For Kristina Kucan, BA Murphy’s Manager of Health, Safety, Environment, Quality, her role virtually needs her to be in three different states at once. She has to have her boots on the ground as often as possible and her eyes on the ball when it comes to everyone’s documentation, procedures and reporting. Her role also sees her engaged in subcontractor management, interacting with clients and being part of the management team on construction projects including multi-residential developments and commercial buildings.
To achieve such a demanding set of KPIs she turned to HammerTech for a solution that could enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency as well as ensuring her leadership is visible every day across every site.
Kristina has been working in the construction industry for a decade having made the shift from a previous career in orthotics and prosthetics in hospitals. Having seen first-hand the impact injury can have on someone’s life, she brings a real passion to her role of ensuring everyone goes home safe, every day.
BA Murphy’s policies around safety aim to ensure that husbands return to their wives, wives to their husbands, parents to their children, and friends to their friends after work.
“That is the most important reason that drives our safety culture,” she says.
The company was founded in June 2016 and has experienced a rapid growth trajectory. In over two years it has taken on projects in locations including South East Queensland, regional Victoria and Northern NSW.
With rapid growth comes a need to have effective solutions for managing inductions, compliance reporting, training, checklists, safety management plans, Safe Work Method Statements and the communication that ties everything together.
“You have to have visible leadership,” Kristina explains.
Kristina’s aim is to be spending as much time on site as possible to ensure a visible leadership presence and digital enablers like Hammertech are proving extremely valuable.
Her typical day for her might involve a site visit combined with managing the required HSEQ paperwork.
“There is no routine with site visits – I like to make them a surprise. Otherwise, the thing with people is if they know when you will be there, for example a Monday, they might only do the right thing on the Monday. ”
Because of the miles involved, carrying everything around on paper in files would add enormously to the degree of difficulty. Thanks to HammerTech, instead most of her documents are kept on the cloud, where she can access them via phone, laptop or iPad.
Hammertech also enables her to be on site when she isn’t, with complete visibility of reporting, compliance, and procedures in real-time, from anywhere. Conversely, those on the ground know she is keeping an eye on them at all times.
Communication and recognition pave the way for a safer culture
Since the company started using Hammertech, not only is managing incoming documentation such as licenses or SWMS easy, so is sending out any information, whether that is a safety alert or a request for information.
Communication with everyone involved in its projects is also part of building the culture of the relatively new company, and of keeping that culture strong into the future. To balance its growth and geographic spread while developing a sense of cohesive teamwork, the company has focused on cultivating the attributes of a small business culture, such as personal relationships and team recognition.
There are regular awards ceremonies on site, which the management team including Kristina present to those who have achieved across aspects including safety and performance.
Paper is no longer a problem
A decade ago when Kristina first entered construction safety, word processing software and endless reams of paper were the reality. There was a lot of time spent printing and scanning, and a whole lot of time spent filing paperwork. She would manage the “take five” hazard observations, and because by law the records had to be kept, with 200 workers doing HAZOBs and personal risk assessments, there would be a massive filing task involved.
Now, with BA Murphy, having Hammertech as her ally has substantially reduced Kristina’s paper-shuffling.
“Tech systems will improve what we want to achieve.”
Prior to adopting Hammertech, Kristina had identified that the existing paper-based system had issues around the archiving of projects, including lost or damaged documentation, as well as delivering inefficient communication and creating issues with subcontractor management including on-boarding.
There were also problems with people not sharing valuable information or taking too long to report, she says. Making the switch to Hammertech was motivated by a drive to streamline and digitize the company’s systems and processes, while also raising the bar in terms of achieving its Corporate Social Responsibility agenda. Some of the immediate benefits included having visible control on project status, visible sub-contractor management and transparency for communication.
My boss is really conscious of each team member’s safety – he simply doesn’t want people getting hurt.
HammerTech has allowed her to streamline the corporate messaging – helping to build that solid company culture and identity. Sharing information between sites or projects, such as SWMS is simple, as authorized users can access them straight from the cloud via the Hammertech platform.
Kristina also keeps data and statistics around incidents, near-misses, and other safety and quality issues and is able to look at the trends the information reveals. This even gives her the ability to foresee where future problems may occur and take action ahead of time to prevent them.
Safety starts at the top, and covers everyone
With inspections on site, she has also been utilizing lead indicators to inform her pro-active approach.
“I am already seeing trends in terms of our subcontractors,” she says. Managing and improving subcontractor performance is a major priority for her. “At the end of the day you are only as strong as the weakest subbie. They need to succeed so we can.”
Under the national WHS laws, BA Murphy is ultimately responsible for the safety of every worker for every subcontractor on their sites. Accountability is paramount. Hammertech helps her with corrective observations, documentation around HAZOBs and the traceability of communication, compliance and issue management.
A key priority for the company overall was to improve safety performance. “My boss is really conscious of each team member’s safety – he simply doesn’t want people getting hurt.”
The bottom line is if someone’s paperwork isn’t right, or the proper procedures around safety and risk management have not been followed, the work is not going to proceed.
“I am not afraid to make the call. The company needs to be committed. If at the end of the day you haven’t got direct leadership from the top, you won’t get engagement from everyone.”
Implementation with HammerTech was a breeze
During the implementation phase, Kristina spent a lot of time with Hammertech’s support staff working through how to present the platform to its personnel prior to onboarding the first project, a 51-unit multi-residential project in Brisbane.
The project required 169 people to be inducted to the site, and the Hammertech platform was used for the general induction and training element. With Kristina based at the company’s Sunshine Coast head office, doing the inductions in-person and on-site would have meant a major investment in terms of time for her – at least an hour a day on site for multiple days, and three hours in total driving to and from the site each time.
The improvement in efficiency from using HammerTech was immediately obvious. She had support from Hammertech’s team for inputting all the required forms, data and information, and also where needed for uploading relevant documents.
Fast forward three months, and BA Murphy has had five commercial projects utilise the platform.
Leveraging tech to make sure everyone is protected
Kristina is always looking to take safety to the next level, which includes preventing the kinds of invisible harm that comes from factors such as UV exposure and silica dust exposure. The company’s online induction kit now includes sun protection such as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the list of required PPE.
This is a “huge cultural change” for the industry, particularly for workers in Queensland and northern NSW, but using HammerTech, communicating these new requirements and helping to implement the changes was easier than ever.
Management of the risks of silica dust is also being brought onboard the company’s Hammertech platform.
Kristina had realised silica exposure was going to be a latent condition – similar to asbestos exposure – and was committed to looking after everyone. She started planning and purchasing everything ahead of rolling out mitigation and management measures.
“It was easier to introduce with Hammertech, I used the bulletin feature.” This meant that instead of a site supervisor having to ring everyone, the bulletin feature sent an SMS to all the relevant people.
“Every day I am learning something new,” Kristina says. “Recently I have been learning how to communicate the toolbox talk through Hammertech. It has made things achievable.”
One small change at a time...
While there were some in the company wanted everything in Hammertech to go live at once, Kristina has been introducing modules one at a time.
“It goes out bit by bit so people have time to absorb it,” she says. People have been gradually learning the system and the platform, and now most meeting documentation, equipment inductions, SWMSs and general inductions are all on the platform.
For some things, it is only necessary to enter the information or document once, and then it is valid for other sites and projects. Seeing this reduction if paperwork is helping a lot of the subcontractors come around to the system, Kristina says.
“I have had subcontractors come up to me and say they are now looking at using Hammertech for their business.”
And it’s not just the reduced admin time they are impressed by. The benefits for traceability and visibility are also a plus for these subbies, as it helps them see at any time where their people are, and what their liabilities are. There are also established users, including BA Murphy staff, starting to ask her what else the platform can do.
One of those things is quality management, which has recently been explored on the platform. Kristina says it is allowing her to raise issues that arise directly with the subcontractor involved.
“I don’t have to keep a diary full of notes about people I need to email or call. It’s seamless – I raise it, and it goes to that person.”
In the near future, she will be educating the company’s suppliers and subcontractors on the booking system that is part of the platform.
In terms of the overall business, clients and stakeholders are positive about the Hammertech system, Kristina says.
For some of them, such as a local government client, transparency is required as part of the contract – and being able to access the relevant information via the platform ensures transparency is maintained.
With more than four decades of solid success as a builder behind them, Novati Constructions is not resting on its laurels. Instead, the company is taking advantage of digital smarts to ensure it maintains the highest possible standards of quality and safety.
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