Quality data is essential for safe decision-making. Because the number of construction-related injuries has been drastically reduced in the last few decades, finding the right data to ensure all construction workers go home safely can often become a challenge. Although it’s great that injury-driven data is declining, we now need more innovative ways to collect relevant data and achieve our goal of zero workplace injuries.
This was the case for us at DPR Construction.
When I started my role as DPR’s EHS leader for the Pacific Northwest, the firm was well into implementing HammerTech’s solution on its project sites. We believe that, as we use HammerTech, it will provide the data we need to make better and more informed decisions that can significantly enhance safety measures on site.
Unfortunately, 20 years ago, it was effortless to figure out where problems were. Anyone in the industry could look at the number of fall fatalities or repetitive injuries that had occurred and focus on eliminating the causes of those major issues.
Because construction has become far safer over the years and the number of major injuries is approaching zero, we no longer have access to the easy-to-find data we did before. We need to find new ways to extract the data that will help us eliminate every possible risk.
That’s where we think HammerTech comes in.
With this software, we aim to compile data from safety audits, various checklists and equipment check-ins and synthesize it into easy-to-read reports that help teams enhance safety measures.
When used fully, we believe HammerTech will enable us to track problems to their source. For instance, if we are having an issue with employees not wearing safety glasses, we can zero in on the cause of this issue - whether it be a lack of supply or that discount glasses are fogging up while wearing a mask - and resolve it at the source.
DPR jobsites are still ramping up use of HammerTech. However, we’re seeing the potential through how some sites are applying it already.
The software has been extremely helpful during the pandemic because it has allowed the company to quickly send out topics for discussion and request photos of the crews covering the topics in small groups while social distancing
How is DPR using HammerTech?
In some cases, job sites are using HammerTech to do everything safety-related from site-specific safety plans and permits to job hazard analyses and safety data sheets. In those instances, sites also use the software to perform video orientations for new employees and administer quizzes prior to their showing up on site. We are finding it to be a valuable tool for employees, who can complete this prior to receiving in-person, site-specific safety orientations.
HammerTech also provides the option to collect additional information from employees, such as emergency contacts and training records prior to their arrival on site.
When an in-person, site-specific orientation is completed, the trainer confirms it has been done through the software. At this time, they will also verify all of the employee’s training has been entered correctly before they begin work. Crew leaders also submit JHAs to be reviewed by new hires, daily pre-tasks and weekly toolbox talks through the HammerTech system.
Any other way DPR uses HammerTech?
Another application is with machinery. We have the ability to equip each piece of machinery has a QR code that requires the operator to complete the safety checklist prior to operating the machinery. If an employee is not certified to operate the machinery, they will be unable to complete the checklist.
Another feature we like is how workers can complete work permits virtually. The old system meant they would need to travel back and forth to the site office to receive proper authorization for, say, a welding task. HammerTech can make it simple for an employee to submit the necessary images and documentation and to get approval – and back to work – faster.
Additionally, HammerTech has enabled many DPR projects to more easily perform safety audits. Crew leads can take the opportunity at any time to walk around the site, locate safety challenges and address them immediately. Site team members of all roles and responsibilities have the ability to document safety concerns.
How do your trade partners use HammerTech?
So far, HammerTech has integrated seamlessly with our trade partners. In fact, many projects are using it to share and approve pre-job submittals, including site-specific safety plans, JHAs, and safety data sheets.
Traditionally, all of this information was on paper or in emails and had to be scanned and/or filed into various electronic filing systems. When we needed to access data, someone would need to sift through dozens of PDF files manually. Now, we can send, receive, and track our processes rapidly, with greater accuracy, all in one central program.
What about COVID? Has it helped?
The software has been extremely helpful during the pandemic because it has allowed the company to quickly send out topics for discussion and request photos of the crews covering the topics in small groups while social distancing. Teams no longer need to gathered all together at least once each week and be addressed by loudspeaker. Any changes to health and safety regulations as a result of the pandemic or evolving site conditions can quickly be distributed to everyone on site via HammerTech’s bulletin feature.
Because DPR is unable to distribute and gather sign-in sheets as we normally would, we now use the photo taken from the group meetings to track whether small, socially distanced meetings are being held with each crew on site each day.
Health and safety remain our top priority. Everyone on the DPR team takes responsibility for identifying safety challenges, addressing issues before they become hazards, and recording data for future reference and trending.
We are excited about the potential of HammerTech and how we can leverage the data it gathers.
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