On June 18, IndustrySafe teamed up with Engineering News-Record (ENR) to host a webinar to review the top technologies that EHS leaders in the industry are leveraging to improve safety and bottom line.
Attendees also heard from safety experts at AECOM, Black & Veatch, and Parsons Corporation as they shared how they’ve implemented safety software to manage and store key components of their safety programs at job sites across the globe.
Whether you were able to tune in or not, we’ve put together the highlights of the event so you can review them at your convenience.
Current Safety Challenges
The event kicked off with an overview of the challenges that construction and engineering safety professionals face, provided by IndustrySafe Chief Operating Officer (COO), Clare Epstein.
As many construction EHS professionals are well aware, a skilled labor shortage has been in flux for the better part of a decade. Construction firms are increasingly relying on contractors to fill labor shortages. As a result, contractor safety has become a crucial component of the bidding process and operational procedures.
After reviewing these trends, Ms. Epstein then provided the audience with a forecast of the EHS software market. According to Verdantix’s EHS Software Market Size 2019-2024 report, in 2019 the construction industry will invest $54M in EHS Software. 59% of companies surveyed will increase their spend in EHS IT this year.
What are some of the latest construction technology tools?
Delivering and Tracking Construction Safety Training with Software
According to the USCC/USG Commercial Construction Index for Q1 2019, 95% of contractors surveyed expressed concerns over whether their employees had adequate skill levels. In order to provide workers with the skills needed to carry out their tasks in a safe manner, organizations are increasingly implementing training software. For example, 87% of IndustrySafe’s customers in the construction industry are recording and tracking employee safety training with software.
Safety training software allows training managers to schedule, track, and record their organization's training activity. Automated email alerts and reports can notify employee learners and their supervisors about scheduled, upcoming, or overdue training courses.
Greg Beck, Vice President of SH&E Operations at Parsons Corporation, shared that the organization has explored a popular new training format: microlearning. Microlearning courses relay information in short, concentrated sessions is a condensed and focused Microlearning sessions be completed between 2-5 minutes. Microlearning is offered in media-rich formats, often with training videos that are easily accessed via smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Courses can be delivered at precise moments, or in an on-demand format so learners can get refreshers on topics when they choose.
Virtual Reality (VR) Training
Virtual reality provides the opportunity to have workers practice safety procedures and processes in familiar environments through immersive technology. For example, workers can take a VR fall prevention course in which they can practice working at height without exposing them to risks. In a simulated but realistic environment, they can get into the habit of properly anchoring or making sure they know how to secure their tools to prevent dropped object injuries. AECOM is currently rolling out VR safety training to its employees and continuing to develop new courses. We expect more organizations will begin to explore this training format in the coming years.
Another training format that's gaining momentum is adaptive learning. In a standard online training course, all employees follow the same learning path. They interact with the same course components and answer the same questions. With adaptive training, however, learners follow different paths tailored to their respective skill levels. Learners in an adaptive session might all start with the same content or video, but based on their answers and familiarity with topics, the course feeds them only the relevant content they need to master. If a learner has a solid understanding of a course’s concepts, they might complete an adaptive learning training in half the time it would take for them to take a standard course.
Mobile EHS Technology
88% of contractors surveyed recently by Dodge Data & Analytics use smartphones on site. 85% of survey respondents use smartphone
Safety Software Apps cameras onsite to capture safety issues. Mobile technology saves employees the time of running to find the nearest computer (or worst, the nearest paper form) since they’ll likely have their mobile device on or near them at all times.
Recording an incident can be as simple as opening an app on your smartphone and filling out a quick form. Incident reporting apps (like IndustrySafe’s!) allow workers to easily take and attach photos, as well as pinpoint their exact GPS coordinates.
EHS Apps also allow workers to conduct inspections onsite. IndustrySafe’s mobile inspections app works with or without an internet connection, so it’s perfect for field use. 31% of our construction customers used IndustrySafe’s mobile EHS app to record an inspection in 2019.
"IndustrySafe is a valued partner of B&V and they help us bring technology to the forefront."
- John Johnson, Vice President, EH&S for Global Operations, Black & Veatch
According to a new report, nearly 1 out of 3 people listen to at least one podcast each month. Construction safety professionals and project managers are starting to embrace podcasts as a medium to get employees to consider ways in which they can improve site safety. Parsons corporation is currently producing podcast safety content for its workforce.
Safety Text Alerts
Greg Beck also shared that Parsons Corporation utilizes text messages to alert workers in the field of pending environmental events such as hurricanes. Text alerts are also used to send workers timely EHS tips, such as how to prevent heat stress during heat waves.
Drones for Safety Inspections
Drones are increasingly being used by safety professionals to conduct safety audits throughout construction sites, as well as in high risk assessment environments. AECOM and Parsons currently utilize drones to perform bridge inspections, rooftop inspections, rail-line surveys, and more.
Wearable technology and smart PPE
Wearable safety sensors and “smart” Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be used to monitor:
- a worker’s fatigue,
- blood alcohol content,
- oxygen levels,
- sweat levels,
- vital signs,
- or changes in conditions
Making Use of the Data Flood
Leveraging these tools and the data they provide allow you to advance construction and drive operational efficiencies. The real challenge is reviewing all of this data and developing meaningful conclusions from the flood of information.
A safety management software in the perfect solution to store and compare disparate streams of safety data. Safety metrics can be rolled up into business units, regions, departments, and work sites for easy analysis. Safety software can also be integrated with organizations’ HR and payroll systems to seamlessly update locational, employee, and contractor data.
That’s why numerous construction companies rely on IndustrySafe to manage their safety data at jobsites throughout the globe.
"IndustrySafe is the only system that we use that touches all areas of our business."
- Julie Vecchio (Mason), Vice President, Corporate SH&E, AECOM
Interested in getting a deeper dive of these topics?