Since the government shutdown began on October 1, three coal miner deaths were reported consecutively in a three-day period—something that hasn’t occurred in more than 10 years. With government organizations not keeping quite as close an eye on safety, could construction jobsites be impacted as well?

Brett Armstrong, vice president, BROWZ, www.browz.com, Draper, Utah, a provider of a risk mitigation and contractor prequalification solution, says occupational health and safety are not solely the concern of the federal government; proactive organizations need to also be committed to ensuring the well-being of employees.

BROWZ offers five steps for contractors to improve safety: prequalify members of the supply chain prior to bid; monitor metrics such as injury and safety programs; verify that safety programs meet regulatory standards; integrate IT systems so information is up to date; and track compliance data that may expire or change.

With safety documentation and ongoing monitoring with technology, companies can minimize workplace risk and improve safety outcomes, according to Armstrong.

In the construction industry, technology is increasingly helping contractors and owners heighten safety on a project. For example, electronic reporting and safety apps can enable teams to perform inspections and reinforce safety practices.

Skanska, www.skanska.com, Solna, Sweden, is one such construction firm that uses technology to ensure a safe working environment for employees and partners.

In California, the construction company developed an electronic report using the iAuditor app to enhance jobsite safety and reinforce accountability and safety practices. The app is used to perform site safety inspections.

With the app, executives are able to fill out safety reports on devices running on iOS and Android, and are then able to export the reports as PDFs and send via email. With the new system, Skanska has the ability to take photos of a deficiency and tag it to the report, annotate photos, and time stamp reports. Other functionality includes a GPS locator, cloud storage, and automatic scoring.

The company says the biggest benefits are improved work quality and overall improvement in safety performance.

A safe jobsite has always been a top priority for the construction industry. Now, the technology tools are increasingly becoming available, allowing contractors to track and monitor safety on a jobsite.