Can management software help with risk assessments for construction companies?

By Georgia Galloway | 10 May, 2022 | 4 minute read

There's a lot of software available that can help with risk assessments for construction companies.

Some of this software is designed specifically for the construction industry, while other programs are more general purpose.

So when choosing software to help with risk assessments, it's essential to consider what features are most important for your company.

Two construction contractors check the straightness of a new wooden staircase on site with vertical spirit level. Some things to look for include the ability to create custom risk assessments, the ability to track and manage health and safety hazards and keep track of documents. When it comes to health and safety software, you want to be sure that you're getting a product that will fit the specific needs of your business.

When working for a large UK house builder, it's vital to make every effort to keep everybody on the construction site safe to protect both the workers and the developer.

What can go wrong on a construction site without a proper risk assessment?

If a construction site risk assessment is not followed correctly, the workers on-site are at an increased risk for injury. Accidents and injuries can occur when proper control measures are not taken, leading to costly worker's compensation claims, time off from work, severe injury and even death.

By not following a risk assessment, construction companies put their workers in danger and set themselves up for potential legal and financial problems.

Some of the potential hazards that could occur on a construction site without a proper risk assessment include:

  • Construction workers at height could fall and be seriously injured or killed
  • Heavy machinery could injure or kill people if they are not used properly
  • Chemicals could cause respiratory problems, skin irritation or cancer
  • Noise could lead to hearing loss
  • Vibration from using hand-held power tools could cause white finger disease
  • Collapsing structures on construction sites could kill or injure people

How can construction management software help?

Staying on top of health and safety management in the construction industry has always been challenging. Previously, paper-based procedures were used to control construction site safety, and whoever was tasked with managing the health and safety wasn't envied and generally considered a jobs-worth.

A lack of respect for safety caused a 'them and us' dynamic between management and subcontractors. Thankfully times have changed, and it's not just the attitude towards site safety but also technology that has helped managers transition from endlessly writing reports to the more positive 'doing bit' of health and safety.

Several different types of construction site safety software have been developed over the last decade to make the lives of site managers, contractors and the wider workforce easier and safer.

Many of the processes involved in maintaining safety on a building site can be automated using construction site safety software. This includes conducting safety audits and keeping track of training records and health and safety documents.

Speaking from experience, Ryan Jones of LJ Construction says, "With our rapid expansion in the last few years, health and safety has always remained a core focus, as it should be for any business, particularly in the construction industry. We always had an H&S Policy, Risk Assessments, Method Statements, and Tool Box Talks, but we struggled to maintain track of our records since much of the material was lost in contract managers' vans or just simply disappeared on site.

"Switching from paper to effective management software simplified several areas of H&S in our company and completely eliminated this issue. We stopped looking for various missing documents or racing to tell subcontractors about new hazards on their sites, and we now had an audit trail of "who knew what."

Ryan continues to say, "All of these common problems were solved by the software we implemented. Our construction management software now allows us to notify our employees about hazards via SMS (Text messaging) and upload documentation to a centralised management system that enables us to report on who has read and understood every piece of documentation we send out. All in all, it seamlessly connects our workers on site to the office."

Working on a housing construction site comes with significant risks and many hazards present. The safety manager of a contracting company must regularly monitor the work site for potential hazards and verify that all necessary precautions are followed. The safety manager is in charge of investigating an incident or accident and taking the required precautions to prevent future H&S issues.

Construction sites constantly change, making it challenging to keep subcontractors informed of new health and safety dangers. There are various free or low-cost apps and services available to help with this.

How do I find a management software for my business?

Suppose you are looking for a software that will assist you with various health and safety requirements, including your risk assessment process and inspection reports. In that case, there are now many solutions available to assist you in managing workplace health and safety.

However, many of these systems are developed for major UK housing industry players, such as Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey, leaving smaller subcontractors in the dark.

Stephen Clark, a software specialist at Site Manager Pro, a leading health and safety application, continues, "Because most software companies aren't trade contractors, they don't design software that is appropriate for contractors and subcontractors. Working on a building site is a unique experience for a software developer. You've got a host of issues, ranging from continuously shifting deadlines to quality control to health and safety - to mention a few.

Clark continues, "Safety software may be a valuable tool for controlling risks and hazards on a site, but it's crucial to ensure your team knows how to implement it correctly. Health and safety monitoring becomes more difficult when the general people also inhabit those sites during phased development. My recommendation is to investigate what your rivals are currently doing and find applications targeted to your company's size and needs."

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