What does the latest HSE Labour Force Survey reveal about workforce health & safety in the construction sector

According to the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) annual survey figures, work place fatalities are down but ill-health continues to cost the UK £14.9bn p.a.

HSE generated Statistics from the Labour Force Survey 2016/17 indicate that 1.3 million workers were suffering from work related ill-health, and there were 609,000 workplace injuries. Unfortunately, there is still work to do as 137 fatal injuries occurred (a 5% decrease on the previous year).

For the first time, stress became the UK’s biggest work-related illness, overtaking musculoskeletal disorder cases. The HSE has highlighted that while the statistics show that Britain remains one of the safest places to work, there is still work to do to drive figures down. Overall, workplace injury and new cases of ill health cost Britain £14.9bn a year with 31.2 million working days lost.

There have been significant reductions in the number and rate of injury over the last 20 years or more. Nevertheless, construction remains a high-risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain it represents 27% of all accidents recorded. Drilling down into the figures we see that 80,000 construction workers suffered from work-related ill health each year with 30 fatal injuries to workers over 2016/17. The diagram below shows the splits by illness type that occurs in the sector:

Mosaic HealthCheck provides a simple solution that allows secure and safe storage of confidential medical records against worker records. Operate with the peace of mind knowing that this confidential information is ring fenced and password protected allowing only designated members of the user community access. This user-friendly solution allows renewal dates in line with fit for work medical records and health surveillance tests to be highlighted.

When specific medical records are approaching renewal time, Mosaic automatically electronically alerts the relevant party, albeit the contractor or subcontractor, to action a renewal with their employee. This saves considerable amount of time chasing and cuts down on paperwork as well.

Please contact us to discuss our solutions further

10 ways specialist health & safety construction software can benefit your business

There are already established technology solutions out there, where software supports and enhances Health & Safety project strategy delivered to a workforce. The article below shows how one unique solution, is already making a difference to both costs and staff welfare on UK sites and infrastructure projects.

#1 Significantly reduce time spent on administrative paperwork or spreadsheets
With inductions to consider, stock to monitor, and site staff to manage – there’s a lot of processes and paperwork involved. On a good day paperwork isn’t an issue, but when a process or step is missed, you risk a lot. From issues with safety and wellbeing of staff and contractors, to going over budget, poorly maintained processes have the potential to wreak havoc.

It’s your job as a Project or Health & Safety Manager to ensure safety in the workplace, and you can’t accurately achieve that with messy systems.

SkillPass is the solution

#2 Improved how you manage contractors
CSCS verification is a notorious admin burden for contractors – Failure to efficiently check cards and qualifications can result in down time while correct paperwork is produced. Once in-situ keeping on top of the expiry date of qualifications is difficult without the correct software.

SkillCheck is the solution

#3 Monitor the health of your workforce
With 9 million working days being lost last year to Musculoskeletal Disorder and a further 12 million to stress – we must take the health of the workforce seriously. The construction industry is particularly prone to a workforce needing further support, due to the additional physical and mental pressures placed workers.

HealthCheck is the solution

#4 Improved management and planning
Running a construction site requires you to manage your time, your team’s time and spin many more plates. Paperwork gets in the way of doing your important tasks and doesn’t always reduce risks. Electronic and cloud based systems go where you go and help structure your day and provide easy to use reports, helping you and your team do more and stay accountable. A streamlined integrated system prevents accidents and fatalities over the course of a project, which is well worth the investment.

Mosaic suite of products is the solution

#5 Deliver crucial pre-projects inductions online and off site
It is vital for each member of the workforce to have a briefing prior to a project starting, so they hit the ground running and know the potential hazards on site. From an administrative perspective, this is a logistical nightmare to get your own workforce and contractors booked on to class slots.

It involves a lot of skilled admin to collate all the contacts and chasing up to ensure everyone receives that all important first induction. Running inductions online and off site can also be a considerable time saver.

Induction Manager is the solution

#6 Use time & attendance data to secure accurate workforce payments
Ensuring that timesheets are in on time and accurately filled out correctly currently costs the UK construction industry millions in process and human errors. This is usually a paperwork driven exercise that needs approvals from Supervisors once completed by the worker. It is prone to delays and inaccuracies. Surely there is a better way to track time & attendance.

Tally System is the solution

#7 Know who has been issued what stock & assets
If your company uses a lot of its own tools, then managing your maintenance responsibilities can be something of an administrative nightmare. You must make sure you meet your contractual obligations while ensuring that testing schedules are managed effectively.

Similarly, plant management can be just as time-consuming and fiddly. You need to manage their use, maintenance and costs – which usually involves a lot of paperwork. Look for some construction asset management software which includes the ability to manage maintenance and plant, if your company struggles with these tasks. By accurately recording these aspects of your business, you also help protect your company during contract disputes.

Asset Manager is the solution

#8 Ensure that all health & safety messages land
Toolbox talks and daily safety briefings are now common place on most UK sites. But how do Site Managers know if everyone has received them. The simple answer is they generally do not, as there is a time lag between paperwork returning to the office and checks being completed.

Briefing Manager is the solution

#9 Innovate to face the challenges within the sector
There’s no doubt that running a modern-day construction business involves plenty of admin – but instead of cutting corners (and risking legal disputes later), you can use today’s technology to turn stacks of paperwork into manageable tasks.

Mosaic suite of products is the solution

#10 Competency training to improve your workforce’s knowledge
How do you assess key competencies and knowledge understanding of your workforce? Reduce errors which occur from misinterpretation. Provide training to improve ‘correct’ knowledge retention.

Perception is the solution

At Mosaic we provide a Health & Safety solution for companies who need to ensure that all of their workforce is adhering to certain standards. This passport platform allows companies to store and retrieve essential health and safety information from a single cloud based database. Not only does this save time and money, it helps ensure security and safety of the entire workforce.

Managing your stock, assets and inspections was never simpler, via this new app!

A new app joins the Mosaic family! We’re proud to announce the launch of Asset, Inspection & Stock Control Manager. It’s a smart app that allows a complete 360 view of all stock and removes the need to use paper-based tracking systems. With apps and cloud based technology, managers can work from their phone which they are more likely to keep track of and not lose whilst onsite.

Removing obstacles and delivering results
Our latest app works on devices supported by Android, so can be used on any smart phone supported by this platform. This means the technology is mobile, lightweight and responsive. Tracking stock on cloud based technology means a reduction in theft and lost tools and stock, as well as less admin time. Updating in real time, this app saves time, hassle and money for busy site managers and staff.

The app and software can be used for all types of materials, including the correct safety clothing and equipment. This means that only qualified site users can access certain equipment, thereby reducing potential hazards and accidents.

Earning its keep and paying you back
Any new technology requires investment, and we’re sure that Mosaic’s Asset, Inspection & Stock Control Manager will repay you quickly. Theft and loss are big issues, especially on large construction sites. A power drill or kango breaker still adds up, and this means you have to replace tools as well as spend time tracking down who used it last. Our app will reduce the time and make staff and contractors accountable for the equipment they use.

You can also read this article on how RFID technology has ROI for many companies and projects.

If you’re interested to see how our latest app can save you time and hassle with tracking your equipment, download our product sheet or call us to book a free demo.

Mosaic employed to help Costain & Skanska on HS2 enabling works project

Costain and Skanska have been awarded the South Enabling Works Contract for High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. The award is worth up to £300m to the Joint Venture (JV) parties over four years. Mosaic has been chosen as the preferred partner to deliver an online health and safety solution, supporting their workforce and supply chain for the period of the works.

The project will cover the essential preparatory work needed to deliver the main HS2 programme on time and on budget. It will create jobs and training opportunities across the JV’s UK-wide supply chain. Mosaic will provide the JV with branded smart card access facilities that allows the clients to easily check workforce competencies across the supply chain.

The package will also include functionality that allows all safety briefings and ‘toolbox’ talks to be captured in real-time, thereby allowing total transparency of ‘safety’ delivery. Occupational Health will also be recorded via the system along with Fatigue monitoring of safety critical workers.

John Micciche, Mosaic’s MD said “We are delighted to be involved with Costain & Skanska on this prestigious infrastructure project. Once again will be delivering a Passport Solution for their workforce that truly allows their Project Managers real-time health & safety data. This will certainly be beneficial to both the workforce and the bottom line over the course of the project, as accuracy is guaranteed and administration time reduced”.

Onsite tracking of time is as important as keeping track of budget

It’s early morning, people are coming and going. You’ve managed to get your first coffee and glance at your emails. You’ve tried to keep track of who’s come and gone onsite – but already the spreadsheet isn’t up to date, or someone forgot to write their name down on the sign in sheet. Now you have to stop everything and do a headcount.

Admin is a huge time drain for every business, but is especially time draining on large projects. It takes experienced professionals away from their important tasks. For every minute spent chasing paperwork, money is being lost on the project. Not only that, if you don’t have a good idea of who is coming and going, this can create issues with security, health & safety and risk of theft.

Tracking Time is as Important as Tracking Budget
Tracking the time onsite of your contractors and staff is important as keeping an eye on the overall project spend. Keeping costs down across the whole project is vital for project managers and their company. A key area for increased costs is staff wage, and this is also a huge area of potential abuse. If you’re using pen and paper to track hours, staff can easily round up their time on site, which over a period of weeks and months quickly adds up.

Mosaic monitors time & attendance through its Tally system – one scan in and one out is all your need workers to do.

The Mosaic Tally System has been designed to reduce these problems and concerns for project and site managers. In case studies, we have seen as much as 10% savings can be achieved when paying wages as removes element of human error and potential fraud out of the equation. 10% is a huge margin even on a small project, let alone a large project.

A Solution That Fits Your Unique Site Needs
You need a simple solution that’s easy to install and implement into your current procedures. New tracking technology is one of the easiest ways to start monitoring who’s onsite and employee working times.

A big site may have many entry and exit points, and Mosaic Tally Systems can be placed at as many places as needed. All you then need is a single smart card to tap in and out of the entry point.

This also has huge benefits for a health and safety standpoint. Each smart card keeps a record of the employee and their skills. This means you can track if someone with the certain skills is reporting to the right area.

In the event of a fire, you can use the system as a tally to check off employees. Real time reporting means that you don’t have to mess around trying to get records from staff or add up numbers on a clipboard.

A reduced reliance on spreadsheets, paper and staff’s poor memory is something many businesses strive for – which can all be achieved using our tally system. Read more about the product here.

Mobile and cloud based is the way for construction to go!

Mobile technology and cloud-based solutions are now altering the way things are done in the construction industry. A study conducted by Associated General Contractors found that

The app is centralising documentation

almost two out of three (59%) construction contractor companies already use or plan to use the cloud to enhance their businesses. This take up is only going to grow in the following years. Cloud based solutions allow construction companies to avoid many start-up costs as well as decrease daily costs when utilizing such mobile technology.

Here are some ways to scale your construction firm with mobile technology: 

Streamline manual processes

Mobile technology allows your workforce to be considerably more productive through elimination of time-consuming manual processes that require paper documentation. Workers are now better able to fill out reports and communicate with colleagues across a project. This not only improves their productivity while on the jobsite, it also saves them time returning to HQ to lodge documents.

Improves internal communication

Mobile technology not only allows for seamless communication between all parties involved, but also bridges the gap between the field and the office. This reach ensures that everybody is on the same page and eliminates the lag of communication flow that comes from using outdated systems. Mobile technology also allows the project manager or any other stakeholder to check the status of an ongoing project and see the most updated information available.

Improve communication externally

The subcontractor not only has to communicate with his own team but also with external parties. Mobile technology allows the subcontractor to be in constant communication with all parties at any given time. This immediacy of communication helps the subcontractor to make faster, more informed decisions that will contribute to a project’s overall productivity.

Centralised documents

Mobile and cloud technology also stores all documents in a centralised database. Your construction team will no longer waste valuable time searching for or recreating paper documents that have gone missing.

Standard documents

Mobile technology also allows your team to have standardised documents at their fingertips at all times.

In conclusion, the cloud and mobile technology allow construction firms of all sizes do the very most with the amount of resources available to them.

Mosaic’s innovative Health & Safety system will mean you can do away with paperwork and won’t have to grapple with spreadsheets anymore. Everything is internet based and can be accessed as long as you have a connection.

Our complete solution comes with Access Control, Inductions, Competency Management, and Asset tracking modules making the Project Managers life considerably easier to track their workforces. Please follow the link to find out more about our solutions…

Construction sector – Is it really worth not being Health and Safety compliant ?

Research by Arinite found health and safety fines in 2016 by far outstripped the cost of compliance. It found that businesses paid an average of £115,440 in fines after being found guilty of health and safety breaches in 2016. These fines was very varied – from £100 for a construction company, to £5 million for Merlin Entertainments and the Alton Towers incident.

HSE statistics

Averages also differed greatly across industries. Extraction and utility supply companies paid out the second largest amount (£7,375,120 total and £409,729 on average), followed by those in construction (£4,824,983 total and £74,231 on average). Of all the fines issued in 2016, half of them were for the manufacturing industry (£16,816,673) and the average fine was over £112,000. A total of £32,438,677 worth of fines were issued in 2016 across the UK.

Cost of compliance

The cost of health and safety compliance for SMEs in 2016 was between £5k and £40k, to put this into perspective. SMEs that invested in health and safety therefore potentially avoided a fine £75k higher than the cost of compliance. According to HSE’s own research, small to medium sized businesses can expect to pay no more than £40k per year to remain health and safety compliant. Compliance costs typically cover such things as the maintenance of a formal health and safety system, insurance, and compensation for a designated health and safety role or person.

However, for larger businesses, the compliance costs can be a lot higher. But health and safety failures at these companies rarely just result in a fine – a major accident incurs the total cost of injuries and ill health sustained, not to mention the PR costs when these offenses sometimes make the trade magazine headlines. Laing O’Rourke was told to pay £800k in fines recently for a fatality caused on their Heathrow project.

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Evidence from HSE shows that the size of fines in Britain have been growing steadily over the past few years. The largest 20 fines to businesses for health and safety offenses in 2016 were three times more than the largest 20 fines in 2015, and eight times higher than in 2014.

Avoiding health and safety fines

To avoid unnecessarily high fines in 2017, IOSH have provided specifics on how businesses can prevent and reduce the cost of a fine. Note: they are a guide on how to mitigate severity and aren’t necessarily about how to remain health compliant, for that you need to consult HSE.

Factors increasing seriousness of a fine include:

  • Cost-cutting at the expense of safety

  • Deliberate concealment of illegal activity

  • Breaching a court order

  • Obstruction of justice

  • A poor health and safety record – it’s worse if there was a previous conviction

In 2017, take the time to demo our H&S Mosaic system. Mosaic is used by the biggest names in the Request Democonstruction industry to manage a range of safety critical and competency issues on major infrastructure sites and projects.  Indeed, Mosaic is sometimes mandated by companies due to the significant role it plays in reducing site health and safety issues, security, improved productivity and time saved.

Source: Arinite

10 questions you are unlikely to hear a Site Manager ask on a Mosaic project

We take a look at how the deployment of a Mosaic Management System can change site working practices and worker behaviour. Below are ten questions that you would be unlikely to hear from Site Managers, once the Mosaic suite of products is fully operational on site:

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1. “Who has actually been inducted?” …I will need to gather all the paperwork together…

Mosaic Induction Manager allows all those participating in the induction process to book themselves onto the class. The induction can then be delivered on-line, off-line or a combination of both depending on client requirements. Once finished the worker is registered against their record as having completing the induction.

Mosaic Induction Manager - Onboarding and Inductions both online and offline
Mosaic Induction Manager – Allowing Inductions options both on-line and off-line

Site Managers can easily run a report to check who has received their induction and therefore is eligible for site access. Paperwork and spreadsheets are no longer necessary, saving considerable administration time.

Watch Video

2. “Is that worker qualified to do that?”… Someone could get hurt here…

Depending upon client requirements, all qualifications can be checked before access to site is

construction worker using dangerous equipmentallowed. Evidence of this is appended to a worker’s record. Each worker is assigned a role, that they must have the right qualifications and experience to perform, before they are issues with their site smart card.

3. “Where is the contractor qualification certificate evidence?”… I cannot find copies…

All certificate and any qualification evidence is scanned and uploaded against a worker record. This can easily be view via a desktop.

No more photocopying of certificates etc., cluttering up site offices.

What makes a safe worker?
What makes a safe worker?

4. “Can I check your CSCS card is in date?”… I am worried about fake cards also… 

As a CSCS IT partner we have access to their database to check worker CSCS cards are in date and not fake. Once checked, workers can continue to use their CSCS on site or alternatively a Mosaic Smartcard can be issued. When the CSCS card expires, an ‘administrator’ is notified, who can inform the worker to get it renewed.

Card security and onsite access to construction site
CSCS cards need to be scrutinised to see if they are in date and also not fake

5. “Do you have a ticket to use this?”…You should also be wearing specific PPE to use this piece of kit…

When a worker is booking out a tool, or piece of plant via the storeroom, Mosaic will flag up if they do not have the right qualifications or skill-set to use it. They can then be denied from taking a piece of equipment that they are not qualified for.

Watch Video

6. “Who on site has not had a start of shift briefing?”…On a busy and complex project such as this, I need to ensure all workers receive this..

All safety briefings and toolbox talks can easily be recorded against worker records. All the worker has to do is present their smart cards to a reader to record attendance.  

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7. “I am not 100% sure how long that worker has been on site?”…Fatigue management was a real problem on my last job where some guys were double shifting…

Mosaic Fatigue Risk Manager notifies Supervisors (usually in the form of the project

Without technologies help it is impossible to keep track of your workforce all the time
Without technological help, it is difficult to ensure consistent H&S messages are communicated

administration) of workers who have reached their time limit for their shift. The Supervisor can then act accordingly. This helps prevent double shifting and allows shift patterns to be better managed.

Watch Video

8. “I thought that worker had a site ban in place and was not allowed on here?”…With a site ban in place, I would be open to all sorts of litigation claims should there be an accident…

On a worker’s record ‘site bans’ are recorded and activated. If they still possess a smart card, then this would be flagged up when they try to access the site.

9. “I will need to check when that piece of kit needs an inspection?”…Poorly maintained equipment causes more downtime than we can afford…

Once an asset (which can be tool, small plant, large plant) has been registered on the system, management will be notified when it needs inspection and maintenance.

10. “I am not entirely sure how many workers we have on site at this moment?”…I simply don’t trust the signing in book…

Mosaic Tally, sometimes known as the time and attendance module, means all workers scan onto and off the site using their smart cards. Tally can be set up to work over multiple access points, allowing your workers and contractors alike to be monitored over large geographical areas. This information can easily be retrieved from the system in the form of a report.

Watch Video

Mosaic family of modules

Stop. Make a change: Fatigue Management

Stop. Make a Change campaign: Fatigue in the Workplace

In April 2017 companies and organisations from across the UK infrastructure sector will take part in a joint national initiative targeting improvements in health, safety and wellbeing for the sector. Stop. Make a Change. will see sites, offices and manufacturing facilities stop work from 10am until noon on 18 April, to allow staff and suppliers working there to take time to discuss some of the challenges we face as a sector and how they can be overcome.

safety critical roles in constructionThe campaign will focus on four key issues – respiratory illness, plant safety, fatigue and mental health. We delve into the subject of fatigue in the construction workplace and what companies can do to make this issue.

Are you of the mindset that feeling tired and fatigued at work is just all part of the usual working day? But while tiredness is easy to belittle, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Fatigue can actually pose a serious health and safety risk. When long working hours and shift-working are mixed, fatigue becomes just as serious a workplace hazard as any other out there.

Why is fatigue a risk?

Let’s put this into context –  well over 3.5 million people in the UK working shifts, fatigue is a serious hazard for UK workplaces. With long working hours without adequate periods to rest and recover in between, it’s easy to cross the line between feeling a bit tired, to having your performance levels drop.

Beyond feeling a little tired and weary, it can actually lead to a decline a mental and physical performance, lack of attentiveness, memory problems, poor reaction times and much more.

What causes fatigue?

Two of the main causes of fatigue are simply spending long, repeated periods being awake, or irregular and disrupted sleep patterns. For those working shifts or repeated long hours, both of these factors are pretty common, with extended shifts or shift rotations across different times of day and night being commonplace.

How can you reduce the risks?

Just like any other workplace hazard that we have discussed in this blog space, fatigue needs to be addressed and managed, to avoid it becoming a serious risk. In combination with the physical factors aa regular risk assessment should also identify if fatigue is a risk for workers too, before taking steps to counter it. This is so crucial for those working in safety critical roles.

One smart card to manage all site worker competencies
One smart card to manage all site worker fatigue risk

There are numerous steps you can take to minimise the risk of serious fatigue and these will depend on your workplace and conditions. This quite possibly mean checking upon staffing levels and how this resources is managed. Alternative shift schedules might have to be re-jigged, to make sure that work activities, duration and rotation are well balanced and double shifting does not occur.

You can also provide on-site places to rest, to help workers recuperate adequately in between shifts more easily.

Key Fatigue Stats:

Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore it:

  • It leads to 20% of accidents on the UK’s roads
  • It can cost businesses up to £240 million
  • It can be caused by a number of factors – from monotonous hours on the same task, to long working days and disrupted sleep patterns
  • A risk assessment, referring to the fatigue risk index, is one of the best ways to identify what steps you need to take, to minimise the impact of fatigue.

Workplace fatigue policy

  • Develop a fatigue policy for all workers, managers and supervisors. This policy should include information about: maximum shift length and average weekly hours; work-related travel; procedures for reporting fatigue risks; procedures for managing fatigued workers.
  • Make sure anyone can report fatigue-related issues to both supervisors and management, and then improvements will follow.
  • Train your new employees on fatigue management.

Once these strategies are implemented, you should monitor and review them to ensure fatigue is managed effectively.

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Mosaic has a Fatigue Management module which can bolt onto its system. When used in conjunction with access control systems, it will enter start and finish times. Using the available data, the system will instantly alert the management team by identifying any employees who are at risk of fatigue or have already breached certain controls, such as double shifting.

Please read more about this module by clicking here

brexit and the UK construction sector

As the skills shortage debate comes to a head – we take a look at recent Brexit news that could further exacerbate this

There has been a lot written in the construction media over the last few years about the skills shortage that the industry faces in the coming decade. More recently the focus has been on how this is will be further compounded by leaving the EU. Balfour Beatty have already come out and said that one in ten of its recruits last year came from other EU countries. They cited Brexit as one of six issues exacerbating an engineering shortage in this country, adding that this could eventually drive up the price of building.

A harder form of Brexit realistically could shrink the construction industry’s capacity. This is during a period when it actually needs to grow to meet government objectives, Lord Stunell a key peer has warned parliament.

He is currently leading a review into the impact leaving the EU will have on the construction sector, and is on record as saying that the industry “needs to expand its capacity by about 35 per cent” in order to deliver key infrastructure projects on the timescales set out. These include major schemes such as Hinkley Point C, a third runway at Heathrow and High Speed 2.

However, should the UK’s exit from the EU manifest itself into a harder kind, where access to the single market is rescinded, the Customs Union is scaled back and under The Treaty of Rome freedom of movement is curtailed, then the industry in his estimations “will shrink by 9 per cent”. This assumption is based on the proportion of the UK construction labour force from elsewhere in the EU, which correlates with Balfour Beatty workforce stats.

Should a harder Brexit prevail, then the skills shortages within the sector will be further exacerbated by an ageing workforce. Regional contractors near Hinkley Point C are already having to change their building designs and methods on projects due to a looming skills shortage in the area.

Regardless of the outcome over the coming years, the opportunity now exists for the industry to further encourage new blood in and to manage the current workforce better to ensure some semblance of continuity can prevail. In order to do this, the larger players in the industry will certainly have to better embrace technology to support the older members of the workforce and find new methods to help ease pinch points in the labour supply.

At Mosaic Management Systems we offers a competency management system at its core (SkillCheck), that could be used to help companies gather data to better assess their exposure to the skills-gaps that are likely to occur in the future. This will aid scenario planning, while providing management with data to base resource allocation decisions upon.

In addition the system also allows for personal information to be complied against a worker record on qualifications and training, but also health issues. On all the aforementioned points the industry will need to come up with creative new initiatives (or further ramp up existing ones) that are quantifiable and beneficial to workers and productivity. Thankfully, our system will be able to assist companies rolling out such ‘worker management’ programmes from the outset.

Mosaic is used by the biggest names in the construction industry to manage a range of safety critical and competency issues on major infrastructure sites and projects.  Indeed, Mosaic is sometimes mandated by companies due to the significant role it plays in reducing site health and safety issues, security, improved productivity and time saved.

To read more about us and the services we offer to the construction industry please click here