How Digital Construction Inspections Improve Safety

By Brian Sugarman on March 31, 2021
Tags: Construction, Safety

Man holding tablet on construction site

Why are construction inspections required?

Construction inspections are performed during all phases of a project to ensure that health and safety standards are being met. Employee health and safety is a top priority for construction companies and there are regulations in place set by OSHA to ensure compliance.

In addition to the inspections that companies perform, OSHA also performs their own inspections of construction sites that can happen at any time to review compliance and issue any penalties or fines.

With the sheer volume of construction sites, it means that OSHA has to prioritize where they are performing inspections. According to the OSHA fact sheet on inspections, they prioritize based on a specific set of criteria:

  • When they hear of imminent danger situations
  • When severe injuries and illnesses are reported
  • When workers complain anonymously
  • When various agencies or organizations refer potential hazards
  • When workplaces are known historically to be high hazard
  • When they are performing a follow-up inspection

The prioritization of inspections is effective to incentivize employers that follow the rules and implement health and safety best practices. The goal is to have thorough construction inspection processes in place so that you are identifying issues, or your employees feel like they can come to you first with their concerns, and issues can be appropriately addressed. Having these processes in place is good for your employees’ health and safety, as well as your company’s productivity and bottom line.

 

Benefits of Using Mobile Apps for Construction Inspections

The traditional method for performing a construction inspection has been on paper forms. But anyone who has dealt with paper forms knows how inefficient that process can be. Some of the pitfalls of paper forms include:

  • Lost or misplaced forms buried in filing cabinets
  • Human error when filling out the form
  • Incomplete or inaccurate data that causes issues later
  • Sustainability concerns with heavy usage of paper

The current shift in the construction industry is a move toward digital transformation, where documents live as secure files in the cloud and can be filled out via mobile devices on construction sites. 

You can see how this type of solution solves the challenge of paper forms and ensures that documents are easy to find, they are filled out properly with the required information, and it becomes a win for sustainability by reducing paper usage. 

With all of this information now available in real-time, another win for construction companies is the ability to report on the data to understand safety trends and to have the necessary reports available when they are needed most. 

Data and analytics have been slow for adoption in the construction industry, but data analytics is quickly becoming one of the greatest assets for improving productivity, ensuring safety and compliance, and tracking and reporting on key elements of business operations.

 

The Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2020

A recent article from Health and Safety magazine cited data from OSHA that summarizes their annual report of the top 10 health and safety violations. Below is a summary of the data for the construction industry violations in FY 2020:

  1.     Fall Protection—General Requirements (§1926.501): 5,424 violations
  2.     Hazard Communication (§1910.1200): 3,199 violations
  3.     Respiratory Protection (§1910.134): 2,649 violations
  4.     Scaffolding (§1926.451): 2,538 violations
  5.     Ladders (§1926.1053): 2,129 violations
  6.     Lockout/Tagout (§1910.147): 2,065 violations
  7.     Powered Industrial Trucks (§1910.178): 1,932 violations
  8.     Fall Protection—Training Requirements (§1926.503): 1,621 violations
  9.     Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment—Eye and Face Protection (§1926.102): 1,369 violations
  10.     Machine Guarding (§1910.212): 1,313 violations

 

OSHA reveals this data to create awareness around the top hazards in the workplace so that employers can proactively address health and safety issues that are very much preventable. In the next section, we will cover how you can improve construction health and safety programs with digital construction inspections that can help to minimize your risk from the top 10 violations cited by OSHA.

 

Apps and Templates for Construction Inspections

Leveraging digital technologies and the use of mobile apps can help you formalize your safety management programs. It will help you store inspection and training records in case you need to show documentation, helping you to stay compliant and avoid fines.

A benefit of using GoCanvas for your safety management program is that we have hundreds of pre-built construction inspection templates, checklists, and incident reports that your company can leverage and customize to fit your unique needs.

To minimize the most common OSHA violations, check out our list of construction inspection apps and templates that we have compiled for you to get started.

Construction Inspection apps and templates:

 

Additional templates for construction inspections

In addition to this list on health and safety, there are other types of construction inspections that your organization should be aware of, including ones for quality control, building inspections, and much more. The top 10 list is a great place to start, but if you are looking for additional construction inspections, checklists, or reports, you can find them through the GoCanvas application store.

With the current competitive landscape of construction and the tight margins that exist, every company should prioritize ways to keep their workforce productive. Leveraging technologies like GoCanvas to improve your health and safety programs will lead to lower risk to your company and greater profit margins over time.