How Engaging the Field Dramatically Improves Safety

April 1, 2019/by Barry Nelson

Jay Biggs is a safety consultant for Core Safety and working for Structure Tone, one of the largest General Contractors in the United States.

There, he recently employed a breakthrough safety management system to collect over 1000 field observations of safety indicators in the field, and train more than 100 of his people on the ground in just a matter of months. To date, the results of Jay efforts have far surpassed his expectations.

“It’s a life saver. There’s not a day that goes by where someone doesn’t mention how SmartTagIt makes their lives a lot better.”

Shifting the Focus for Stronger Safety

Jay’s initial desire for change in safety came after years of walking construction job sites, holding safety meetings, coaching subcontractors, and investigating incidents. By monitoring worksites day-after-day, it become apparent that—despite a great deal of hard work and good intentions—there was still ample room left for improvement when it came to getting those closest to the work engaged and looking out for one another.

Collaborating with Jay’s supervisor, Dan Saddler, the two searched for a better way to address these challenges. But to do that, Jay and Dan needed a solution that looked beyond only providing automated form-filling processes for compliance purposes.

“When there was an incident or accident, you’d just write a report out and that could take hours.”

Dan and Jay realized that the ways technology was being applied within safety processes needed to be rethought, because in truth, the safety tools Jay used in the past worked exactly as they were supposed to—but incidents still weren’t reduced. The problem wasn’t whether these tools were good or bad, it was that their perspectives were aligned in the wrong direction.

In response, Dan made the decision to have Jay start using SmartTagIt—a software tool which is taking a different approach to safety data collection and analysis.

“I’ve learned many things with this program, and it’s made my job 100% easier.”

Using SmartTagIt as a unifying safety system for its dialogue-driven approach, Jay found a way to support his teams and get them genuinely engaged with safety—leading to a more effective work environment with reduced accidents and injuries.

The Methods Jay Used to Pull this Off

We asked Jay how he was able to cultivate a stronger safety culture with SmartTagIt, and he emphasized that during this journey much of his success came from the safety platform’s video monitoring and sharing features.

Jay: When we first started using SmartTagIt it was brand new, it didn’t have picture or video or all the interactions you see today.

As it is now, it’s a life saver. There’s not a day that goes by where someone doesn’t mention how this software makes their lives a lot better. You wouldn’t believe how many people say that to me.

Instead of having to spend 10-30 minutes writing out JHAs and reports, we can now get everyone in a group, shoot a video, and get people really discussing those issues.

After capturing video of their discussions, Jay used recordings of his team’s daily safety planning conversations to review common problem areas onsite, create representative examples for effective communication, and keep those closest to the work informed in a way that actually resonated with them.

Jay: This is more interactive, and we’re able to get more people involved. Everyone onsite tells me SmartTagIt changes the way they do their business—and it feels pretty rewarding to see them actually engage and improve their daily safety practices.

As Jay’s teams improved their discussions, leading to higher engagement and an enhanced safety performance, they were able to instantly share their information and progress through SmartTagIt

“We’re tracking worksites and finding patterns that we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.”

When more and more crews started getting engaged, it inspired other team members to engage, and before Jay knew it, the project had created a virtuous cycle of positive reinforcement.

Jay: This has changed my life in terms of being a safety professional.

Before, when there was an incident or accident, you’d just write a report out and that could take hours. Now, you just hit a button to report something’s unsafe and 300 people immediately see it.

I love it and tell everyone on and off the job site they need to use it.

Jay ensures everyone stays connected is informed of on-site developments—an approach that drives further awareness and daily conversations about evolving safety risks.

In addition to using SmartTagIt’s monitoring and sharing features, Jay also uses the SmartTagIt Business Intelligence tools to help him look more deeply for trends and opportunities to improve.

Jay: When I go back one month, I look at our greatest risks, how many safe or unsafe observations there are and then I break it down by subcontractor crew.

I sit there with safety managers and point out trends, and we’ll find out why we are seeing what we are seeing and what we can do about it. We often find patterns that we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

Through analysis and action, Jay is transforming the way he approaches safety, and is already looking for more ways to grow.

Jay: I’ve learned many things with this program, and it’s made my job 100% easier.

Now, I look forward to the end of the month where I can sit down and pull reports to see improvements in safe or unsafe observations from each subcontractor we work with. It’s a tool we’ve needed for a long time in this industry, its helped so many people, and it’s only going to get better.

I wish you could walk a job site with me and watch how many people come forward and say, ‘Thank you’. They talk about how much it has helped them. It’s a good feeling.

Conclusion: A Journey of Getting those Closest to the Work Engaged

Jay uses SmartTagIt to engage those closest to the work. He helps them do what they were never willing to do in the past. Better yet, most of them are even grateful for it.

“It’s a tool we’ve needed for a long time in this industry…”

A year ago, Jay wasn’t sure that a safety culture had the capacity to grow like this. But by using SmartTagIt it did—and on top of that—he became even better at his craft.

As those closest to the work started engaging, participating, and sharing their conversations, it gave Jay access to the resources he needed to provide a level of care and support that was never possible before.