• The Future of Safety in Construction

    October 4, 2018

    The Future of Safety in Construction

    Safety is crucial in construction. For the overwhelming majority of SCA member companies, it is a top priority through every phase of work. The evolution of workplace safety culture and practice over the last decade has been fascinating to watch, and I am equally fascinated by what the next decade might bring. That’s why I’ve invited Ryan Quiring – CEO of SafetyTek – an SCA partner firm, to share some of his thoughts on the future of safety in construction.

    However, before I turn the blog over to Ryan, I want to address why we chose to partner with SafetyTek. As you may know, the SCA runs the Advantage Construction Savings Program (ACSP). The ACSP offers SCA members exclusive access to service discounts that are not available anywhere else. Our ACSP partners have been selected because they (1) offer something that our members want and (2) are prepared to do so in a unique bundling of services. Find out more about how ACSP partners can help your business by checking the website.

    So, why SafetyTek? I often hear from members that while they highly prioritize safety, they are frustrated by the administrative and regulatory burden that accompanies it. Administration eats time and productivity and the paperwork doesn’t directly contribute to making a safer workplace. That’s where SafetyTek comes in. They offer a digital solution that really works. Not only that, but it is a Made-in-Saskatchewan success story, and it is tailored specifically to the construction industry. It is exactly the type of thing that our members are looking for, and through our ACSP partnership you can get access at pricing that no one else can. I certainly think it’s worth exploring.

    With that in mind, I asked Ryan a while ago what he saw for the future of safety, specifically when it comes to construction in Saskatchewan. Here are his thoughts:

    Ryan Quiring, CEO, SafetyTek

    I was sipping coffee when Mark asked for my thoughts on the future of safety in construction. I considered the question and decided to first establish a starting point to define where we are with safety today. And the unfortunate truth is that safety is often viewed as a necessary evil at the moment.

    Many companies are aware that they need to perform safety but struggle to prioritize it or else rank it among the least favourite jobs of the day. Many other companies lack the necessary skills to implement safety in a meaningful way. Of course, everyone means well and has the best intentions, but this all adds up to unsafe work environments.

    So how can we implement genuine and practical change without introducing administrative hassle and ‘make work’ projects that employers need to perform in order to be viewed as “safer.” 

    This is one of the problems that Craig and I set out to solve with SafetyTek. One of the biggest hurdles for safety is all of the stuff that is required: contractor registries, documentation requirements, COR certification, and auditing. No wonder business owners have had enough of safety. They already spend way too much time trying not to drown keeping up with it all. 

    SafetyTek is a workplace safety enforcement platform, built to enable construction companies to implement safety without creating more work. We can model your organization operationally and track your form templates automatically so that you can remove about 80% of the time spent on safety management. That’s just the core feature set.

    We are now implementing Spence.AI which is an artificial intelligence safety assistant which will take your safety implementation and automate it completely. By accepting commands over text, you can send a text to Spence and have him perform tasks like setting up a new user, adding that user to a crew, or moving a crew to a new project or site. He can even create an action item for you over text so that you can document it immediately rather than waiting to recall it later. It’s like having your own personal assistant running your SafetyTek portal for you.

    Not only that, but Spence will soon be modelling your workers past behaviour, predicting what should happen in the future in order to setup rules. Then, if a rule is broken, Spence will take action immediately by texting the field worker to make sure they stay compliant. That’s really cool in my opinion.

    We’ve completed a couple of studies and we found that within a workforce of 15 people, an owner can spend up to 15 hours per week just performing that task alone. 15 hours! There should be no reason for this. With Spence’s small “nudges” that time will be better spent on operating and growing your business.

    Something else we plan on doing with Spence is modelling out what an incident looks like so that we will be able to predict when an incident may occur in the future. We currently have hundreds of thousands of form submissions in our database right now and we believe using key leading indicators, such as, weather, overdue action items, expired training certificates, and safety engagement, we will be able to effectively give companies a probability of an accident happening today with recommended actions to take in order to reduce this probability.

    This is technology that we really want to expand on going forward.

    We are also implementing gamification. This is in the early stages but it should be released later this year. Engaging your workforce to participate in scavenger hunts, first past the line, or streaks will enable a company owner to invest a little bit of cash into an incentive to increase engagement in the safety program. What this ultimately does, if implemented correctly, is create some virility throughout your workforce. It will lead to the retention of top talent and the attraction of excellent employees to your company, which will allow the company to perform more work on larger and larger projects.

    The biggest take away for me is that we are putting an entirely new spin on the views of safety in construction. Getting away from the bad taste that contractor registries leave in a contractor’s mouth. Paying for something that provides little to no value is exactly what’s wrong with safety today and it does not promote proper implementation of actual safety. We can solve the contractor management problem and provide value to construction companies of all sizes. This is what I see for the future of safety in construction.

    Mark Cooper, President & CEO, SCA & Ryan Quiring, CEO, SafetyTek.