Innovating to Save Lives: How Construction Technology Reduces Jobsite Risks

With digital-based training, contractors can track employee training, store documents digitally and export training records when a third-party requires proof of training.
By Shahin Aftabizadeh
January 25, 2020

Construction consistently ranks as one of the riskiest jobs in America. Fluid workforces, high-risk scenarios and a communication disconnect between the home office and front-line workforce all contribute to the challenges and dangers of the industry. On top of that, company emails or company-issued phones may only go as far as the foremen, so getting crucial information and training to tradesmen who are most at risk is especially difficult.

Without high-quality training protocol and consistently enforced safety procedures, the possibility of serious injury or even death among the workforce is very real. Clear communication to the workers on the front line is critical.

More builders are deeming mobile devices and technology as important on the jobsite, but according to JBKnowledge’s 2018 Construction Technology report, many companies are still not entirely convinced of the value of this emerging trend and how it will positively affect their workforce.

The construction industry must innovate how it engages its workforce through communication and training to minimize these ongoing challenges. Developing advanced training technologies will create a new way of communicating with the front line via mobile platforms and puts critical - and potentially life saving - information in the hands of workers.

Construction meets technology

Industry research conducted by Mad*Pow and MindForge reveals that construction workers believe that training is important, but they also think it doesn't go far enough yet. The real learning takes place on the job. Many times, what might be learned in a classroom or offsite setting doesn’t click until they’re in the field, facing the hazards they learned about in previous training. New technology provides the ability to place training within the context of the jobsite, allowing workers to see the direct application of that material.

Drones, project scheduling tools, safety management applications and CMS software have all started to become more frequently adopted by construction teams, but a new area of innovation is connecting directly with the front-line workforce through communication-based training platforms.

New digital communication platforms are delivering engaging training sessions, quickly. This does two things to ultimately reduce risk for the front-line workforce: it creates a lasting understanding of the necessary safety procedures and it keeps each worksite’s necessary information readily available for the workers who need it, solving many potential work stoppages.

Through digital communication-based training platforms, corporate teams can send messages, emergency alerts and even specific training videos to individuals or entire crews in an instant. This type of technology allows for seamless and transparent communication, mitigating uncertainties on the jobsite and possibilities of risk.

Technology meets risk

With a workforce constantly in motion, general contractors and subcontractors take on the risk of ensuring each employee is appropriately trained. But with traditional paper filing systems and not having access to the paperwork on the site, untrained or improperly trained workers can fall through the cracks.

Through digital-based training, contractors are able to track who has been trained on what, store important training documents digitally in an archive and quickly export training records to PDF format when a third-party requires proof of training.

The transparency and ease of access that this technology offers aims to reduce the risk of serious injury or fatality of workers on the front line, while also reducing liability risk for construction professionals in the office who need to reach compliance standards and regulations.

This innovative communication technology isn’t taking workers offsite for eight or more hours and is proving to be more engaging, resulting in better knowledge retention, decreased possibility for injury and less insurance or financial risk for the larger organization.

by Shahin Aftabizadeh

Shahin Aftabizadeh is the Vice President and Co-Founder of MindForge, a subsidiary of the International Risk Management Institute. As Vice President of MindForge, Shahin oversees MindForge’s efforts to identify and lead industry trends, conducts field research and manages the overall success of product design, implementation and adoption. MindForge is a holistic communication hub designed to unite construction organizations. The platform simplifies workforce communication and maximizes quality with tools that keep job sites safe, efficient and connected, ultimately driving increased performance excellence. This technology equips and empowers workers to avoid hazards and do great work.

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