According to McKinsey research, the most dangerous industries, which include Agriculture and Construction, are also the least digitised.
In 2017, 137 people were killed at work in the UK, 30 of whom worked in the Construction Industry. While this figure is the lowest on record for this sector, the Construction Industry also had the second highest workplace injury rate with an average of 67,000 non-fatal injuries occurring each year.
Construction Organisations Need to Digitise
Amongst the various gaps identified in the automation of the Construction Industry were Inspection and Site Monitoring, both of which rely heavily on the use of forms. Many construction companies still use paper forms for health and safety inspections, audits, risk assessments, incident reports and permits, to name a few.
Company resources are often to blame here, as many construction businesses simply do not have sufficient IT or process analysis capability to navigate them through a more digitised world. However, as cost-effective, automated technologies become more accessible, there is an opportunity for organisations to deploy solutions without taxing their in house IT resources.
The safety benefits of switching to digital forms include:
- Time Savings
Compared to paper, digital forms are so much faster and more convenient to fill out. Formworks use cases have shown that they save up to 40% of administrative time. This can amount to over 20 minutes saved on paperwork per site visit, which can add up to over an hour every day per person. This “freed up” time can be applied to more valuable safety or process related activities.
- Improved data quality
By nature, mobile forms allow you to be more prescriptive about the the data you’re collecting. For example, using hide-and-reveal form fields automatically hide non-applicable sections, which ensures that field workers only gather the information they need. Digital forms also drastically reduce the possibility of human error by removing the migration of information from paper to digital.
- Data enrichment with media
When using a mobile device, like iPad, you have everything you need to capture site images, which you can embed in the form itself. This means that all information pertaining to an audit or assessment is contained in one place and there is an audit trail of activity, making it easier to for recipients to understand or interpret the site situation.
- Process and procedure improvements
Introducing automated hold points, process steps and sign-offs within the data capture process provides improved control of safety procedures, leaving no excuse for anyone to skip a step.
- Improved information accessibility
When digitising your safety forms, you can make context-relevant information (e.g. COSSH data, lifting guidelines or site procedures) available to aid operatives at the tap of a button enabling improved decision making.
- Streamlined data sharing and collaboration
By immediately sharing data through alerts and notifications, you simplify your communications process by making it more responsive. Information automatically goes to the right people, meaning that you can make faster, more informed decisions, especially on issues concerning workforce safety.
- Improved reporting and analytics
Automation brings measurability. Through a comprehensive dashboard, you will be able to aggregate your data, making it easier to spot trends and make informed decisions. Our clients use their audit data to spot commonly occurring problem areas across sites, which allows them to respond instantly with remedial action, like training or procedural changes.
A Small Step to a Safer Future
Increasingly, the Construction Industry is under pressure to adapt to the 21st century, with safety being a primary concern. Mobile digital forms are an important step in creating a responsive channel of communication and an automated environment for field workers and managers to work more effectively.