White Paper: Further empowering a competent workforce in the construction sector

WHITE PAPER: Further empowering a competent workforce in the construction sector

One of the most misused words used in the construction industry is ‘competent person’, as any construction site manager after completing a one day IOSH working safely course could consider him or herself as a competent person. Clearly just because they have done a one-day course does not necessarily make them competent as this is built upon as experience grows.

In this document we will look at the concept of the ‘competent person’, but apply it across the whole workforce and not only to supervisory roles. It will discuss how this is checked and managed in terms of induction, checking competencies and ensuring workers remain safe on site. The paper will also serve to highlight on-site management opportunities utilising smart technologies that could assist site and project managers to help nurture workers to improve in the ‘competent person’ role. After all, the aim is for all workers to be competent in the jobs they perform and be able to assess hazards and either rectify them or report them should they be insurmountable.

Firstly, we will delve into some industry definitions of what a competent person is, albeit within the context of supervisory roles. These provide useful definitions about what we should also expect from our workforce to a degree. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines a competent person as:

“someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need.”

However, in the definition of competent in the HSE Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 competent means:

“to perform any requirement and avoid contravening any prohibition imposed on a person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions”.

Which means someone who:

  • is able to perform a job effectively
  • can identify whether their surroundings or work area is hazardous or dangerous not only to themselves but others
  • has the knowledge and authorisation to take corrective action quickly.

Looking at the two industry definitions in terms of what is a competent person in the construction industry, it becomes apparent that both definitions have merit. The English dictionary definition of competent is someone who is ‘efficient and capable’. Effectively having the nouse to undertake work in an efficient and safe manner. This definition is probably more fitting for the workforce as a whole, as they are not mandated unlike supervisors. Yet, being a competent person isn’t just about the level of training a person has received. Nor is it simply a matter of being in a managerial role and certainly not just a matter of being designated.

Competent person vs. Qualified person

In addition to a competent person, the HSE and other international regulatory standards sanction the designation of a ‘qualified person’.  Experts are quick to point out that although the two have some similarities, notable differences also exist.

While a competent person on site should be able to identify hazards around them and has the authority to take action to mitigate them, a qualified person is required to have a recognised qualification such as a degree, certificate etc. The former might also have considerable experience and capability to solve problems that arise, including technical knowledge or interpersonal skills for a specific work place issue. For example, in a trenching operation, a competent person must be able to identify hazards within the operation and solve those issues; a qualified person however has the knowledge to design the protective system in the trench.

In this paper we want to further explore what the legal obligations are towards a workforce, to not only help them perform their job to a high standard, but to go about their tasks in a safe manner. The vast majority of site workers won’t have the mandate and knowledge to take quick action like those in supervisory roles, but they should be able to recognise hazards, stop work and report incidents straight away.

Contractors duty of care

Principal contractors obviously have a legally binding duty of care to their workforce, whether they are employees or contractors. It is undoubtedly their responsibility to ensure they have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and experience to do the job safely and without putting their own or others’ health and safety at risk. It is also in their interest to ensure their workforce is both efficient and safety conscious from a profitability and operational perspective.

The workforce must be supervised and given clear instructions to perform their tasks safely using the right tools, equipment, plant, materials and protective clothing. They must be briefed (or their representatives) about health and safety issues, while making arrangements for employees’ health surveillance where required.

We are fortunate that we live in an age where company and brand reputation is crucial to maintaining credibility within the sector – and exemplary health and safety records play a key role in maintaining this. Beyond reputation, most top players now recognise that those who take safety seriously and invest more in worker safety really do achieve better profitability than contractors who spend less on safety. In a recent US survey of 250 contractors, conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics (in partnership with the Center for Construction Research and Training and United Rentals), they found a strong correlation between safety levels and profitability.

It all goes to prove that getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time, is no mean feat. Moreover, it is about achieving this in an efficient and cost effective way. In addition, monitoring workforce performance and remedying any shortcomings is part of an ongoing process until the job is completed. Along the way there is usually a certain level of churn of staff, so new members of the workforce need to be inducted and brought into the project constantly.

What the Research says

In a recent HSE report entitled ‘The effectiveness of HSE’s regulatory approach: The construction example – 2016 (RR1082)’ a detailed omnibus survey was conducted amongst 5000 plus site workers, who were asked a number of questions about their accident, ill health experiences and understanding of health and safety risks. In order to probe a bit more on certain questions in the wider study, a booster survey of 500 construction workers was then undertaken.

HSE Research
HSE Research was conducted amongst 5000 plus site workers

On issues of competence, questions targeted both construction professionals and separately skilled trades personnel. It asked both their understanding of health and safety risks and the degree of motivation they demonstrate to become involved in improving H&S management. What is gratifying to see in the results was that understanding attributed to the two parties is similar, with 96% and 98% respectively judged to have a good understanding.

However, the responses have also shifted with time (as this is tracking research conducted over the years) to the strongly agree more than tend to agree which is testament to the good practice within the industry underpinned by the HSE and legislation. The motivation to keep improving H&S has been judged to be slightly higher for professionals but only marginally so (86% versus 81% for skilled trades). This clearly shows a willingness among the workforce to be not only actively involved in Health and Safety on projects, but also improvements in process. The paper continues to explore how this can be done effectively within a framework that can be somewhat managed.

How do these requirements and definitions actually translate into the working environment?

If a ‘competent person’ understands the process involved in performing the work, safety isn’t that much more of a challenge as they can assess jobs prior to starting, while auditing safety as they go along. A knowledgeable supervisor should know what tools will be required for a job as should a worker. The same can be said for what’s required to accomplish it safely. If you know that some of the work will be performed above ground, you know you’ll need the right equipment to facilitate that.

Therefore, planning safety is as critical as executing it. Many contractors have written safety programs. While they may be very comprehensive, the day-to-day implementation of those programs gets back to performance (or non-performance) by the competent person or persons.

The frequency of safety inspections, by supervisors, is invariably based on the degree of hazards at a project. All of which requires paperwork making constant invigilation of the site impossible. What is possible though, is a competent person’s understanding that if specific work rules are regularly spelled out, those rules are uniformly enforced, and hazards get eliminated as they are identified, the workers themselves will often become competent persons – shouldering a lot of the burden in the process.

An example of this can once again be seen in the HSE report referred to earlier. From a list of mechanisms around management and worker involvement suggested to respondents of which one or more might be present on site, response levels across the period were of the order of:

  1. Regular safety briefings / toolbox talks – 95%
  2. A near miss reporting system – 86%
  3. An employee H&S suggestion scheme – 51%
  4. Workforce safety representatives – 49%
  5. Safety committee – 33%
  6. Incentive / reward scheme – 12%

These results reflect how prevalent and important schemes like toolbox talks and having a system to report near miss accidents are to the safe running of construction sites in the modern era. What is equally important is that now the vast majority of workers now expecting them to be present to maintain high health and safety standards.

To sum up this section, we can say that more of a health & safety culture has certainly permeated the building industry over the last decade, which has been reflected in the work the HSE does and the level of accidents and fatalities witnessed on site. The workforce is certainly an integral part of this health & safety culture and the improvements that have been seen, along with a commitment from the principle contractor to not tolerate shoddy work practices. The HSE research suggests the workforce have ever high expectations about health and safety schemes on site and are increasingly motivated to be part of these to ensure everyone is protected. This is something that should be harnessed and nurtured to both improve safety levels and also productivity.

While the role of the experienced and well-trained supervisors in the role of the ‘competent person’ is essential to ensure best practice around H&S being enforced, it is inevitably the workforce will be shouldering some of the responsibility to ensure safety practices are adhered to. Therefore, it is essentially that a competent workforce is employed on projects and empowered through site initiatives to ensure best practice is realized safe working practices for all. In order to empower the workforce in the H&S culture, management needs to look for solutions that can, check qualifications, record H&S activities and help police the project site.

What do we need to support management and the workforce to better empower them and further adopt best practice on site?

Due to the sheer size of projects that have been undertaken in the UK over the last decade and in the future these are likely to be more sizable, management now more than ever need technological support to help them monitor the workforce and ensure best practice and H&S messages are communicated. Throw in Joint Ventures and Super JV’s, such as the soon to be started A14, to already complex working arrangements, and the risk around managing a disparate and fluid workforce multiplies.

While it is well documented that the take up of technologies to aid the UK construction industry has been slow, KPMG albeit in a global study (Building a Technological Advantage – Global Construction Study 2016) found that fewer than one in 10 construction companies are at the sharp end of technology and most just follow on behind, trying to keep up. It finds the construction industry is struggling to employ the full benefits of technologies like advanced data and analytics, mobile telephony, automation and robotics. To provide a bit more context the study finding were broken down into regions with the Americas and Europe being the most technologically advanced.

In order to provide seamless solutions to further empower the ‘competent workforce’ across complex projects then companies will be forced to look for technological solutions to provide leadership. In addition to the macro-economic pressures on the industry currently, skills shortages will add another dimension of difficulty when it comes to managing projects and recruiting the right workforce.

Those companies that have already employed and integrated smart technology will continue to employ seamless systems that help them not only manage competencies, but all facets for site management. The market is growing so penetration of such systems is likely to continue, particularly among the bigger players in the industry. This means key activities and touch points within the workforce will be recorded against an individual’s records from the outset. These include documentation to prove the following:

Competent worker in the construction industry

  1. Has the worker correct basic qualifications to enter work site?
  2. Have the correct qualifications for the tasks been gained?
  3. Is the worker Fit for Work?
  4. Have they been comprehensively inducted?
  5. Do they receive regular updates and safety briefings?
  6. Have they been regularly assessed on skill sets?
  7. Do they successfully follow a skills improvement program?
  8. Are they regularly assessed on knowledge?

To conclude, help is at hand for the majority of the industry to start to make headway. The technology laggards within the sector will be pleased to hear that user friendly solutions do come in the form of cloud based, smart card operated ‘Competency Management Systems’. Vetting of qualifications can be undertaken at a pre, during and post induction stage. This dovetails into password protected Occupational Health information where medical parts of employee records must be isolated and access restricted to certain key project personnel. To build on knowledge and skills gained this in turn can be linked into an all-encompassing Learning Management System (LMS) that can deliver online training etc.

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

Within the LMS further assessment around the accuracy of employee knowledge can be gained via a product like Mosaic Perception. They identify risk that can be prevalent through misplaced confidence, lack of skills or simply bad practice. The customisable online assessments, consultancy services and workforce risk solution, enable our clients to identify, manage and mitigate this risk.

Site access is covered via a simple smart card entry scanner allowing for a record of each employee’s time and attendance to be captured during the duration of

a project. This can help alleviate issues around workers in critical safety roles and fatigue management, as alerts can be issued to prevent double shifting and the such like. In addition, the all-important safety and toolbox talk briefings that workers now even expect can all be recorded at the point of delivery. Throw in the opportunity to manage stock and plant equipment and even the issuing of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) make for a powerful site management tool.

With such systems Health and Safety remains a high priority as the smart card promotes best practice rituals to both supervisors and the workforce. In turn this will empower workers further and free up supervisor time as all activities can be recorded on a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or mobile device. From a management perspective all activity is turned into numerical reporting with alerts set when parameters are breached. All data collected can then be transported to the next and project and or partnership arrangement. The age of the consistently competent workforce is truly upon us!

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snip_20161010124456 about usTo read further about Mosaic’s family of products then please follow the link

technology adoption in the construction industry

Construction industry not taking advantage of technology, says KPMG survey

One smart card to manage all site worker competencies
One smart card to manage all site worker competencies and more

Fewer than one in ten construction companies are at the sharp end of technology and most just follow on behind, trying to keep up. That’s the conclusion of a report from management consultant KPMG International, which finds the construction industry is struggling to employ the full benefits of technologies like advanced data and analytics, mobile telephony, automation and robotics

KPMG conducted a survey of more than 200 senior construction executives for its report, Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016.

Who took part:

— 218 senior executives: 119 from major project owners, and 99 from a range of engineering and construction companies

— Participating organizations included both private (listed) companies and government agencies

— Respondents’ companies’ turnover ranged from less than US$1 billion to more than US$20 billion

— Owner entities came from many industries including energy and natural resources, technology and healthcare

Only 8% of the construction companies could rank as ‘cutting edge technology visionaries’; 64% of contractors and 73% of project owners rank as ‘industry followers’ or ‘behind the curve’ when it comes to technology.

Richard Threlfall, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said: “The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most businesses content to follow, rather than lead,” said. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all.”

Two-thirds of the global survey respondents believe project risks are increasing, yet fewer than 20% of respondents said they are ‘aggressively disrupting their business models’.

construction companies adopting technology
construction companies adopting technology take-up %

“Projects around the world are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex, and with complexity comes risk,” said Mr Threlfall. “Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualisation have enormous potential to speed up project delivery, reduce costs and improve safety.”

According to the KPMG, engineering and construction firms, and project owners, are not exploiting available data to its full potential. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed do not use advanced data analytics for project-related estimation and performance monitoring. Moreover, only a quarter of respondents said that they were able to ‘push one button’ to get all their project information. Even fewer claim to have a single, integrated project management information system across the enterprise.

“Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most. That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness,” said Mr Threlfall.

Mobile telephony is another technology with potential to analyse and track performance for construction projects. Most survey respondents were using remote monitoring for projects sites, but fewer than 30% said they routinely made use of mobile devices on all their projects, while a similar proportion do not use mobile platforms at all.

Similarly, only a third said they were using robotics and automation.

Richard Threlfall concluded: “Harnessing the true potential of technology requires construction companies and project owners to get clearer about their technology vision and strategy. The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demands both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”

When we look at the results from a regional perspective Europe is leading the way when it comes to adopting (37%) new technologies into their construction processes. However, it must be caveated by the fact that Americas companies are slightly more visionary (10% compared to 7% in Europe).

global view by region of construction companies adopting new technolog
global view by region of construction companies adopting new technology %

Mosaic Management Systems provides health and safety site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks. Please follow the link to find out more about us and how we can assist your business in adopting new working practices.

Source: Construction News

For a full download of the report follow the link

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drug and alcohol testing in the construction industry

Alcohol and drugs in UK construction industry placed under spotlight

Alcohol and drugs in UK construction industry have been placed under the spotlight by the Considerate Constructors Scheme after a survey has revealed that two in three (59%) people working in the industry have concerns over the effects of drugs and alcohol on the industry.

A recent survey of over 1300 people working across the industry discovered that almost two thirds (59%) or respondents have concerns over the effects of drugs and alcohol in construction, yet a similar amount (65%) have never been tested for drugs and alcohol.

The survey, which was conducted by the Considerate Constructors Scheme in May 2016 also revealed that:

  • Two in five people (39%) admitted the issue of drugs or alcohol could be better tackled in their workplace
  • A third (35%) have noticed their colleagues under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • One in four (25%) agreed drugs or alcohol affected them at work through tiredness
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) agreed it affected them through decreased attention during work
  • One in five (19%) agreed the effects made them less productive at work.

There is clearly some work to be done based on these findings. Many contractors, suppliers and clients of the industry undertake rigorous and regular measures to tackle this issue including zero tolerance to drugs and alcohol, random testing, providing information on drugs and alcohol through toolbox talks, site inductions and resources such as on-site posters.

Mosaic 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

Source: SHP online

tool box talks

Importance of toolbox talks – a common feature within effective site management techniques

A toolbox talk is a very short informal safety talk and all about sharing best practice. Normally delivered on-site (not in a training room) and on a specific subject matter. It is a focused and to the point presentation with a specific safety message. The overall objective is to raise awareness of a particular aspect of the work. Effective training should be delivered on a continual basis and is essential for the reduction of accident/incident rates and the occurrence of ill-health and environmental damage on projects. Attendance should be recorded to ensure the message is received and understood allowing for subject matter issues to be monitored thereafter.

To ensure effective toolbox talks, you will need to ensure that all workers participate and are engaged in the toolbox talk.  Knowing and understanding the material delivered is really important too, thus ensuring good delivery.

Key points to remember while delivering toolbox talks to the workforce:

1). Relate information directly towards field activities.

2). Ensure your message is clear and understood.

3). Provide questions and answers sessions at the end.

4). Encourage group interaction but keep them on track.

5). Take your time. Do not rush a toolbox talk.

6). Always identify who their immediate supervisors are and explain that all issues should go through their supervisors first and foremost before being taken to others.

Toolbox talks can be time consuming as just gathering the workforce round to listen someone before the start of day’s work can affect productivity. Hence the aim is to be informal and supervisors can get certain members of the workforce to gather around during their rounds. This also allows for tailored messages to different trade to be delivered.

For staff based in the site office, briefings can also be issued through Mosaic. The system will be automatically updated as soon as the attachment is opened. In relation to field based operatives, Mosaic allows briefings / toolbox talks prior to coming on site on their mobile devices via email. Once the briefing is delivered, attendance is recorded by scanning their Smart Card on a mobile device

In a recent HSE report entitled ‘The effectiveness of HSE’s regulatory approach: The construction example – 2016 (RR1082)’ a detailed omnibus survey was conducted amongst 5000 plus site workers, who  were asked a number of questions about their accident and ill health experiences. In order to probe a bit more on certain questions a booster survey of 500 construction workers was then undertaken in 2010. From a list of mechanisms around management and worker involvement suggested to respondents of which one or more might be present on site, response levels across the period were of the order of:

  1. Regular safety briefings / toolbox talks – 95%  
  2. A near miss reporting system – 86%  
  3. An employee H&S suggestion scheme – 51%  
  4. Workforce safety representatives – 49%
  5. non trades union, 8% TU  
  6. Safety committee – 33%  
  7. Incentive / reward scheme – 12%
access of fake CSCS cards
Unique smart cards and PDA’s or mobile phones can now record the toolbox talk event

The results above reflect how prevalent and important toolbox talks are to the safe running of construction sites in the modern era, with the vast majority of workers now expecting them to be undertaken to maintain high health and safety standards.

Mosaic has developed a sophisticated mobile feature that can capture daily briefings, toolbox talks, safety alerts and other site critical information and store it on-line. Both on-site members of the workforce and office staff can easily be catered for. Once the briefing is delivered, attendance is recorded by scanning their Smart Card on a mobile device which can then be viewed by management as a report at a later date.

Click here to read more about our toolbox talks product

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virtual reality and health and safety in the construction industry

Virtual reality looking to improve health and safety in the construction sector

While architectural practices and design companies continue to explore the possibilities of virtual reality being incorporated into their design process, the construction and safety sectors might soon also be about to also embrace the area with a number of new products being developed.

At the CIOB and BRE industry event called ‘Accelerate to Innovate’ a number of the innovative ideas involving the use of Virtual Reality and construction were applauded by the judges. The event held showcased two products using this technology that will be able to help improve safety on construction sites as well as possibly help in the training of high risk situations.

The first product allows wearers to conduct “real” physical tasks while fully immersed in virtual environments. It is based on relatively affordable hardware. The second product provides trainees and workers with “real-life” scenarios on high-risk jobs, as a more effective way of preparing them for work on site. Scenarios could be created to suit any situation the client wants e.g. testing the knowledge of the ‘slingers and signallers’, the role responsible for hooking up crane loads and communicating with the driver to move it safely.

These products potentially gives us a glimpse into the future of construction. It aims to improve on-site health and safety behaviour by delivering a virtual site experience based on actual project models using a headset and video game technology. Activities can be benchmarked and situations adapted to individual needs. By putting the “wearer” into the actual experience of witnessing potential site accidents, it is hoped that this will change behaviour compared to traditional training.

Mosaic Management Systems provides health and safety compliant site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks.

Source: CIOB

To find out more about our range of products please click here

Paddington underground station - Costain Skanska JV

Costain Skanska JV wins £40m Paddington underground link contract – Mosaic goes along for the ride!

Costain, the engineering solutions provider, in joint venture (JV) with Skanska UK, has won the contract to create an underground link between Paddington Station’s Crossrail and Bakerloo Line platforms for London Underground Limited (LUL). The contract is worth approximately £20m to the Costain Group.

The 125m-long tunnelled link will also incorporate two escalators and a lift and will alleviate congestion, whilst minimising the interchange time between Crossrail and Bakerloo Line.

The link is scheduled to be handed over in August 2018, and final completion in December 2018. A spokeswoman for Network Rail said the work will “significantly improve the station’s facilities and provide passengers with a better travelling experience”.

Costain and Skanska have utilised Mosaics core competency management systems once again on this project. Centrally controlled inductions where contractors book themselves onto the course is something in the offing for this innovative project. John Micciche MD of Mosaic “We are always happy to listen to the client’s desired specification and deliver bespoke solutions where possible.”

Card security and onsite access to construction site

10 survey facts about onsite card checking and fraud

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) joined forces with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to conduct an industry-wide survey aimed at assessing card scheme fraud and card checking procedures on UK construction sites in 2015. The use of fake cards in the construction industry had been brought  to our attention through the press by the National Crime Agency’s prosecution of an organised gang dealing in false identity documentation, which included a number of construction industry certification cards. 

All workers on construction sites must hold the correct qualifications and training for the type of work they carry out. Increasingly so employers need to be confident that if they are shown a card it is legitimate and that the person showing it has the appropriate qualifications to be carrying out their job onsite. 1180 construction workers nationally were survey online about card checking methods and the prevalence of fake cards – the results were certainly interesting. Here is a precise of the results:

  1. 82% (4 out of 5 workers) hold a skill certification card
  2. The vast majority of those (92%) are Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), while a further 20% hold the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) as well.
  3. 44% (nearly one in two workers) said their cards were only checked the first time they went on site, while 19% said they were checked occasionally and 14% never.
  4. Only one on five workers (21%) face regular checks while on site.
  5. When cards were checked on site, for the most part it is to see the card has the right name and was in date. Only half of respondents stated that the card was checked to see if it was the right card and that the worker had the correct qualifications for the job.
  6. Most enforcers of card checks tend to either just use visual checks (19%), where the information is not recorded, or utilised a paper based system (69%).
  7. 6% use smart technology to ensure the access is valid, with a further 19% checking on an online database.
  8. A third of all the respondents were actualy responsible for checking cards, with 18% of this group saying they had come across fake cards. Both unskilled workers (10%) and skilled workers (10%) are the two main skill levels which construction workers have seen on fake cards.
  9. Most of these cards were detected due to the poor quality of reproduction or that the photo did not match up with the owner of the card at the time (51% and 49% respectively). 51% did not register online when checked, with a further 4% not showing up on the smart technology employed on site.
  10. Workers are more likely to hold the relevant card within the larger construction organisations, however on site it tends to be non-workers and visitors that are a group least checked.

CSCS Chief Executive Graham Wren said: “Unless people use consistent and accurate methods of checking cards to certificate workers’ training and qualifications, the schemes cannot fulfil the roles they were designed for.  The smart technology within CSCS cards is a simple and cost-effective way to do this, and we are keen to find out more about how it is being utilised on sites across the UK.”

Mosaic Management Systems is an IT partner with CSCS, and provides health and safety site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks.

To contact us to consult further with one of our representatives about your onsite access and competency management issues click here.

Source: CITB/CSCS – Card Fraud and Onsite Card Checking Survey 2015

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access of fake CSCS cards

CSCS urge employers to check workforce cards the Smart way

Following on from reports in the media last year outlining the dangers of construction card fraud, CSCS is continually trying to urge employers to carry out electronic card checks before allowing workers on site. Checking the card electronically has numerous benefits, but mainly ensures employers are confident that those working on site have the correct training and qualifications for the job.

CSCS Communications and Public Affairs Manager Alan O’Neile said: “CSCS believes that for construction sites to remain safe and productive all workers should have the correct qualifications and training for the type of work they carry out. This was one of CSCS’s primary objectives when introducing the electronic SmartCard in 2010. The CSCS SmartCard provides a simple and cost effective way to tackle fraud and verify that workers hold the correct qualifications and training before allowing them on site.”

A survey conducted in 2015 confirmed many contractors and employers are still failing to take advantage of this technology, with many sites still using inefficient paper based systems or ineffective visual card inspections.

Alan O’Neile continued: “The technology embedded in a CSCS card is free to use and allows a site manager access to a wealth of information about each worker, including their qualifications. By simply placing the card in a reader or onto a compatible device such as a tablet or smartphone you can instantly check the cards validity and the qualifications held by the card holder.”

One contractor recently calculated that card checks using smart technology will save around 500 man working days per year and CSCS is working with several organisations to help them realise the full benefits of the technology. Once they realise the benefits then changing to a smart seems becomes apparent.

As a CSCS IT partner our system and smart card is fully compatible with CSCS’s new technologies. We certainly welcome and advocate a move towards smarter access and checking systems onsite, which in our opinion will ease the burden of site management by storing information centrally. Fake cards would not be omitted onto site with our Tally access system in place.

Mosaic Management Systems provides health and safety site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks.

Source: CSCS Articlesnip_20161010124456 about us

mosaic does health and safety the smart way

Smart rugged phones for smart site management solutions

The ‘rugged’ phone market, primarily targeting tradespeople,  is forecast to account for around 18 million handset sales from a global predicted overall figure of 1.5 billion in 2016. This segment still represents a sizable profit for handset producers and other entrants. To stretch their brand further Caterpillar and DeWalt have their own version on the market, alongside the likes of iPhone who have produced a tough case for trades people in this space.

The BBC recently tested out the 4G-enabled Tuffphone 400, another popular brand, on a building site and found it could receive calls under water after several minutes of being submerged and survive a tumble around in a cement mixer full of sand. After these ordeals it could still make calls and get online after being dropped from scaffolding over 2m high. However they were advised by the retailer that it would not withstand “a direct blow from a hammer”.

Mosaic’s array of site solutions can either work off a PDA or a smart phone provided it is on the Android, iOS or Windows platform. Should your work phone have the facility for ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) or a camera incorporated then it will be able to read our smart card, barcodes and RFID tags used in conjunction with our applications. This means when you are out on site giving a Toolbox Talk simply use your own smart phone – but please make sure it is a rugged one to ensure it survives the rigours of site work!

Mosaic Management Systems provides health and safety compliant site management software that offers you an online and flexible solution to on boarding, competency management, access control, asset management, stock control, fatigue management and toolbox talks.

Source: BBC article

To find out more about our range of products please follow the link

fatigued workers on construction sites

Top tips for managing fatigue within the construction sector

Construction work constantly involves high-risk activities and to work safely, workers need to be physically and mentally alert at all time. Therefore fatigue is a potential risk and one that must be recognised by employers. Both employers and employees have a responsibility to manage fatigue in the workplace.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a state of physical and/or mental exhaustion which reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively. Fatigue considerably reduces alertness and may lead to errors, which in turn could increase the likelihood of workplace incidents and injuries.

There are multitude of things that can impact and cause fatigue, some of them interrelated other not. These include:

  • Work schedules – hours of work, night work and shift work (including breaks between shifts):

Long work hours, irregular work hours, and schedules that require night work can cause fatigue. These types of work patterns can limit the time for a person to physically and mentally recover. Night work can interrupt the natural sleeping rhythm, which in turn can cause fatigue.

  • Sleep disruption:

Everyone needs a certain amount of sleep to maintain alertness and perform to standard. Generally we all need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep a night. The most beneficial sleep is deep, undisturbed and taken in a single continuous period. Should this be disrupted, fatigue may ensue.

  • Environmental conditions:

Climate extremes (such as working outside in winter), noise and handling vibrating tools place demands on workers and increase fatigue.

  • Physical and mental work demands:

Construction work is generally physically demanding which can increase fatigue. Mental demands can also increase fatigue, such as tasks that require long periods of intense concentration.

  • Emotional well-being:

Work events can be emotionally tiring and increase fatigue, such as regular criticism or the pressure to complete a task to a deadline. Non-work events can also cause distress and lead to fatigue – for example: when a person faces the loss of a loved one or tries to resolve personal conflicts.

Employers – responsibilities in managing fatigue

Employers have a duty of care to take all practicable steps to ensure employees are safe at work. Fatigue is more commonplace than you may thing and is certainly a workplace hazard that employers must manage. Various strategies are available for employers to reduce the risks of fatigue. These include:

Work schedules

  • Make sure your employees take regular, quality, rest breaks in their working day .Consider extra rest breaks if the work is demanding.
  • Make sure working hours are not too long. If longer working days are required, consider staggered start and finish times, and/or longer rest breaks and periods off work (and carefully monitor a worker’s ability to cope).
  • Schedule tasks suitably throughout a work period. A person’s ability to be alert or focus attention is not constant throughout the day. For most people, low points occur between 3.00am and 5.00am, and between 3.00pm and 5.00pm. Avoid giving out safety critical jobs during this period.
  • Negotiate with your employees if overtime is required. Monitor and place limits around overtime worked. Avoid incentives to work excessive hours.
  • Monitor and place limits around shift swapping and on-call duties. Mosaic will be able to help you here with its fatigue management software.


  • Design work schedules well to allow for good sleep opportunity and recovery time between work days.
  • Make sure that schedules are designed to remove any sleep debt. This is due to sleep loss being cumulative.
  • Design rosters that minimise disruptions to natural sleeping rhythms. Avoid work starts before 6.00am where possible. If night work is required, limit the number of night shifts in a row that your employees can work.

Environmental conditions

  • Avoid working during periods of extreme temperature, or minimise exposure through job rotation.
  • Provide adequate facilities for rest breaks.

Physical and mental work demands

  • Limit periods of excessive mental or physical demands (ie through job rotation).
  • Ensure fit for purpose plant, machinery and equipment is used.
  • Make sure workloads are manageable. Take into account work flow changes due to factors such as machinery breakdowns, unplanned absences or resignations. Avoid impractical deadlines.

Emotional well-being

  • Where possible, be aware of personal circumstances that affect your employees and provide support.
  • Create a positive work environment where good relationships exist and workers are encouraged and supported.

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.

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

snip_20161010124456 about usSource: Worksafe NZ