How Can Technology Improve Reporting Safety and Accidents on Construction Projects?

Today, most construction contract agreements and country regulations, have a legal requirement to injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences that might occur on the construction site. Those regulations require the responsible project party to notify and keep records of specified workplace incidents. This includes certain workplace accidents, occupational diseases and certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ (including near miss accidents).

The responsible party must maintain accurate records of any safety incidents. The records must include details regarding the incident or disease, personal details of the individual(s) involved, time and place of the event and the date and method of reporting.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb which comes ready with the Safety Incident module, all those reporting requirements can be fulfilled. Starting with capturing the general particulars of the safety incident like project name, phase, WBS level, record ID, description, submitted by, incident date and time, report date and time, company, incident type, incident category and weather conditions. In case there a need to add more attributes to the safety incident, then user defined fields can be created with the option of having predefined list of values to select from.

Nevertheless, what is more important to report is the detail the Describe the “Work Activity in Progress at the Time of the Accident” and “Describe the Incident”. In addition, the form provides sections to capture the details of the “People Involved”, “Causes” and “Witnesses”. Much of those details will be available in a predefined list of values to ease and expedite the completion of the form correctly.

Since most organization would either have their corporate or project Health, Safety and Environment manual as well as Safety Manuals provided by the local authorities, PMWeb has a feature to capture all these clauses and make them available to be dragged and dropped on the reported safety incident that has relevance to those clauses.

Similar to other PMWeb modules, text notes be added to the reported safety incident. All those notes will be time and date stamped along with the name who have issued the text note. Those notes could be added by the different project team members who are involved in reviewing and approving safety incidents that could occur on the project site.

PMWeb attachment option when PMWeb is assessed from a mobile device that has a camera like iPad allows the safety officer to capture, upload, store and attach pictures and videos that are relevant to the reported safety incident. This provides the organization with complete and comprehensive documentation of the safety incident. In addition, the attachment tab allows linking other PMWeb records that could be relevant to the safety incident. Those could be for example the safety meeting, hot permit, site permit among others. Of course, documents such as the police, hospital, civil defense and other relevant documents can be uploaded the document management repository and attached to the safety incident report.

The PMWeb workflow module will enable the organization to formally share the safety incident with all project stakeholders that need to be made aware of safety incidents that could occur on a project site. The PMWeb workflow allows to map those steps in the desired sequence as well as impose conditions and workflow branches depending on the type of accident and its degree of severity. For example, the workflow could include the project manager, project owner, head office HSE manager, insurance officer among others.

Since safety incidents is considered as one of the formal project communications and there could be a need to formally share the details with entities that are not part of the project, there will be a need to print the safety incident in the format required by the project management team. Using PMWeb report writer, the form and layout of the safety incident can be designed in the desired format.

The log and register of reported safety incidents can be also designed in the desired format. The organization can develop different logs to provide real-time reporting of all safety incidents. The report can be designed to group data in the desired format as well as show the needed details and ordering the captured data in the desired preference. The reported safety incidents can be filtered to display the data for a specific project, type of accident, severity among others.

Of course, for an organization who is serious about enforcing project safety management best practices, safety incident is only one of the processes that must be adopted on each project site. Safety management requires implementing other processes including safety meetings, hot work permits, job safety analysis, material exit and material entry passes, safety checklists among others. Some of the processes like safety meetings are available as PMWeb default module while the PMWeb custom form builder will be used for the other forms that are not readily available in PMWeb.

The great benefit of capturing safety incidents and other related HSE processes across the organization’s projects portfolio is the trust-worthy real-time data that will become available for the organization to monitor, evaluate and report on the HSE performance for a single project or across selected projects or the complete projects portfolio. The real-time information will provide the organization with the insight to make better and faster decision as it relate to HSE.