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With any project, managing a large contingency of workers—all with varying levels of security clearance—can be a logistical headache. 

On the majority of construction sites, managers lack the resources to quickly and accurately identify all onsite personnel and ensure the right labor, equipment and materials are in the right place at the right time. Equally important, construction managers need to know if worker certifications are current and only allow access to authorized areas.

Multiple factors compound the need for better transparency across the workforce, including:

  • Safety. Construction work is inherently dangerous. In 2017, nearly 1,000 fatalities occurred on construction sites. This means that the industry accounted for more than 20% of private sector fatalities across all industries. 
  • Regulatory. The Federal government has a heightened awareness of jobsite dangers and is targeting companies that are not making every effort to maximize the workers’ safety.
  • Security. Sites in urban environments require round-the-clock protection from urban explorers, thieves and the general public.
  • Employee wage disputes. Lawsuits and disputes over wages and hourly employment are increasing. 
  • Reduced productivity. It can be difficult to measure and track productivity in construction. 
Labor Visibility

Labor accounts for 40% of most building construction costs, and labor efficiency is the most difficult component to estimate when bidding a project. With a national shortage of skilled laborers, it becomes increasingly important that the workforce is as productive as possible. 

Unlike materials and equipment, humans have a mind of their own. Reducing labor costs requires data on the people, their locations and their activities across the jobsite. Managers need to know who is on the jobsite, how long they have been there and if they have permission to be there.

Historically, this has required manual entry and has been difficult to measure. New workforce management solutions are providing better visibility and the ability to set and track parameters such as: 

  • Do the subcontractors working onsite have up-to-date insurance? It may have been current when the project began, but has it lapsed? 
  • How many workers are actively onsite, and how long have they been working? In reality, walking around and manually taking a head count is prone to error. An accurate count is important information for reporting and creating a historical record that can be used to bid similar projects in the future. 
  • What is the peak arrival time for workers? On big projects, more than 1,000 workers may show up at the same time, which is time-consuming and cuts into productivity. This information can help establish more efficient entry and exit procedures.  
  • How many workers are local? In certain areas, hiring a certain percentage of local labor is required. There may be penalties for non-compliance or rewards for meeting those standards. Access to this information in real-time can track local labor on a consistent basis and help ensure compliance. 
Getting Started With Workforce Management

Workforce management solutions can bring a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Access Control. With access control, jobsite access is limited to workers who meet specific entry criteria such as signed non-disclosure agreements, passed drug tests or background screens and current licenses. Capturing jobsite entries and exits also provides accurate time and attendance data. A cloud-based workforce management solution allows construction managers to remotely control jobsite access. For example, credentialing workers with photo ID badges and/or hard hat beacons that connect to a central database in real-time can ensure that only workers with approved access are allowed onsite. 
  • Labor Tracking. Adding each worker to a central database will help track their activity, company and trade affiliation. This information can be used to validate crew and subcontractor hours by jobsite.
  • Site Security. By identifying all workers entering the site, access can quickly be restricted when needed, and alerts will trigger when unauthorized access occurs, freeing up guards to focus on perimeter and vehicle security. 
  • Health and Safety. With each worker’s emergency contact information documented, an injured worker’s emergency contact information can be retrieved from a mobile phone in seconds. Construction managers can broadcast alerts for safety meetings, bad weather, site hazards or check-in point details during mandatory mass evacuations. In addition, supervisor alerts can confirm a jobsite is empty at the end of the day. 
  • Compliance. Organizing workforce data can facilitate compliance with government or owner mandates. A workforce management solution can record experience, documentation and certifications, as well as link license expirations to access control, ensuring general contractors and construction managers are alerted and reminded of expiring worker certifications. In addition, labor reports can assist in payroll certification and facilitate reporting for local labor requirements. 

Mismanagement of workers and resources can result in non-compliance and put everyone on the jobsite in danger. With a workforce management solution in place, it’s easy to ensure workers are safe, compliant and working as efficiently as possible. 

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