managing construction site safety during the covid-19 pandemic - case study analysis

Site Safety During The COVID-19 Pandemic

We interviewed Sheila Sadler, the First Aid Coordinator at Viaduct Sheet Metal Ltd., to understand how they have adapted their safety program using SalusPro to navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Viaduct is recognized as the leading provider of ventilation systems for commercial, institutional and high-rise residential projects at the right price and a quality that the customer expects and deserves.

Viaduct projects an image of professionalism and order from the first contact through to the project completion. Prospects and clients will encounter a team atmosphere from all members of the staff, and an attitude of genuine caring and interest in their needs, concerns and dreams for their projects.

 

 

Q: How were day-to-day operations at Viaduct affected by the government imposed lockdown in response to COVID-19?

We’ve been fortunate in our Province (British Columbia), because our infection numbers were relatively low when compared to other regions in Canada. The moment the government announced the lockdown and deemed construction an essential service, our team immediately began adapting our operational and safety plans to align with the new policies quickly being introduced.

Ensuring the safety of our field workers is job number one, and not having direct control over the site environments was especially stressful. That’s where the SalusPro platform came into play.

The great part about working with Salus’ Customer Success team is that when we have requirements for new digital forms, it’s very simple to have them created and quickly accessible digitally on the platform and through the mobile app. I email our Account Manager the forms we need, which are then digitized, uploaded and live within the day.

Workers were given immediate access and management was able to track everything in real-time.We’ve been fortunate in our Province (British Columbia), because our infection numbers were relatively low when compared to other regions in Canada. The moment the government announced the lockdown and deemed construction an essential service, our team immediately began adapting our operational and safety plans to align with the new policies quickly being introduced.

Ensuring the safety of our field workers is job number one, and not having direct control over the site environments was especially stressful. That’s where the SalusPro platform came into play.

The great part about working with Salus’ Customer Success team is that when we have requirements for new digital forms, it’s very simple to have them created and quickly accessible digitally on the platform and through the mobile app. I email our Account Manager the forms we need, which are then digitized, uploaded and live within the day.

Workers were given immediate access and management was able to track everything in real-time.

 

“Ensuring the safety of our field workers is job number one”

 

Q: How would this same scenario have played out for Viaduct if the business hadn’t made the shift from paper to a digital safety platform?

It would’ve been chaotic. We have 50 workers who would have been submitting 50 pieces of paper daily and all of those hands passing around physical documents. We would have to then manage employees who indicate on their form that they are symptomatic and remove them from the job site immediately.

The only way to monitor that would be to have someone reviewing those forms right away and which were potentially just submitted by someone who is sick.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that. Today, the workers’ daily COVID-19 paperwork is emailed immediately to the Safety Officers and can be filled out before they’ve even arrived at a site – sent digitally, straight from their phones. With SalusPro, everything is streamlined, accessible and contactless.

It’s also been great for toolbox talks. We store them digitally in the app, and everyone can sign-off from their phones.

 
Q: Has there been demand from Viaduct’s Leadership for increased visibility into safety operations amidst the crisis?

In the beginning, for sure – but, once we settled in and they realized that our team had a very good handle on what was required and that we had the means to execute our new policies quickly and effectively, their direct involvement started to level-off.

Luckily, we have great bosses who genuinely believe in safety. I submit my recommendations, and they enable me to take the necessary actions and to acquire the tools needed to keep everyone working safely.

 

Q: How has the safety landscape and culture changed at Viaduct in our “new normal”?

Right now, we have about 3x the amount of forms being collected than we had prior to the Pandemic – which thankfully are all coming in digitally, but the increased demands on our workers around compliance has been significant, regardless of the medium.

We’ve actually started incentivizing our workers as a means of keeping them engaged in our safety program, which has been very effective in terms of adoption of new policies and behaviours, including getting accustomed to doing things digitally using the SalusPro mobile app.

Anyone who completes all their paperwork for the month goes into a draw and we give away a gift certificate. There aren’t many workers left out of the draw at month-end since I can see in real-time on my dashboard in SalusPro if a worker hasn’t submitted their forms. I just shoot them a message through the app to ask for it, and they submit.

Now that we’re not having to store any paperwork or dig through stacks of documents to find something specific, it truly saves me a ton of time.

The platform also keeps all of our documents in the cloud for as long as we need them, so storage is a non-issue.

It’s just so much better than it ever was.

 

“Luckily, we have great bosses who genuinely believe in safety”

 

Q: What were some of the challenges that you faced implementing your digital safety platform?

The cost of implementing a digital safety platform was the initial challenge. Some of the platforms are very expensive. Once we saw how SalusPro worked and realized how useful the platform was going to be, management’s decision to invest in a full shift from paper to digital with Salus came pretty easily.

Once we got started, it only took about two weeks to roll out the platform. With the support of the Salus Customer Success team, it was way faster than we imagined and very straightforward. Their team helped us create and digitize our forms while I created employee profiles and uploaded certificates to their digital wallet, and the rest fell into place quickly.

The next challenge was convincing the old-school workers that going digital was the path forward. The knee-jerk reaction of being resistant to change from the older generation in our workforce is a challenge, but the platform is very intuitive and everyone in the younger generation got it immediately, so it didn’t take long before they all got on board.

Every single worker has settled into it now and appreciates the platform – even the most ardent of our resistors. It’s quick and easy to fill out forms and they can submit it digitally right away, which means they have to deal with a safety office less often, which they see as being a “win” [laughs]!

 

Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Before, where a worker might have phoned me to ask for a copy of a ticket they’d lost – for a forklift, for example – now, we can go into each workers’ digital wallet and see all of their tickets. Even better, we can track when they’ll expire and set notifications that pop up in my dashboard in advance. It’s cool.

 

“Once we got started, it only took about two weeks to roll out thE platform”

 

To learn more about Viaduct Sheet Metal Ltd., visit their website:viaductsheetmetal.ca

 

About Salus

Salus is a digital safety solutions provider for the North American construction industry. Founded by the former head of a high-rise window installation company, Salus has incorporated real-world site level safety experience into the design of its flagship platform, SalusPro – a web-based solution for the business level and mobile app for the field.

With workflows that mirror how safety programs operate in the construction industry today and with the ability to manage subcontractors, assets, incidents and compliance, Salus is at the forefront of innovation for cloud-based safety.

Click here to learn more about SalusPro safety software or request a demo below.

 

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