There are many reasons for creating a "paper trail": to protect oneself or a business from potential litigation, to provide others with instructions or directives for completing a task, and to create more effective and safer workplaces. The construction industry is badly in need of safer workplaces, that's why a construction safety checklist is a critical component of any construction site.
Compiled Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on workplace fatalities and injuries shows that contractors were the victims in seventeen percent of all fatalities in 2014. In other words, roughly one in every five job-related deaths was someone who worked in the construction injury. While those workers are less likely to meet with a fatal accident than a logger, miner, or airplane pilot, construction work retains the dubious distinction of being one of the deadliest jobs in America. So how can construction firms, managers, and supervisors improve on this, and how do "paper trails" come into play?
Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been the country's Federal safety watchdog. It requires all fatalities and all but the most minor of injuries that happen on the job to be reported to it. Administrators generally must do so in twenty-four hours or less of such events. OSHA uses this information to file complaints and criminal actions against companies in some cases. OSHA also uses this documented data to highlight and help companies correct and end unsafe work practices. Because of OSHA's need for accessible company records in the aftermath of a serious accident, the ability to produce proper documentation can help firms avoid further censure.
And chronicling accidents on a project shouldn't just be done to meet OSHA's requirements. "Self-reporting" less serious and even near-accidents on site can help managers to identify and control present problems and avoid future ones. This type of data can also be applied to future jobs in the same type of environment. And digital tools such as Raken for daily reporting can be very helpful in collecting such data. Raken‘s Construction Documentation Software:
- allows for fast recording and transmission
- permits real-time collaboration, even from separate locations
- allows for the inclusion of photographs, graphics, and streaming video
- allows incident reports and related data to be stored for up to ten years online
Even more conveniently, Raken’s Construction Documentation Software is compatible with a number of mobile devices. This means that incidents or problems can be documented at sites where they occur. The results are documents with detailed, correct information that can protect both firm investments and employees in future. And working with electronic accident reporting fields now can have further benefits. OSHA will be requiring many employers to begin reporting and transmitting accident daily job report forms electronically in 2017. Firms who master this form of reporting now may find themselves helping to set the stage for safer and more efficient workplaces in future. Check out more job site safety tips, here.