3 Reasons to Digitize Your Construction Safety Programs

By Brian Sugarman on August 23, 2021
Tags: Safety

two construction workers looking at ipad device on job site

Construction safety is a top priority for all firms and contractors. That’s why more construction pros are moving to digitize their construction safety programs to create more visibility into their operations. 


The Data Dilemma 

A study from FMI research found that 96% of data goes unused in the construction industry. This highlights the challenge and opportunity that exists for companies to become more data-driven. 


The Challenge

With a distributed workforce that is on different job sites or has multiple subcontractors, it can be difficult to gather data in a consistent way. Traditional safety measures that rely on paper forms make it difficult to roll up that information for reporting and the data becomes lost on paper forms or siloed across the business. This high level of business complexity is a challenge for construction companies, but can be solved by focusing on improving its data processes and culture.

The Opportunity

Countless studies have shown the importance of using data to make business decisions. When data is accurate and available in near real-time, organizations are able to gain greater visibility into their operations and use that information to take appropriate next steps. The opportunity to take advantage of data starts with digitizing programs to improve the data that is captured, ultimately leading to better reporting and processes for construction safety. Key outcomes of digitization include lowered risk and liability, greater productivity, and higher employee satisfaction.

The data dilemma that construction firms and contractors face is the need to move away from paper forms and manual processes through digitization and automation that can streamline operations and provide greater insights. While this requires careful upfront planning and dedicated resources, the upside can be highly beneficial for achieving better construction safety outcomes in the long term.


3 Reasons to Digitize Your Construction Safety Programs


#1. Better Data Capture


Accurate reporting relies on having the best data possible. By improving the quality of the data you’re collecting, this allows you to make the best decisions for your business. 

This all starts with data capture. For field operations, the core component of capturing better data in the field relies on mobile technology. Digitizing your construction safety programs often starts with the data that is captured in the field. Traditionally on the paper forms and sheets, now is captured through mobile devices and tablets that sync the information in real-time to the cloud.

In terms of your safety management programs, this would include all types of data that needs to be captured. Examples include:

  • OSHA Forms
  • Inspections and Audits
  • Job Safety Analysis
  • Safety Meetings 
  • Incident Reports
  • Hazard Management
  • Safety Data Sheets

All of these paper forms are opportunities to digitize how data is captured, using simple mobile forms to capture better data from the field. 

Digital forms reduce errors and standardize how data is collected. While paper forms are error-prone and can become lost over time, digital forms can require information and can always be accessed securely through the cloud.

With better practices for data capture in the field, you’re able to take that information and use it for better analytics and reporting.


#2. Greater Data Visibility


Tracking the progress of your safety programs can be difficult on paper forms and manual processes. Just getting the information ready for reporting can become a heavy lift for your teams, making it less likely that you can do the analysis you want in the end. 

By eliminating paper and digitizing safety data, all of those key safety data points are available for reporting. Using safety management software, data is captured in real-time and available for you to run as reports, dashboards, or analytics. Are there job sites that are falling behind on compliance? Can you spot trends in your incident reporting over time? Have safety meetings been held and attended? 

Setting up your data capture around the KPIs and business questions you want to answer can help you with data analytics. Better processes for data capture, leads to more accurate and complete data. If you are looking for real-time data exploration and analysis, safety management software can help you to capture better data and serve it for instant insights to drive decision-making. 


#3. Improved Data Processes and Culture


Tools and technology for construction safety will help you with the data capture and reporting components. But it will also help you to improve processes and your culture over time.

Digitizing your construction safety programs provides a central solution for employees and managers. There is accountability and structure, so everyone knows where to go when they need to take an action. For example, employees may be looking for an SDS sheet, file an incident report, or attend a safety meeting. With a comprehensive safety management solution, all of these resources are clearly documented and available to access when they are needed. 

In the digital era that we live in today, employees prefer using their phones or mobile devices to access information. This has the benefit of simplifying data forms and eliminating manual work that is a drain on productivity and morale. 

A robust safety program that is managed digitally is a clear sign to employees that their well-being is a top concern, helping with retention and satisfaction on the job. Clear processes and a culture of safety can have a positive impact on the business, making it a clear return on investment for digitizing construction safety.

If you’re ready to go digital, reach out to the team at GoCanvas to learn more about our comprehensive and easy-to-use safety management solutions.