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By Amity Delaney
May 21, 2018
Workplace health and safety (WHS) is an important concern for any construction project. However, the time-consuming nature of monitoring the excessive paperwork that comes with WHS often leads to businesses documenting hazards and accidents insufficiently. Companies are then left without solutions to manage or prevent these incidents.
Jobsite ANZ spoke to Joel Pinkham, the Head of Growth and Marketing at Safety Culture, a company dedicated to achieving safer workplaces through the development and use of low-cost mobile products. Pinkham shared his thoughts on how Safety Culture’s apps, iAuditor and Spotlight, can be used by construction companies to improve their WHS practices and procedures.
Safety in All Ways, Always
Safety Culture is a global corporation that has developed mobile solutions to improve health and safety in the workplace. Its main product, an app called iAuditor, simplifies auditing processes. It allows construction workers to report workplace health and safety issues with more ease.
“Our founder, Luke Anear, was a private investigator for workplace health and safety, and he noticed similar problems repeating themselves,” says Pinkham. “This led him to try to create a business that could help smaller businesses, in particular, implement better health and safety programs and try to reduce some of the workplace accidents.”
Safety Culture’s initial business model involved selling documents and templates that had WHS policies small businesses could use and adapt. However, after seven years, a more technological-based approach was adopted to help solve WHS issues more effectively.
“After seven years, he [Anear] wanted to think about — ‘how to solve this better?’ and ‘How to increase how companies look after safety using technology?’”
In 2011, Safety Culture launched iAuditor, a free app that replaces complex paperwork and spreadsheets with a technological solution. The adoption of iAuditor by businesses was rapid and widespread.
“We realised how serious the business had gotten when an airport in Argentina called up to say: ‘Hey, your servers are down, and we can’t actually do our check to get the planes up’,” says Pinkham.
Safety Culture now has more than 500,000 redistributors including grocery chain Coles and mining giant BHP, with construction being its largest serviced industry.
Putting a Spotlight on Safety
The safety industry typically employs a top-down approach in which safety managers push different policies down the line to their workers. According to Pinkham, this approach is ineffective because it results in staff rebellion. This led Safety Culture to develop its mission, which focuses on the workers themselves.
“Our mission has stayed the same. The mission is to empower frontline workers to improve safety and quality. We have always taken the approach to make consumer-friendly apps so that the frontline workers say, this is actually really easy, saves me a lot of time, and I’m going to engage with it.”
Six months ago, Safety Culture launched another app called Spotlight, which has mostly been used by the construction industry for incident reporting.
“The biggest thing we heard was that things go unreported all the time. Something happens on a jobsite, and people think it’s a pain to report it or that it might be easier to cover it up. We wanted to really go after that problem,” says Pinkham.
Spotlight was launched to encourage frontline workers to report incidents that would have previously gone unreported. The app focuses mainly on reporting of hazards and alerts. In the construction industry, its uptake has involved the app being used in a similar way to WhatsApp, a popular messaging app.
“We see emojis used in incident reports. We see people communicating back and forth, similar to WhatsApp, with the whole idea of collecting who reported it. We get when and where they were, based on the GPS location of the phone, as well as the weather in that location,” notes Pinkham.
Photos can be added to incident reports to enhance contact, and regular back and forth communication can occur to obtain the hazard results and then develop solutions to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
iAuditor and Spotlight have transformed the way companies think about workplace health and safety. By creating low-cost mobile products, Safety Culture has made it easier for businesses and their employees to report incidents and develop strategies to prevent hazards from taking place again.
If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks and webinars you might enjoy:
The 10 Most Critical Factors in Construction Safety
The Future of Construction Safety
Building a Culture of Safety - One Hard Hat at a Time
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How Tech is Controlling your Quality and Safety Program
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