make safety work more effective.

Some companies choose forms tools, which can digitize current paper processes. These tools are often less expensive than more comprehensive safety software. However, you need to see the big picture of your safety program to find trends, pivot quickly if an issue arises, and measure improvements. With solutions like HCSS Safety, all your safety records and reporting are accessible in seconds.

Forms tools provide a one-way transfer of documents. Once the form is submitted from the field, that’s usually the end of the story. Construction safety management software establishes two-way communication between the office and the field. Real-time data is sent in seconds, allowing the office to compile reports, schedule meetings, and generate alerts for any near misses or incidents in the field.

Be proactive, not reactive.

While most forms tools allow you to report safety data, they cannot capture information and report leading indicators. Leading indicator data can help you create a proactive safety program to stop potential safety issues before something happens.

For example, J.F. Brennan, a marine construction, environmental remediation, and harbor services company with job sites across all 50 states, accepts voluntary field observations from employees at the job site. It then distributes to the whole company to discuss. Workers in the field send observations via mobile devices to corporate. The company has weekly, corporate-wide safety meetings to discuss the comments.
With mobile devices, people are more likely to take photos and send them in, which provides a better perception of what is going on. This has allowed the company to get in front of things more quickly and address issues timelier. In fact, with HCSS Safety, J.F. Brennan has lowered its Experience Modification Rate (EMR), a number that insurance companies use to gauge and estimate risk, to .61. This low number means the company can bid work at a lower cost.

Keep accurate records.

Do you know which employees attended which safety meetings and what the subject was? Can you see your meeting records instantly or years later in case of litigation? With safety management software, you have all this information at your fingertips, including what skills and certifications each employee has. You can see which crew members’ certifications are up for renewal or if any have expired. And you will know which employee is certified to operate each piece of equipment. When an employee is trained on equipment or other safety training, their skillset is automatically updated in the software. This ensures that you are not exposing your company to a regulatory fine by sending an un-certified crew member.

For equipment, you can keep records of any issues with the gear in the field and follow up on the problem. You can close the loop on inspections and track all follow-up items in one place. Field data can be analyzed to help predict and prevent injuries.

Create a comprehensive safety culture and see the ROI on Safety.

With safety management software, everyone in the office and the field has the tools to be proactive and accountable for safety. When you empower your crews to take on-site ownership of safety, you're able to go beyond compliance and build a strong safety culture.

By creating a strong safety culture, you can reduce your exposure to a fine, reduce workers’ comp costs, and eliminate costly claims while improving your EMR. Plus, having a safety solution allows you to stay competitive and bid on projects that require a specific safety protocol.

Within six months, XL Industrial Services implemented HCSS Safety and completely changed the mechanical, electrical, and coating contractor’s safety culture. The ability to address real-time issues from hundreds or thousands of miles away has turned the company from reactive to proactive in less than six months.

Eliminating paper within their safety program was extremely helpful. The company did equipment inspections and produced a toolbox talk on each one, generating seven pieces of paper for one day on the job. Multiply that by six days a week, times four or five weeks on a job, and that equated to thousands of pieces of paper of safety information.

Within weeks of getting field workers up and running on the mobile app, XL Services was getting information that the company had never received on the paper reports. In six months, the company got three near misses reported, which is three more than they’d had in the previous five years, and close to 1600 inspections submitted. Of those inspections, they identified 80 items, safety issues reported, and corrective actions assigned, and all closed out in about eight days.

With construction safety management software, companies quickly close the loop on inspections, filter meeting records by job or employee, and keep detailed information about equipment and employees. A strong safety culture enabled by safety software can help your company hire and retain employees. When prospective employees see a strong safety mindset, they know that your company cares about its people and will want to join the team.
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