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Best In Class How to... Training

10 Topics to Cover When Training New Construction Workers

Prior to 2017, New York City was suffering through what some experts called “an epidemic of construction fatalities”. The city was experiencing a building boom. But construction workers in America’s largest city weren’t being properly trained and they were being injured and killed on the job in record numbers. In 2017 alone there were 12 fatalities on NYC construction sites. The vast majority due to falls. A staggering number jolted the city into action.

Later that year, New York City passed a new law (Local Law 196) that mandated a set number of safety training hours for EVERY person working on a construction site. The total number of required hours ranges from 30 for low-level trades workers to 60 for supervisors. There are several approved courses that workers are obligated to complete from a general OSHA 10 certificate to more in-depth fall protection training.

The motivation behind passing this law stems from the fact that properly trained workers are less likely to get injured or killed on the job and the statistics are proving that to be true. A study conducted on the impacts of Local Law 196 reports that injuries in 2018 were lower than those in 2017 and lower again in 2019, in relation to the increase in the number of active construction projects.

Lack of training isn’t just a problem in New York. All across America, young construction workers are being injured and dying on the job.

As CEO of Harness Software, I’ve seen first hand what top trade contractors across North America do to provide their workers with the training necessary to stay safe and be productive. We’ve provided our clients with effective tools to deliver the right training but more important than any training tool is the training content. And that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.

What to Include in a Construction Worker Orientation

The most important measure you can take to prevent workplace injuries is a detailed new hire orientation for each worker. The OSHA Alliance Program explains that a proper orientation should cover at a minimum:

1. Overview of Management Commitment to Safety and Employer/Employee Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Explain management’s commitment to safety and health and safety and health written policies
  • Describe the employer’s responsibilities (e.g., General Duty Clause of the OSH Act)
  • Explain the employee responsibilities/rights, the scope of work, and job expectations

2. Explanation and Review of the Company’s Safety and Health Program/Policies including:

  • Review the hazard communication program, including how to find Safety Data Sheets
  • Review the incident reporting and investigations program
  • Identify the company’s competent persons, when required, and their specific roles
  • Review the employee accountability policy
  • Review the drug and alcohol policy
  • Review the discrimination and anti-harassment policy
  • Review the workplace violence prevention policy
  • Review the property damage policy
  • Explain how employees can provide feedback to the company

3. Overview of Applicable Safety and Health Regulatory Requirements, including Employee Workplace Rights:

  • Provide an overview of OSHA requirements/right to file a complaint
  • Explain that employees have a right to a safe and healthful workplace, and to how to report unsafe workplace conditions (e.g., proper chain of command/protocol) and include a statement that there will be no retaliation for reporting them
  • Review applicable state, regional, and local municipality requirements, ordinances, codes, etc., pertaining to safety and health, as necessary by local management and/or the joint employer and worker safety and health committee (if applicable)

4. Explanation of Site-Specific Information:

  • Explain the identified safety and health hazards present, or anticipated hazards on the site (e.g. falls, electrical, confined space, hazardous materials)
  • Explain the unique hazards or special challenges specific to the employee’s specific job, or scope of work

5. Overview of Hazard Identification, Assessment, and Correction:

  • Review how to identify and correct hazards, including when employees have the training, knowledge, and skills to do so
  • Review the Job Hazard Analysis (JHAs)
  • Review identified hazard assessment tools (e.g., inspections, checklists, and reports)
  • Encourage participation in the joint employer and worker safety and health committee
  • Inform employees on how they will be informed of hazard abatements and corrections

6. Overview of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Explain the mandatory/required use of PPE (e.g., hard hat, gloves, goggles, safety vest)
  • Explain that PPE will be tasked according to the scope of work
  • Verify that training on specific PPE, including proper use of safety harnesses, was conducted in a manner/language the employee understands
  • Review the company’s respiratory protection, hearing protection, fall prevention, and other PPE programs, when appropriate

7. Overview of the Verification/Evaluation Process

  • Ensure the information provided has been clearly presented and understood in a language that employees understand (i.e., written, oral, or work practice evaluation)

8. Overview of Reporting Protocols

  • Explain how to report incidents, such as near misses, and include a statement that there will be no retaliation for reporting them
  • Explain that accurate reporting of incidents will be emphasized to continuously improve worker safety and the company’s safety and health program
  • Explain how employees will be provided the results and follow-up actions of incident investigations

9. Explanation of Employee Participation

  • Explain that employees should participate in the safety and health program and how this participation will benefit them and their fellow employees
  • Ensure that front line employees will be included in the safety and health committee (when applicable)
  • Explain that the safety and health orientation will be interactive and encourage employee participation (e.g. worker voice)
  • Ensure that employees have sufficient time for questions and answers
  • Ensure that employees will be given additional training as needed for safely fulfilling their duties

10. Overview of Emergency Procedures:

  • Explain the emergency procedures (medical, spill, fire, evacuation, etc.), including the location of first-aid supplies, fire extinguishers, rally points, etc.
  • Identify where emergency contact numbers may be accessed

How To Make A New Worker Orientation Effective

If your eyes glazed over while you read that list of included topics, you’re not alone. It’s a ton of information to cover. The problem is, if the information isn’t delivered effectively, the new hire is likely to miss some important information that could potentially save their life.

Even worse, they could tune out altogether and the opportunity to foster your company’s commitment to safety will be lost. You can avoid both situations by ensuring your content is delivered in a way that keeps the new worker focused and engaged.

Some ideas to help better the delivery of your safety program include:

  • Varying your delivery techniques (instructor-led, self-directed reading, discussion-based)
  • Using teaching aids (videos, images, graphs, brochure takeaways, etc)
  • Making it hands-on (demonstrations, practical opportunities, and quizzes)

We do a deeper dive into the specifics of these suggestions in our article 5 Ways to Make Safety More Engaging for Construction Workers.

How to Document When Orientations Are Completed

The last but not the least important step is to document the Onboarding Session as complete. In the eyes of all the governing bodies, if it wasn’t documented, as far as they are concerned, it didn’t happen.

Some companies opt to record the training in a spreadsheet, others hand out actual paper certificates. The strongest record though is a digital one. We recommend using technology such as a safety management system to record and track all training certifications for all your employees. To read more and even watch a demo about how Harness helps companies track training, click here.

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Cost & Pricing Most Popular

Why We’re Offering Our Harness Safety App For FREE Starting Today

There have always been barriers to having a strong construction health & safety program. Some of those include the attitude of management & workers, a lack of understanding what exactly “strong” means, and probably the biggest obstacle, administrative burden.

Who’s going to spend time creating, distributing, collecting, and analyzing safety program information? If you don’t have dedicated safety personnel, those tasks often fall to employees that are compensated on other tasks so safety stuff will often take a back seat.

If you do have a dedicated safety person or team, the time spent on administration means those people aren’t in the field doing what they’re supposed to be doing: keeping workers safe.

We founded Harness Software on the belief that if we could make safety tasks easy, they would get done more often. When safety is top of mind, less incidents will occur, companies will suffer less disruption and benefit from lower costs.

The very first feature we built into our construction safety app was the ability to send relevant safety meeting topics to field staff, have them easily conduct these “toolbox talks” and document them in seconds.

Since 2017, the Harness safety app has been used to conduct over 25,000 safety meetings. Companies send their workers topics from our meeting guide catalog and workers in the field conduct a meeting with their crew and document it on any smartphone or tablet.

Today we’re making the toolbox talk features of Harness FREE to contractors of any size.

Why Are We Offering Free Toolbox Talks?

  • Toolbox talks, when regularly conducted with the appropriate information are an effective way to keep workers safe
  • A proper toolbox talk should take no more than 10-15 mins
  • The majority of construction firms we surveyed found it difficult to obtain & distribute meeting materials
  • Most construction firms do a poor job at documenting meetings they do hold

What’s Included in the Free Plan?

  • Access to our standard toolbox talk catalog. Over 100 meeting guides on a variety of topics. Available in English & Spanish.
  • Send reminder notifications to workers at any time
  • Easily record meeting attendance on any smartphone or tablet
  • A PDF documenting the talk and attendance, automatically emailed to you
  • 14 days of reporting history
  • Access for as long as required (not a trial)

How Do I Learn More Or Sign Up?

Read more about the Free Plan or click the button below to sign up for it now.

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Construction Technology How to...

10 Steps for Selecting & Implementing Technology in Construction

It was 6 am, and I was in Pittsburg, on my way to conduct a training session for a roofing company that was one of our early beta clients. I had spent the previous months writing code and incorporating their feedback on their pain points.
This was to be our first “real” deployment, and I felt confident that we had done everything possible to prepare. Boy was I wrong….

The first step in our training was to install the Harness web app on everyone’s smartphone or tablet. I had prepared a list of written instructions and also had slides projected on the wall.
The first instruction was “Open Your Web Browser.”

The response came almost immediately…

“What the f!$k is a web browser?”

I had to rethink my whole game plan.

Construction: The Last Frontier Of Technology

Construction workers are a special breed. I mean that in the best way possible. These are the guys that build the roofs over our heads and giant skyscrapers that define our cities; they are incredibly talented.

They’re great at taking ideas from drawings and blueprints and turning them into reality. But when it comes to technology that most of us view as commonplace – smartphones, apps, computers – these mighty workers often struggle.

Lawyers, doctors, truck drivers, and restaurant workers are all using apps to help them with their daily work. These apps solve critical operational problems, such as sharing documents, promoting communication, and billing customers, yet penetration rates of these solutions in construction, lag far behind.

Recent studies have shown that unlike other industries, productivity has not improved over time in construction. In fact, it may actually cost more and take longer to complete a project today than it did twenty years ago.

How Worker Age and Culture Sets Construction Behind

Age is certainly a factor. Older workers began their careers before cellphones were in everyone’s pockets. They didn’t grow up surfing the web and touching screens like Millennials and Gen Z do.

Plans, work orders, and schedules are printed out, and there is likely a clipboard for every foreman. They like it that way because “that’s the way they’ve always done it.”

These workers still dominate the industry, which means lots of processes that should have evolved have stayed the same to accommodate their resistance to change.

But that won’t last forever. In fact, as the baby boomers are now reaching retirement, they’re beginning to leave the workforce in droves. The construction industry is now facing a shortage of skilled workers, and companies don’t have the luxury of taking a wait-and-see stance.

This is especially true when you consider that it takes eight to twelve years for a worker to acquire the skills and knowledge of a trade professional.

Obviously, these workers need to be replaced with new, younger employees.

It’s become quite clear that the younger generations are looking for ways to work smarter, not harder, and therefore aren’t attracted to the construction trades’ paper-centric processes.

They’re expecting to use technology to perform their daily work. That’s a big problem for firms that don’t embrace change now, making it impossible for them to recruit and retain workers.

Employee Efficiency in Tools vs. Tech

As the materials, techniques, and tools they use on the job have advanced, construction workers have adjusted very well because they can see the benefits for themselves. Why use an old-fashioned hammer when you could use a sleek nail gun and get your work done faster?

Some companies have pushed back on the technology resistance and moved forward with new processes. They have found that even older workers are able to adapt to change if they understand why it’s necessary and how it can make their job easier.

Although, it is a tougher sell when it comes to technology like smartphones and tablets because they don’t appear to impact their actual work as much. But they can.

There are amazing apps in the marketplace that enable better daily production reporting, time tracking, safety, and material ordering.

10 Steps To Overcome Construction Industry Challenges

As we’ve discussed, technology is the key to addressing challenges in the construction industry. Labor shortages, more competition, and increasing costs for materials mean that companies MUST look for solutions in order to stay in business. Here is how to find the right ones for your company.

1) Set Your Priorities. Keep it Simple

When you start out, you may be tempted to dive in and try to tackle all the challenges your company faces, but that may be overwhelming, and you have a high chance of failure if you take on too much.

Instead, make a list of priorities and choose one or two items. Those could be the simplest issues to fix or the most impactful. It’s up to you.

2) Make a Map of the Status Quo

Whatever the process you’d like to change, you need to know where your current gaps are. Creating a visual map is a great way to do this.

Get together with your team and create a swimlane document. Make sure to thoroughly document what the current process is and who it affects.

3) Draw The Best Case Scenario

Use your process map and identify improvements that could be made. Do this WITHOUT considering a change in the method.

For example, if your time tracking process is done on paper but it’s touching more people than it needs to, consider removing those extra steps before changing the technology involved.

Often companies can find efficiency gains simply through this examination. Make a new map to reflect any changes made.

4) List Your Requirements

This is an important step and when companies don’t spend an appropriate amount of time to do it, they can run into problems later on when evaluating or implementing solutions.

An example of a requirement could be “The ability to show us a dashboard of safety issues by type and crew.”

The goal here is to be able to clearly identify if a particular solution will work for you. Breaking this list into ‘Must Haves’ and ‘Wish List’ can help determine the best solution down the road.

Obviously, we want to choose the solution that satisfies all our must-have requirements and as many from the wish list as possible.

5) Know How to Measure Success

Imagine where you’d like to be a year after implementing a new solution. What are the metrics you can use to determine if you’ve been successful? Is it hours saved, costs reduced, people hired?

Make some goals for these items. If possible, collect your existing data / averages, to generate a baseline of where you are now. This will come in handy a year from now as a reminder of how far you have come.

6) Evaluate Your Options. Also called “Due Diligence”

This is the fun part. Look for companies that are providing solutions for your particular issue. You can Google search, talk to other contractors, or make some time to attend industry events like trade shows and conferences.

Arrange demos of various solutions and ask yourself, “Does this solution satisfy my requirements?” You might even create an evaluation checklist so that you don’t forget anything.

You’ll also want to assess the company providing the solution by getting satisfactory answers to questions such as:

  • “Do you provide implementation support along with your solution?”
  • “How much customization are we able to make? Is there any cost to that?”
  • “Do you have any successful case studies in our industry? Can you provide client references?”
  • “What level of ongoing support do you provide?”

Remember to check those references and ask about the experience of working with the company and its solution.

7) Get Your Team Involved Early

When looking at solutions that affect field workers, having some of them participate in all of these phases is a necessity. Too often, field workers are the last to be included in the process and you run a risk of pushback and failure if they’re not engaged early.

No one wants to be simply told they must do something a certain way. By including field staff in the process, and giving them a say in the outcome, your project is more likely to succeed.

8) Implement In Stages

Changing how things are done is hard. Especially when it comes to long-standing processes and the nature of the construction workforce as we discussed earlier. So make things a little easier and use a phased approach when implementing your new solutions.

Rather than have workers immediately adopt every feature of a particular solution, have them begin with the easiest or most impactful. Once everyone is comfortable, introduce the next feature and so on.

9) Don’t Just Train. Explain

At Harness, we spend the first few minutes of every onsite training session explaining why the company has chosen our solution and what they hope to gain.

We also highlight how the field workers’ lives are going to get easier/better with this new solution in place. We acknowledge the difficulties of doing something new but stress that learning to use software is just like learning to use a new tool; it just takes a little time and practice.

You’ll almost always have a few doubters in the room, but that’s where engaging your team early is helpful. You’ll likely already have a few people convinced it works, and they can help address any concerns from their doubting colleagues.

10) Monitor Your Company’s Progress

Maintain regular contact with field staff during the implementation phase, and use their feedback to make any changes or address any issues that you didn’t foresee.

Once things are chugging along nicely, use those metrics that you identified previously to see how your company is doing.

Share the results with the rest of your team and celebrate any successes, no matter how small. Doing this tends to open peoples’ eyes to the power of change and will help you on future projects.

Technology Can Help Your Company If You Embrace It Properly

There’s a lot of urgent business issues that can be solved with technology. Your company will be leaner, more efficient, safer, and in many cases enjoy increased profits and retention.

But not following best practices when implementing solutions can be perilous. The good news is, now you know how to plan for change, search for the right solution, and launch it successfully!

The experience I gained in some of those initial training sessions really opened my eyes in terms of how our potential users viewed technology.

I started to examine my assumptions about how “easy” I thought I’d made things. We actually rewrote all our training materials to include illustrations, and video explanations so that even guys that would ask “What the F!$k is a web browser?” could follow them.

You should be convinced by now that technology is the way to go, which means the next challenge you’ll likely face is making your case to upper management.

Luckily for you, we have an article that covers exactly how to do that. Click the button below to learn four ways to make your technology implementation pitch rock solid.

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News Reaction

Harness Software Acquires CertGround App, Hires Founder

CertGround app is used by union locals to manage training and its founder, Sean Campbell will join the Harness development team.

Harness Software announced today that it has agreed to acquire CertGround, an app used by union locals to manage training & track certifications for their membership.  Sean Campbell, the founder of CertGround will join the Harness development team.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction is scheduled to close in the summer of 2021.

CertGround founder Sean Campbell, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in London, ON Canada is a self-taught developer and initially created CertGround to help his local union chapter better manage training & certifications.

“When I met Sean, I was immediately impressed with the high level of skill he has as a developer.  The fact that he has worked for over 10 years as an electrician before learning to code gives him an insight into our users that is invaluable.  I’m so excited to have him join our team”, said Tom Whitaker, CEO of Harness Software.

Existing CertGround customers will not be adversely affected as Harness will continue to support them separately for the foreseeable future.  Eventually, the features of CertGround will be incorporated into the core Harness Safety App.

Harness Software currently serves thousands of daily active users and allows construction companies to easily deploy & manage a strong health & safety program.  Companies using Harness have safer job sites, fewer injuries, lower insurance costs, and are better able to recruit & retain workers.

This is the first acquisition in the company’s history.  The company isn’t done making noise and has plans to announce more major initiatives soon. “2021 is going to be a momentous year for our company,” said Whitaker.

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How to...

How To Gamify Safety To Build A Better Safety Culture

 

For the majority of construction companies, finding and keeping qualified workers is a huge challenge. As we’ve discussed before, building a culture of safety is one way to help with recruitment and retention.

Short attention spans and complacency are both problems that safety directors everywhere want to overcome. In this article, we’re going to look specifically at the theory of “gamification” and how it can help you keep workers better engaged in your safety program so you see better results.

What is Gamification?

Simply put, gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Gamification techniques are intended to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, and self-expression. It’s science!

Many of us grew up playing video games. Remember that feeling you had when you beat the boss of a level, achieved the high score, or unlocked a new power or weapon for your character? That’s what gamification is all about—creating that feeling.

Most of us want to feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. Gamification can tap into that desire by creating a “team” element to safety. Since construction is still dominated by men, it’s also worth noting that gamification can awaken the competitive instincts that they often display on the playing field in sports. Not that women also do not possess these instincts. My wife loves to win at poker and often does.

Gamification unlocks traits that humans have been developing for millennia. It turns your safety program into something fun. When something is fun, it’s more engaging and workers are likely to spend more time focusing their attention on it.

What are the Elements of Gamification?

Games use a set of standard building blocks to create the game conditions. Those blocks include:

  1. Points
    • Usually provided as a reward for completing certain activities or goals.
  2. Badges
    • A visual representation of achievement. Analogous to medals, trophies, ribbons, etc.
  3. Leaderboards
    • Leaderboards rank players according to their relative success, measuring them against a certain success criterion.
  4. Performance Graphs
    • Often used alongside leaderboards, instead of ranking a players performance, graphs are mainly used to compare a players performance in a visual way.
  5. Creating Teammates
    • Introducing teams to any game promotes cooperation amongst players as they need to work together towards a common goal.

How To Incorporate Gamification Into Your Construction Safety Program

If you want to start building a better culture of safety, there are easy ways to use gamification to your advantage:

1. Implement A Points System

Reward workers with Safety Points that can be redeemed for company merchandise, tools, gifts, etc…

Points are a great way to start gamifying your safety program and getting the competitive juices flowing.

A couple of key “points” to remember about points programs:

  • Award points based on behavior. Not results. Safety is a process. Reward things like completing additional safety training, conducting safety planning activities regularly, or conducting inspections. DO NOT reward workers if their job sites are injury/incident free. This could discourage workers from reporting unsafe conditions or injuries and run your company afoul with OSHA.
  • Make the points scheme easy to understand and allow for workers to earn a decent reward for “expected” behavior and excellent rewards for “excellent” behavior. For example, a worker that completes all his assigned training, might earn a $25 company store credit at the end of the year, but a worker that goes above and beyond might earn a new set of tools worth $100 or more.
  • Include the point values when assigning tasks to reinforce their value and celebrate purchases that workers make with them. You might even award arbitrary points to workers throughout the year if you notice something special about their commitment to safety.

2. Make Top Performers In Your Company Into Status Symbols

As we discussed above, badges trophies, certificates, & ribbons create a sense of achievement in the recipient. They also can create a strong competitive drive in others that want to achieve the same level of recognition.

The Tour de France uses a yellow jersey to indicate the race leader during its various stages. You could do something similar with your company uniforms by designating certain colors for top performers or issuing higher quality company-branded apparel only for those that achieve certain safety objectives.
Another idea would be to use hardhat stickers or some other type of tag to make your safety leaders stand out and encourage others to join them as status symbols.

3. Performance & Leaderboard Screens

Apple, one of the most successful companies ever, installs TV screens in the employee-only areas of their stores to show real time sales results in comparison with other stores nearby. This leads to healthy competition between stores and a healthier bottom line for the Mac and iPhone maker.
You can use the same technique when it comes to safety. Install a screen in your company training area, break room, or another gathering point. Use it to show your current safety points leaders, or the most recent safety observation stats from an inspection app like Harness.

Harness uses a combination of a leaderboard to track personnel compliance and graphs to track overall safety performance. This can be displayed on any sized screen.

4. Create Cooperation AND Competition

Gamification, when used properly, shouldn’t turn every worker into mortal enemies vying for those all important safety points. Your program should be structured to foster cooperation as well as a health competition. Here are a couple of ways to accomplish this:

    • Establish both individual & team goals

A person should be able to stand out within the team but really make team performance the ultimate goal. Establish criteria for the team to earn points together and reward members equally for reaching those goals.

  • Allow workers to “gift” points or request points to gifted to people they see doing the right things.

Allowing workers to their co-workers kudos via the points system is an excellent way to foster cooperation.

Gamification For Safety Works

Hopefully by now you understand more about gamification and how to incorporate it into your safety program. Doing it right will lead to more engaged, safer workers, less incidents, increased retention, and a better bottom line.

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Cost & Pricing

How Much Does The Harness Safety App Cost?

No construction company owner wants their workers to be hurt on the job.  In fact, most are open to exploring any way to make job sites safer before even considering cost because of their moral and legal obligation.  Some purchases, like equipping workers with the proper personal protective equipment for example are fairly understood in terms of what the costs are and how they can go up or down.

But when it comes to the costs surrounding construction safety apps like Harness, there are a number of factors that can affect what your company ends up paying.

That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.  What the Harness safety app costs.  While we can’t speak for every other software company, we can explain our model, why it works, and how it compares to some others out there.

I’ve deployed Harness to construction companies with as few as ten employees and others with over 500 employees.  At the time of writing this article, we have over 25,000 daily active users of our system.  

I know what it takes to successfully adopt software like Harness and how the requirements of each company can affect the cost.

Purchasing Harness Software involves two separate financial considerations:

  • A monthly subscription
  • A one-time setup & deployment fee.  

Let’s look at each individually.

Monthly Subscription

Monthly subscriptions for Harness Software are based on the total number of workers in your organization.  

We’ve created tiers in segments of 100 workers starting at $499/month for organizations with under 100 workers.  

These tiered plans go up to $2000/month for organizations with 300 workers or more.

What’s Included In The Monthly Subscription?

 

  • Access to Harness for everyone in your company including subcontractors
  • Unlimited cloud storage for your safety stuff
  • Unlimited custom forms built by the Harness team
  • Amazing support via phone, email, & live chat

 

How Does Harness Compare To Other Safety Software?

Many software companies have adopted a model of charging for “users.”  In other words, you would pay for each person that you wanted to have access to the software.  This model is cost-efficient if only a small subset of your employees need access to the software.  For example, giving your supervisors access to applications for timekeeping or project management.

Per-user pricing harkens back to the early days of software (ever had to buy user licenses for the Microsoft Office Suite?). However, in certain situations, the per-user model comes with a number of problems.  

Why Harness doesn’t charge on a per-user basis

 

Cost-Certainty

If you choose to implement safety software to better manage your program, every worker or even subcontractor should be able to access the stuff they need when they need it. But in a per-user model, it’s really hard to know what you’re going to pay.

Since construction company staffing levels fluctuate according to workloads, your price could change every month. 

In a slow month, you might have 30 employees, but in a busy month, you might have 100.  A per-user model would cause your company to pay much more in those busy months.  

We’ve found that company owners prefer cost certainty when making purchasing decisions.

Reducing Administrative Burden

Keeping track of active & inactive users creates an unnecessary administrative burden for your organization.

As we’ve stated above, you’re likely adding and removing workers from your payroll every month.  We think it’s unnecessary for your administrative team to have to take additional steps to remove a person from your safety software so you don’t get charged for them.  

Then, if a worker returns, they have to create their account again.  This may not be much of an issue in a small company, but the larger and more successful you are, the more time and money this could cost you.

Encouraging Open Access

Per-user pricing causes some organizations to restrict access to valuable safety resources in order to save money.  The health & safety of your workers is extremely important.  All construction jobs are dangerous in some way.  Your company is also legally obligated to provide health & safety training and information to ALL your workers.

This is obviously bad. You should want all your workers engaged in the health & safety process.  Not just a select few.  At the very least, you’ll be perceived by your workers as being more interested in cutting costs than in keeping them safe.  At worst, you might find yourself subject to unnecessary OSHA citations or even suffer a workplace injury or death.

A per-user pricing model does work in some cases.  For example, with smaller organizations that don’t have much fluctuation in staffing levels.  However, if your organization has 25 employees or above or you tend to scale up your workforce significantly during busy periods, Harness’ tiered model makes a lot more sense financially.

We acknowledge that $499 per month is a lot for smaller companies, that’s why we offer some a-la-carte options and even free products to those companies that can’t make that investment yet.

Setup & Deployment Fee

The two main reasons why any software purchase fails are lack of customization and lack of training.  

Harness Software charges a one-time setup & deployment fee to ensure that neither of these things happen to you. 

What’s Included In The Setup & Deployment Fee?

The one-time fee covers things like:

  • Custom form building
  • Reports customization
  • Importing safety data from other sources
  • Calls & meetings during the setup phase
  • Creating integrations with other software
  • Travel for onsite training
  • Unlimited follow-up virtual training for your team

The actual amount of the setup fee depends on a few things but a good rule is to use 12 months worth of subscription payments as a gauge.  

For example, a setup & deployment fee for a company on the $499 monthly subscription tier would average $6,000.  

What determines the actual amount of the setup & deployment fee?

Just like when you’re buying a car, the options determine the actual price.  Before you sign up for Harness, we’ll have determined your company’s objectives, the expected complexity of your deployment, and we’ll have provided a set price quote.  

Things that can make a deployment fee more expensive:

  • Setting up a safety program across multiple office sites and/or lines of business
  • Large amounts of custom form builds
  • Training required in multiple locations
  • Complex integrations with external systems

 

Is the setup fee really necessary?  Can we sign up for Harness without one?

As I mentioned above, the most common reasons why software purchases fail are lack of training and lack of customization.  We charge the setup & deployment fee to make sure we can spend the time with you necessary to avoid those outcomes.  The setup & deployment fee is mandatory for all companies signing up for Harness Software.  

Do I have to sign a fixed-term contract when I sign up for Harness Software?

There are some software companies that require you to sign a fixed-term contract.  

Harness doesn’t require customers to agree to a fixed-term contract because we believe that if the software works the way you need it to and provides value, there will be no need to cancel.  

Our pricing is set up in a way to remove the obstacles to effective adoption so we don’t have to lock you in.

So How Much Will Harness Software Cost For Me?

As we’ve discussed above, the cost of safety software for your company will be determined by a number of factors:

  • How Many Employees In Your Organization
  • Tiered Model vs Per User Model
  • Customization & Training Requirements

Harness software has helped construction companies across North America deploy and easily manage a strong health & safety program.  

Next Actions

If you’d like to better understand the costs & return of investing in Harness Software, we encourage you to contact us for a no-obligation consultation & demo.  We’ve created packages for contractors that have ranged from $499 per month + $5000 setup fee and up.

Categories
Best In Class Construction Technology

The 6 Best Construction Safety Apps. Ditch Paperwork Forever

As Founder & CEO of Harness Software, I meet with hundreds of construction companies each year that are looking to better manage their health & safety programs.  At some point during every engagement, I’m asked, “What are the best construction safety apps?” 

I’m not afraid to provide information on our competition because I want our customers to be as informed as possible.

Here is a list of some of the best safety apps with experience in the construction sector.

eCompliance

Founded in 2012, eCompliance has grown to not only include safety management software but also asset management and e-learning for the construction, government, mining, utilities, energy, and manufacturing sectors. 

iAuditor

iAuditor by Safety Culture was started in Australia in 2004 and expanded to the US in 2016.  Their main value proposition is to increase the efficiency of inspections.  They have clients in construction, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality as well.

SafeSite

Since 2014 SafeSite has provided clients with a solution to perform inspections, incident reporting, toolbox talks, and more.  One notable feature is their catalog of form templates that clients can further customize to their needs.

Safety Reports

Safety-Reports formed in 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska. They have clients in Construction and General Industry, but their apps are also used by Loss Control Representatives in the Insurance Industry as well as Safety Consultants who provide third-party services.

Safety Reports’ first product on the market was an inspection app. And since then, they’ve added new separate apps to include: training, job site safety analysis, observations, incidents, and weather forecasting.

SiteDocs

Founded in Victoria, BC, Canada, SiteDocs has worked with contractors pursuing or maintaining the COR Safety certification that is growing more widely adopted as a standard in Canada. 

Safety Meeting App

As their name implies, Safety Meeting App is used to facilitate and document safety meetings or toolbox talks in the field.  They have a large repository of safety meeting content.  They’ve also recently started to offer solutions for inspections and incident reporting.

Next Actions

All software companies excel in certain areas.  The key to finding the right solution for your company ultimately is determining which out-of-the-box features of any particular solution fit your requirements the best and then how much customization you’ll need to do to get an exact fit.

Harness Software has helped construction companies large and small to reduce the administrative burden of their safety program, strengthen their safety culture, and save significant money through lower worker’s compensation premiums.  

Every one of our clients has their own customized version of our platform and everyone gets onsite training for field staff and one-to-one support for administrators.  

If you’re ready to see what Harness could do for your business, book a demo today.

Otherwise, feel free to check out these additional resources.

What Does Harness Software Cost?

Top 5 Ways To Foster A Safety Culture In Your Construction Business 

Your Ultimate Guide To EMR

Categories
Leadership & Culture Safety Best Practice

Top 5 Ways To Foster A Safety Culture In Your Construction Business

If you’re a construction company owner or manager, you understand just how critical it is to create a formal health & safety program for your company.  Perhaps you are already doing some of the basics, such as providing safety training or conducting periodic safety meetings.  

At Harness Software, I’ve been fortunate to work with contractors across North America who have decided to create or build a true culture of safety.  

After hundreds of meetings, dozens of conferences, and over half a million miles flown,  I’ve noticed that the firms that excel in safety all have one thing in common:  A strong commitment from ownership and management towards the safety & wellbeing of every worker.  These companies have happy, productive workers, and they have lower than average worker’s compensation premiums, which gives them a competitive advantage in their industry.

Now, many companies say they have this commitment.  You can visit the website of any contractor and usually see mention of it.  But they often lack the will to actually see it through.

Jobs that are behind schedule suddenly stop having safety briefings or inspections.  Workers are told, “Just get it done.”  They pick up on the urgency of their management and start cutting corners when it comes to safety –all for the sake of profitability or fear of losing their jobs.  That is not a safety culture.  

Whether you’re the leader of a single crew or an entire company, the first time you prioritize production or results over safety, you will have sent the message loud and clear to your workers that your commitment to safety is just an empty statement on your website.  As a business owner myself, I can understand the pull that owners may feel to focus on results ahead of safety.  It’s natural.  We want our business to succeed, and that means completing work and getting paid.  When it comes to our focus on safety though, we have to play the long game.

How will you motivate your workers to go above and beyond on the next project if they don’t truly believe you have their best interests at heart? 

Top 5 Ways To Foster Your Safety Culture:

 

1. Sign A Commitment to Safety Letter

Write a personal letter that outlines your own commitment to safety and ensure every worker receives a copy when they are hired.  Have each worker acknowledge the letter and add their own written commitment to safety as part of the hiring process.  They could do this via a simple checklist.  Doing this is a great way to hold both management & employees accountable.

 

2. Establish a Joint Health & Safety Committee

Establish a joint health & safety committee of workers from across the organization.  The goal of this committee will be to inform safety policies and identify ways to improve safety over time.  Empower committee members by treating them as equals and not just employees.  Actually implement their ideas so that the rest of your organization and the committee members themselves view the committee as the safety authority for your company.  The best safety programs are ones where workers feel ownership.

 

3. Set A Budget

 

Create a dedicated budget for safety within your organization that can be used for training, equipment, productivity tools, etc. Make sure the amount is appropriate for your company size and review the budget annually.  According to the National Safety Council, every $1 spent on safety returns between $2-$6.  That’s a great investment 

 

4. Talk Safety First.  Results Second.

 

Review safety measures being taken on job sites prior to EVERY production-related discussion. Showing your own personal commitment to your worker’s health & safety in some way every day is a quick & easy way to remind them that you care.  Make it clear that your example should be followed by the entire management team.  It will quickly become a habit and often leads to illuminating discussions that can benefit the company in other areas than just safety.

 

5. Get Advice From The Best

 

Seek out advice within your industry via professional associations or think-tank groups and bring those findings to your safety committee.  National and regional trade groups like the National Roofing Contractors Association, Midwest Roofing Contractors Association, Association of General Contractors, and Mechanical Contractors Association of America are all great examples.  They each have developed safety resources and working groups to promote safety best practices amongst their membership.

 

Bonus Tip:  Celebrate Safety Success.  

 
Provide updates to your organization on your safety record (lower recordable injuries, etc..) to workers on a regular basis, and take the time to point out particular efforts of individual workers.  You could do this by posting on a board in your office, or sending a dedicated email.  You could even use weekly safety meetings to acknowledge the efforts of an individual worker or a group.  

Safety incentive programs that reward employees for certain behaviors can be a good idea as long as they don’t discourage or punish workers for reporting unsafe conditions.  For example, incentivizing workers who complete their safety planning activities thoroughly is better than incentivizing workers for a lack of recordable injuries on a project.  The latter could result in workers hiding injuries or unsafe conditions and that could land your company in trouble with OSHA.  

Celebrating the right behaviors and commitment to safe work is another great way to prove to your workers that your commitment to a culture of safety isn’t just an empty promise.  It’s something that you live every day.

Next Actions

Hopefully, by now you have a better idea of how to foster your company’s safety culture.  

Harness Software is a construction safety app used by thousands of contractors every day to remove the administrative burden from their health & safety program, allowing them to measure success and, ultimately, save money.

If you’d like to see how Harness Software could make it easier for your company to strengthen its safety culture, book a 30-minute consultation & demo.

Otherwise, there are some more fantastic & free resources available on our blog that you can use to create a strong construction health & safety program. Such as:

Categories
News Reaction Safety News

NYC Issues 88 COVID-19 Citations In Early July

Source: www.constructiondive.com

During its first five days of actively enforcing new COVID-19 safety protocols, New York City’s Department of Buildings issued 88 citations, including 41 stop-work orders, at construction sites throughout the city.

DOB used Geographic Information System technology, which integrates compliance data with interactive mapping tools, to efficiently route hundreds of inspectors to each of the city’s 40,000 job sites multiple times since the COVID-19 pandemic began, often responding to citizens who reported potential violations.

Since March 30, New York City residents have used the city’s nonemergency 311 phone system to lodge 6,127 complaints against contractors for potential COVID-19 job-site safety protocol violations.

DOB, construction workers and New Yorkers are working to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols are observed at the city’s construction sites, and compliance has been relatively high.

“A large chunk of the construction industry was really paying attention to what New York City went through the past couple months and took the pandemic and trying to slow the spread of the pandemic very seriously,” said Andrew Rudansky, press secretary for DOB.

Beginning June 8, when work at nonessential job sites was allowed to resume in New York City, DOB implemented a new set of mandatory health and sanitation regulations for worksites, including new rules for face coverings, social distancing, cleaning protocols, educational signage and recordkeeping.

The department allowed a 30-day grace period for job sites to become compliant after reopening. During that time, inspectors found instances of too many workers riding hoists together; small spaces that forced workers to be in close contact while entering or leaving a job site, such as stairways; large gatherings at lunchtime or during tool talk meetings; inadequate logs and recordkeeping regarding worker interactions (to be used for contact tracing); and insufficient tracking of on-site cleaning.

When inspectors saw those infractions in June, they reached out to supervisors with guidance and educational materials. Starting July 8, DOB began enforcing the new rules, with initial civil penalties of $5,000 for each offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations. It issued its initial 88 citations from July 8 through July 13.

Categories
Leadership & Culture

How COVID-19 Might Represent A Hiring Opportunity For Construction

 

It’s no secret that the construction industry has been dealing with a labor shortage. Recent studies have indicated that over 80% of construction firms reported difficulty in finding qualified candidates.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on certain areas of the economy represents an opportunity for construction companies to solve this issue.

Where did everyone go?

At the height of the housing marketing, pre-2008, the U.S. added 900,000 construction jobs. However, during the 2008-2011 recession, construction companies shed about 2.3 million jobs.  Many of those workers found positions in other sectors such as hospitality & retail.  Those sectors stand to be decimated by social distancing and other pandemic response measures in the short term.  According to the US Private Sector Job Quality Index Team, over 37 million positions could be vulnerable to layoffs in the near term.  With appropriate stimulus and support measures delayed due to conflicts at various levels of government, a lot of people will be looking for work.

Companies can build a pipeline of candidates now.

Here are a few things companies can do to get started recruiting workers.  Even if you can’t hire them immediately, having a pipeline of candidates for when things turn around is a prudent investment.

  • Be visible in your local markets through social media
  • Share messages about your work culture, compensation, etc…
  • Have a section on your company website to highlight open roles
  • Encourage those affected by COVID-19 to apply