A Pacific Northwest contractor recently was slapped with substantial fines for failing to ensure the safety of its workers. State regulators say the business has a history of providing inadequate protection in areas where workers could fall.
The contractor has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines for violating the same fall-protection rules five times during the last 18 months. In this state, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses.
One incident involved four employees working nine feet above ground, another two workers doing a framing job 10 feet from the floor, and a third where a worker could have fallen 21 feet — all without any fall protection systems.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
How would your company know whether a second-tier or even third-tier contractor has a history of safety violations? The answer lies in using software to track the safety records of contractors and suppliers. An examination of hundreds of thousands of safety data points and supplier performance reports, surveying 20-plus industries over a 10-year period, found that businesses using tracking software were able to reduce safety incidents and lost workdays by as much as 55% compared with industry averages.
Another key discovery: companies can get another 7% to 12% reduction in workplace safety incidents each year by using tracking software. A safe company can become even safer.
Keeping track manually is no longer an option. By tracking information digitally, executives can spend more time reviewing and analyzing information, and less time collecting it.
When considering tracking software, here are some important elements to keep in mind:
U.S. suppliers using prequalification requirements are seeing 20% reductions in total recordable incidents rate (TRIR); days away, restricted or transferred (DART); and lost workday case rate (LWCR), compared with Bureau of Labor Statistics averages. Companies utilizing supplier audits are seeing a 52% reduction in safety incidents.
The examination of records in other countries shows that safety improvements are universal. Similar results can be seen in the European Union, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Latin America. A supply chain may have suppliers from all over the world, but tracking software helps companies bring everyone in close.
Researchers also looked to see if there was a difference in safety statistics among the more than 20 different industries under study. They found reductions of safety incidents in all industries, including construction, manufacturing, building materials and retail.
Regardless of what type of business they’re in, executives can choose a supplier that is vetted, qualified and has a history of safety.
Organizations best able to weather the pandemic had three things in common: their leaders had a deep understanding about critical vendors and sources, they made sure their employees and contractors were well trained and prepared, and they identified essential activities to ensure that business could continue to operate.
These companies were also more resilient in their ability to expand, scale down or identify other vendors to include in their supply chains.
Imagine the peace of mind executives would have to know their employees and everyone in their supply chain are working in safe conditions. Finally, tracking software reduces the financial risk for a company, because it’s no longer susceptible to higher costs from fines and civil lawsuits over safety violations.
Danny Shields is vice president of industry relations at Avetta.
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