Taking an integrated approach to site safety helps workers and managers achieve their goals, says Gary Escott, Director of OnGrade.
There are many aspects to site safety, starting with induction and training, through PPE and plant-personnel segregation, to monitoring for continual improvement.
Every company has its own way of doing things, and some are more rigorous than others. The latest technology can go a long way to helping managers, supervisors and site staff to achieve safety goals and, in doing so, making sure everyone gets home safely.
Induction and training is a key pillar to any site safety programme, and from our experience it helps to have simple, memorable messages and even incentives to remind people about safe working practices.
Some of our clients even have score boards with league tables, comparing sites to encourage a sense of competition. The more memorable a training session, the more likely it is that people will act on what they have been instructed to do.
Logging near misses as well as incidents is very important, and sometimes staff as well as supervisors can shy away from reporting because they fear reprisals. Creating a culture that is supportive and positive about site safety is therefore critical – managers need everyone on side, and that means honesty in reporting near misses.
Using RFID proximity warning systems is a good start for ensuring your workforce is kept safe. Alerting drivers and pedestrians to each others’ presence can not only save lives, but importantly lets people know when their behaviour has resulted in a near miss.
With the latest technology, this information can now be fed to management information systems so that those with ultimate responsibility for health and safety can understand when and where near misses are occurring, and target those individuals who are putting themselves (or others) at risk.
Data logging is also valuable for tracking continual improvement against health and safety performance indicators, and for comparing sites to identify and share good practice.
Finally, having the ability to record near misses, and in the worst case – incidents, is critical. Cameras built into machinery can be helpful, but they can result in the driver watching the camera instead of keeping his eyes on the job. A hazard alert camera is of more value, since it is only activated when a pedestrian enters the danger zone of a vehicle.
By recording footage, managers and site staff can replay the incident and establish exactly what the cause was, and how it can be avoided in future. Recorded footage can also be valuable evidence should an incident end up in court.
Safety managers have a lot of choice when it comes to the technologies they use to support their goals. By making sure the technology is not only up to the job, but is going ‘above and beyond’ to keep workers safe, managers can be confident that they are doing everything reasonably within their control to encourage and support safe working practices.
OnGrade supplies the SiteZone proximity warning system along with OverSite, a telemetry data logging program, and HAL CAM, the ‘smart’ hazard alert camera. By using these three tools in combination, along with the memorable training slogan ‘Don’t Burst the Bubble’, workers learn to stay safe and managers can monitor progress. All equipment from OnGrade is also available to hire from ESS SafeForce, making it one of the most affordable and effective ways to deliver site safety.