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A Connected Job Site Can Improve Safety


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When it comes to managing attendance on a construction site, safety is of the utmost importance. It is especially true since a construction site is a high-risk environment, with more than 3,414 casualties having taken place on-site in Australia between 2003 and 2016, according to Safe Work Australia.

This figure should be enough to urge site managers and safety supervisors to enforce strict attendance and sign-on procedures on the job site. This way they will be able to keep a tight accountability for all the comings and goings of busy job sites. 

Unfortunately, the outdated paper-based registry systems are time-consuming and unreliable in the event of an emergency. That’s why this industry pain-point is often neglected at the expense of workers’ safety.

Jobsite ANZ sat down with SignOnSite CEO, Mitch Harmer, who discussed how technology can streamline site attendance, bolster safety, and open up new possibilities for data sharing across the construction site.

“The premise is there’s all this technology on construction projects available already—especially the smartphones in everyone’s pockets."

“The premise is there’s all this technology on construction projects available already—especially the smartphones in everyone’s pockets—and SignOnSite works to leverage this technology to help workers be safer, as well as allowing construction companies to invest in safety technologies,” says Harmer.

The construction site is often a mobile entity. It is usually spread across different geographical locations, with multiple access points to the site. Often, the site office is kilometres away from the construction site itself. Managing the attendance of workers and contractors on a piece of paper can be both complex and time-consuming, as people come and go at different stages throughout the working day.

Streamlining Site Attendance

The ability to monitor who’s on the job site in real time is critical for site managers and safety supervisors. One of SignOnSite’s core elements is a ‘geo-fence’ which allows head contractors and site managers to set up a boundary overlaying the site—it allows workers to check in once they’re within those bounds. If a worker is not on the site, they can’t sign on. Being able to have insight into different workers’ credentials and competencies as they sign on and off the site also contributes to a safe environment.

This automates site attendance for everyone entering and leaving the site, and keeps everyone mapped and accounted for—all in real time. Harmer says he believes the construction industry was mobile long before technology was even around, which is a key element to making such software work.

Gathering site attendance data allows teams to be more dynamic and solve problems faster. It also increases the safety advisor’s ability to conduct their job accurately.

The ability to send information instantly between devices opens up a whole new world of possibilities for such technology on-site.

“For example, if a safety advisor is walking around site and spots an apprentice on a piece of scaffolding, he can bring up that worker’s information in real time. He can check to see if he’s signed the Safe Work Method’s Statement, and assess whether or not he’s competent in performing that task,” notes Harmer.

Staying connected, even in danger

Real-time information on every individual on the site not only streamlines the logistics of signing on and off, but it also enhances on-site safety through fostering connected environments. 

When it comes to evacuation procedures, the archaic paper system can be considered flawed, particularly when time is of the essence, for instance during a flood, fire, or airborne gas issues. Tracking workers via a paper register can be chaotic in the event of a safety hazard on-site, especially when you take into account additional variables like identifying someone’s handwriting.

“If someone’s missing, you have to dig through a paper register to find their number,” says Harmer. “Our evacuation feature is built around leveraging the mobile phones of everyone on site.” 

In times of emergency, the site manager or safety supervisor can press a button which alerts everyone on site via notifications on their phone and triggers sirens on-site all at once.

“It’s about delivering the right information at the right time to mitigate any emergency scenarios."

The uses for such technology goes far beyond the bounds of just signing on and off a job site. The ability to send information instantly between devices opens up a whole new world of possibilities for such technology on-site. For example, having access to crucial medical information concerning a particular worker would assist first-responders in administering the correct procedures if necessary.

“It’s about delivering the right information at the right time to mitigate any emergency scenarios,” Harmer added. “Attendance monitoring is the foundation to solve all these problems because, at the end of the day, it’s about people, place, and process.”

If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks and webinars you may enjoy: 

The Future of Construction Safety

Building a Culture of Safety - One Hard Hat at a Time

Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety Management in the Construction Industry

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