OSHA has launched a survey of private sector employers regarding the safety and health management practices of workplaces today. Safety on the construction jobsite has always been of critical importance; perhaps contractors need to take a new look at how technology can help them further comply with such efforts.

As many as 19,000 employers nationwide will receive the voluntary Baseline Survey of Safety and Health Practices from the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Admin., www.osha.gov, Washington, D.C., which says the survey is a tool toward better designing future rules, compliance assistance, and outreach efforts. According to OSHA, questions will cover existing safety-management systems, the performance of annual inspections, and the personnel in place to manage safety.

Managing safety is an ongoing effort within construction. Today, technology can play a larger role than ever in helping contractors establish, measure, and manage safety efforts on the jobsite.

For instance, we have seen Harvard University use safety-management technology from Vela Systems, www.velasystems.com, Burlington, Mass., that allows safety inspectors to document, record, and benchmark safety data of workers in the field. Safety inspectors run the software on iPads in the field.

For heavy/highway contractors HCSS, www.hcss.com, Sugar Land, Texas, recently launched a new safety application. This stand-alone product integrates with the company’s HeavyJob job-costing system.

Foremen and project engineers who are already entering time-card information into HeavyJob will also be able to enter safety-related information into the new application. HCSS says construction companies use the safety application to track and report all job-level safety information and manage historical safety data for each job in one location.

HCSS believes the product can also play a role in helping companies manage individual employees’ safety compliance, certification, and training. A dashboard displays key indicators of a company’s safety program across all jobs, and if any areas require immediate attention, an alert will be sent to management.

It is vital to have such safety applications integrated with systems that are already being used out in the field, such as job costing and project management, for example. Aside from the convenience factor, it allows field personnel the ability to not just record safety data but tie it to other mission-critical information. This strategy is essential for transforming your company from one that simply tracks safety data to one that acts upon it in a timely manner.