Advancing safety with mobile technology

Advancing safety with mobile technology

Mobile technology plays a vital role in the management of assets and employees in most businesses today, whether it’s a colleague sending updates to a manager about their whereabouts, or the ability to access company servers and information remotely. For businesses with a workforce based on multiple sites, such as construction firms, quantity surveyors, engineers and project managers, there is even more to gain – mobile solutions can not only help drive efficiencies and achieve long-term productivity gains, but can also provide additional protection for workers.  The latest rugged devices can withstand the elements that field workers are subject to, and offer additional call functionality in the event of emergencies.

A mobile duty of care

According to data from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), each year in the construction sector, around three percent of workers sustain a work-related injury, with an estimated 66,000 self-reported injuries. Worryingly in 2015/16, there were 43 fatal injuries to construction industry workers, a rate of 1.94 per 100,000. The health and safety of lone workers is a major concern for construction firms. Could the implementation of new mobile technology help prevent further fatal injuries? Perhaps not, but it will help to give managers the peace of mind that they have taken steps to avoid or control risks where necessary.

advancing mobile usage in the construction sector

While prevention is the ultimate goal, there must also be tools in place to provide rapid help when accidents occur. This means providing a means of consistent, reliable communication with management, team members and emergency services.  This equipment should include specialised mobile devices featuring a pre-installed Lone Worker Protection App, which can be easily accessed at the touch of a button. This offers an audible and text alarm, sending a worker’s GPS location and alert message to their manager or colleague. For lone workers in more hazardous working conditions, an app like this will allow an accelerometer to be set, triggering an alarm if the user suffers a fall. With these features, businesses can be sure their workers will receive emergency care quickly when needed.

Constant connectivity

Ensuring worker safety means choosing a mobile solution which offers both the connectivity of a high-end smartphone, and the additional functionality of a specialised device. For example, dual SIM card functionality allows for multiple network connections, reducing the potential for workers experiencing mobile black spots. These communication precautions can also prove invaluable when it comes to boosting business efficiency. For example, a ‘push to talk’ button will allow a manager to instantly communicate one-to-one or one-to-many, providing cohesion among workers based in separate locations.

Tough on the outside

Anyone with a smartphone will know how fragile these devices can be – dropping a device from even hand-height can easily result in a cracked screen. Frustrating for the everyday phone owner; a potential health and safety hazaAdvancing safety with mobile technologyrd if you’re a lone worker on a remote site. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of mobile devices on the market which are both powerful and rugged enough to withstand harsh environments. Only a fraction of mobile devices offer an IP68 rating (meaning the handset is protected against complete dust ingress and can withstand continuous immersion in water beyond 1m), or robust build quality that conform to MIL-STD 810G. However, most of these devices do not offer the additional functionality of a specialised handset – one which is rugged, powerful and supports functions like Lone Worker Protection and dual SIM – which would allow managers and business owners to comply with regulations, and could help reduce those HSE figures in the years to come.

Smart competition

Construction remains a high-risk industry, and accidents are not uncommon. According to HSE’s figures, the combination of work-related illness and workplace injuries in the sector leads to 2.2 million working days lost annually. This will significantly impact a company’s bottom line, and indicates that not enough is being done to ensure worker safety.

Improvements in mobile technology mean that devices are now available which incorporate the functionality of a high-end smartphone with specialised features and a ruggedised exterior. Mobile technology of course plays a central role in improving business efficiency in other areas too, with smartphones providing features like real-time information and asset sharing, as well as other workforce management tools. In order to maximise the benefits offered by mobile, while simultaneously verifying the safety of a workforce, the construction industry needs to adopt specialised rugged mobile devices which are tough on the outside, and smart on the inside.

Ultimately, the safety of a workforce should be a top priority for any manager today, regardless of the industry. In high risk sectors, this is more important still. A manager is liable for their workforce’s safety, and the financial and moral implications of not complying regulations are simply too high.

Source: Stephen Westley, Dewalt – Advancing safety with mobile technology – SHP Online

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Latest Health & Safety Statistics

Health and safety statistics for 2015/16 released

Health and safety statistics for 2015/16 released 

Using information from the Labour Force Survey, RIDDOR reporting, HSE cost model, death certificates and HSE enforcement data, the report pulls together key facts about illness and injuries.

Occupational health in numbers

In 2015/16:

Latest Health & Safety Statistics

  • 1.3 milion workers suffer from work-related illness
  • 0.5 million suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • 0.5 million suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • There have been 2,515 deaths from mesothelioma

The costs of occupational ill health on business is clear. In 2015/16 there were 30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and non-fatal workplace injuries.

In monetary terms this cost business £14.1 billion in 2014/15 – excluding the costs of long latency illnesses, like cancer, and new cases of work-related illness cost £9.3 billion in the same year.

Fatal and non-fatal injuries in numbers

In 2015/16:

  • 0.6 million non-fatal injuries to workers
  • 72,202 non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers
  • 144 fatal injuries to workers

The annual costs of workplace injury in 2014/15 was £4.8 billion.

The trends behind the figures

Figures alone mean virtually nothing unless you look at them in the context of wider data and comparisons.

Latest Health & Safety Statistics
Latest Health & Safety Statistics

With regard to occupational health, the HSE statistics report shows that there has been a general downward trend in the number of self-reported, work-related ill health disorders – at least until 2011/12 and more recently this rate has been broadly flat.

Similarly, the rate of self-reported stress, depression and anxiety has remained broadly flat for more than a decade.

These statistics indicate that we have reached a plateau, and that new and different approaches need to be adopted when tackling occupational health.

There are projected to be around 2,500 deaths per year from mesothelioma for the rest of this decade before numbers start to decline.

There has been a downward trend in the rate of fatal injury in the long-term, although this seems to have also hit a plateau in recent years.

The majority of fatal injuries come from falls from height, with being struck by moving vehicles coming in a close second.

Comparisons

The UK has the least fatal injuries when compared to other large EU economies, including Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and France.

However, the UK comes in second place when looking at the percentage of self-reported, work-related injuries and health problems resulting in sick leave.

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construction health and safety

Construction in focus

Two years ago the UK Government published a report on worker well-being in the construction sector, arguing how improvements in this area were not only a target in themselves but also conducive to economic growth. This win/win focus on promoting greater levels of health and safety within the sector, is supported by regulations which govern some of the key operational tasks carried out by construction workers.

These include laws around working at height, which are structured under the basis of avoid, prevent, arrest, requiring employers and self-employed contractors to assess the risks and then organise and plan the work so it is carried out safely.

Work at height is the biggest single cause of serious injury within the construction industry, with over 60 per cent of deaths resulting from falls on a site.

The starting point for planning is for employers to look at where they can avoid working at height. Where this is not possible, they must otherwise prevent or arrest a fall and the potential for serious injury, instructing and training their workforce in the precautions needed.

Method statements are widely used in the construction industry as part of this process. These are a useful way of recording the hazards involved in specific work at height tasks and communicating the risk and precautions required to all those involved in the work. The statement need be no longer than necessary to achieve these objectives effectively. It should also be clear and illustrated with simple sketches, where necessary, avoiding ambiguities or generalisations which could lead to confusion. Statements are for the benefit of those carrying out the work and their immediate supervisors and should not be overcomplicated. Equipment needed for safe working should be clearly identified and available before work starts with clear guidance on what should be done if the work method needs to be changed.

construction-worker-956496_960_720

As well as avoiding work at height operations where it practicable to do so, there are a number of additional precautions employers can put in place. Measures should be taken to prevent a worker from falling a distance which is liable to cause personal injury. This could include erecting a scaffold platform with double guard-rail and toe boards, for example. Installing equipment like safety nets to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall is also vital where work at height cannot be avoided or the fall prevented.

Manual handling is another key area covered by construction law governing the movement of items through lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling. While the weight of the item is an important issue, employers must also recognise the many other factors, including the number of times an items needs to be picked up or carried or the distance it is carried, as these can enhance the risk of musculoskeletal disorder injuries (MSDs).

MSDs are common construction-related injuries which include damage or disorder of the joints and other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Statistics from the Labour Force Survey indicate that MSDs, including those caused by manual handling, account for more than a third of all reported work-related illnesses.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require employers to manage these risks on behalf of their employees. This includes avoiding hazardous manual handling operations, moving loads through automated or mechanised processes wherever possible. If it can’t be avoided, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment from hazardous manual handling operations is required which sets out ways of reducing the potential of injury.

It is also important for employers to adopt an ergonomic approach to manual handling across their operations, taking into account the nature of the task, size of the load, the working environment and where and when direct worker participation is necessary.

The HSE has developed a number of supportive resources, including the MAC and the V-MAC tools which help employers analyse lifting, carrying and team handling. The ART tool gives advice and guidance on managing repetitive upper limb tasks, while the RAPP tool covers pushing and pulling requirements on a construction site. Often multiple tools will be required to complete a task. More information on these can be found at the HSE website.

These resources are there to support the wider legislative agenda of further protecting the people who work in the UK construction sector. It’s important for employers to be aware of these rules and use the tools that are available to promote a better working environment.

Source: SHP – Jerry Hill Safety, Head of Consultancy Support for NatWest Mentor, gives an overview of  some of the key topics in health and safety in construction.

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Importance of managing and implementing health & safety measures in construction

The issue of health, safety and environment (HSE) remains one of the top priorities in the local, regional and global construction industry.

Efficient health and safety at workplace not only ensures that employees are happy and productive, but can also help to reduce both the human and business costs of injuries and unnecessary lawsuits. By making health and safety the priority, construction companies are effectively communicating that competent employees are a valuable resource in the industry. Additionally, improved health and safety standards help companies become more effective to finish projects on time and improve their business profile with customers and clients. By introducing basic health and safety standards, organisations can understand the human capital benefits this has across the company.

Management must not only provide their workers with the right safety tools at work, but also equip and induct them with understanding on proper use and maintenance of these tools. Several organisations, for instance, focus on educating and explaining HSE rules and regulations to employees, contractors and vendors, as well as utilising industry experience to implement such standards.

HSE standards and technical specifications must first be discussed and implemented before any person steps onto any construction site, whether in an established building or a new site. Also, gaps between local and international HSE standards can be bridged through an approach that involves a method statement, risk assessment and job safety analysis.

  1. Method statement:

A method statement is a standard document widely used in the construction industry. It details specific instructions on how to perform a work-related task, including how to operate a piece of machinery or equipment.

This breakdown of tasks is essential in a workplace where a large part of the workforce is unskilled and lacks general knowledge in HSE standards. In addition, the method statement includes how this process should be completed for both employees and contractors throughout the duration of the project. A method statement features a step-by-step process on how to implement HSE standards, must be prepared for each task on a particular worksite and then included in the overall construction safety plan, ensuring that HSE standards have been taken into account for every section of the project. The document is a testament to the fact that workers are a priority, which in turn means they will remain happier and more productive.

Another vital component of the method statement is considering worker welfare and the long-term benefits that this has on raising the health and safety standards throughout the industry. Considering that many labourers come from countries where their worksite safety is not treated as a key concern, it is important to educate workers with the basics of HSE standards.

  1. Risk assessment:
Fatigue Management is one of many things Project Managers have to stay on top of
Fatigue Management is one of many things Project Managers have to stay on top of

Risk assessment determines the quantitative or qualitative value of risk on a particular worksite and any recognised hazards. Risk assessment is a core component of HSE standards and is also an opportunity to focus on what might cause serious harm to people, and determine whether an organisation or company is taking the necessary preventative measures to tackle it. During a risk assessment, there is a valuable opportunity to identify sensible measures to control in the workplace and to think about how accidents may happen and concentrate on the very real risks that are involved.

Most accidents are more likely due to the lack of workers’ knowledge of health and safety. However, the problem can be addressed through regular training programmes and safety talks.

Risk assessment can be broken down further into two parts: a hazard, anything that may cause harm; and the risk, the chance that an individual may be harmed by a hazard along with a suggestion as to how serious this harm could be. An organisation should concentrate on both of these components as HSE standards remain applicable to all aspects of the construction industry.

  1. Job safety analysis:

Job safety analysis focuses on identifying and controlling workplace hazards, and aims to prevent personal injury to any operative working there or that may be passing by. During this phase, the company determines which job/task needs to be analysed as a risk or hazard, followed by breaking this down into a step-by-step sequence. This ensures that nothing is missed, and health and safety remain integral parts of each and every job. It is important to follow it up by categorising potential hazards, with the final step being implementing measures to overcome these hazards. Once more, by focusing on identifying and controlling workplace hazards, workers’ welfare remains at the core importance of a construction organisation. This then leads to motivated workers who understand the implications of these hazards and how to avoid personal injury.  

The role of management:

snip_20161010124149 product infoWhile method statement, risk assessment and job safety analysis are critical parts of HSE standards, this must be coupled with the role of management and their workers’ welfare. All these factors combined will help successfully implement HSE standards for the long-term benefit of organisations and more importantly workers. Instilling the knowledge and understanding of HSE standards among unskilled labourers through proper induction and training should start by focusing on the basics. This includes giving an overview of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is a another vital component of onsite safety and refers to protective clothing, safety reflective vests, safety helmets, hard hats, goggles or other garments or equipment that are designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury.

This overview must be done in basic terms and include a demonstration; with simple, supporting images to reiterate their point; along with a construction manager who can communicate it in the best way. This gives the workers an opportunity to ask any additional questions and further familiarise themselves with HSE standards. By implementing these measures, workers become more proactive when it comes to health and safety and what it really means to them. Some safety issues under management’s role include proper signage on site, and warning the workers and other visitors about potentially dangerous parts on site.

Source: Construction News

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snip_20161010124456 about us

training software - knowledge deficiency

Is what you don’t know putting lives at risk? We take a peek at the science behind Mosaic’s new product ‘Perception’

Have you ever considered why many less able people seem to be overly confident in their own abilities, even when the evidence is to the contrary? There are various theories out there to describe this phenomenon, but a pair of American psychologists, Dunning and Kruger,  are at the forefront of thinking in this particular area. In this article we delve into their research and those of other eminent researchers to reveal some surprising results.

Dunning & Kruger effect
Dunning & Kruger effect: Unskilled and unaware of it…

Firstly, not only did they discover that this was actually a real condition, but also that the least capable people were far more confident in their own abilities than genuine specialists. In what has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect (1999), those least able to make informed decisions are also most likely to believe that they can. Those experts on the other hand are more likely to underestimate their skills and are typically the least able when put to the test.

Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability (a higher internal level of thinking) of those of low ability to recognise their ineptitude and evaluate their ability accurately. They have reasoned that the effect is the result of internal illusion in those of low ability, and external misperception in those of high ability. Put into their terminology: “The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”

We all create our own “subjective social reality” from the perception of the input. An individual’s construction of social reality, not the objective input, dictates their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality. In certain cases this can lead to a complex call illusory superiority (Van Yperen and Buunk,1991) whereby not only do individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities, relative to others, but this can also manifest itself in a sense of relative superiority.

A serious danger in the workplace

internal illusion - mosaic perception

The Dunning-Kruger effect is not deliberate – the effect is simply the extension of positive conformational bias. This means that decisions made by less skilled people can have serious consequences, simply because they do not properly understand that their knowledge and experience is incomplete. What they don’t know about what they don’t know is a major risk to themselves and anyone else nearby. This can have serious consequences in the context of site and project health and safety, where employees have a duty of care to ensure the highest standards are applied.

You can’t afford to assume you know

Most health and safety provisions are basic common sense – identifying and mitigating the most obvious dangers to keep people safe. However, what if the person responsible for hooking up loads to the site crane and directing the driver (Signaller & Slinger) was not completely knowledgeable about the correct health and safety procedures surrounding this critical role, yet was under the misapprehension that their skills surpassed the job in this area. Yes, you are quite correct in assuming that it could be a recipe for health and safety breaches to occur at some point.

Mosaic Management Systems has developed a training package to gauge not only the complete knowledge of those being tested on a particular subject area, but to also measure the level of confidence people apply to their decision making. This invaluable training tool will highlight knowledge deficiencies, enabling targeted remedial training to be scheduled leading to improved competency levels. Furthermore, any increase in competency levels will also reduce the risk of accidents leading to improvements in health and safety.

Mosaic Perception, the new product’s name, is a cutting edge on-line package that supports all manner of organisations to better empower their workforces, while managing and mitigating the risk that can be prevalent through misplaced confidence, lack of skills or simply bad practice. Our customisable on-line assessments, consultancy services and workforce risk solution, enable our clients to identify, manage and mitigate this risk.

Mosaic Perception in action - Screen shot
Mosaic Perception in action – Screen shot of software at the results page

This service is able to highlight skills and knowledge gaps and expose employee behaviour that may pose a risk to regulatory compliance, best practice, health and safety or even competitiveness. Through our work we identify the root causes so risks can be addressed immediately using targeted interventions. 

At Mosaic, we understand that simply holding a record of employee qualifications, licences and training courses is insufficient in the current working environment. You certainly need peace of mind to know that your workforce can deliver in the way that is safe and productive. What we do is work closely with our clients as the subject matter experts to create role specific assessments that align with corporate goals and strategy.

Because we collaborate with our client’s candidates or employees, we are able to draw on their in-depth understanding of the role and it is with this insight that we are able to construct questions to identify information gaps which can be turned into actionable activity based on results.

snip_20161010124456 about usTo enquire further about this product or simply talk to one of our in-house consultants, then please complete the contact form by following the link and we will get back to you straight away.