Oct 17, 2022

Decreasing Workplace Fatalities with Contractor Technology

According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 4 million medically consulted workplace injuries in the United States in 2020. To make matters worse, they also reported 4,764 workplace fatalities in that year alone. This number is unacceptable, and something needs to be done to reduce it. Fortunately, technology can help mitigate those fate-deciding risks before they arise. With the rapid rise in the adoption of new technologies in the contractor management industry, companies have made great strides to create innovative solutions to tackle every single aspect of workplace safety.

Statistics of Workplace Safety in America

According to data sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace injuries and fatalities cost the United States $163.9 billion in 2020. Had businesses and contractors been better prepared to mitigate preventable risks, these costs could’ve been allocated to other meaningful facets of a prospering economy. With 4,764 recorded workplace fatalities, American industries suffered an average of 13 worker deaths per day.

While the hazards on the job vary in nature depending on the industry, OSHA classifies commonly cited safety violations as the root cause of potential injury and fatality across all industries. The top 10 most violated OSHA standards of fiscal year 2020 were:

  1. Fall Protection (5,424 violations)
  2. Hazard Communication (3,199 violations)
  3. Respiratory Protection (2,649 violations)
  4. Scaffolding (2,538 violations)
  5. Ladders (2,129 violations)
  6. Control of Hazardous Energy (2,065 violations)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1,932 violations)
  8. Fall Protection Training (1,621 violations)
  9. Eye and Face Protection (1,369 violations)
  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding (1,313 violations)

Benefits of Contractor Technology

Workplace safety is a serious issue, and it's one that technology can help with. There are a number of ways that technology can be used to prevent workplace fatalities, and here are just a few examples.

First, tech can be used to improve communication between workers and managers. This way, if there's a hazard in the workplace, everyone will be aware of it and can take steps to avoid it. A lack of communication is often cited as a leading cause of workplace incidents. When contractors are not made aware of job requirements, onsite hazards, or training protocol, they can easily land themselves and their hiring organization into a state of noncompliance.

Second, tech can be used to monitor workplace safety. For example, some companies use wearable devices to track employees' movements and make sure they're not working in dangerous areas. Certain software solutions can also monitor compliance from a high level perspective, allowing EHS managers to keep tabs on which of their contractors could pose a potential threat to the safety of their organization.

Third, tech can be used to create virtual simulations of hazardous workplaces. This way, workers can get a feel for what it's like to work in a hazardous environment without actually putting themselves at risk. After all, inconsistent risk perception levels and a lack of awareness can quickly turn a workplace into an injury site. Technology like this can help contractors prepare and train for any job that requires them to take on more risk than they are accustomed to.

Fourth ,with the development of Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing, more and more machines are connected with each other and operated by computers. Integrated tech systems ensure that no aspects of contractor safety are left behind, and that all facets of the business are intertwined to work towards the common goal of compliance.

Contractor Management Software

Organizations across the world are collectively adopting this digital solution as a first line of defense in their safety programs. Digital contractor safety solutions are a way to define your efforts through a single source of truth. Furthermore, technology allows you to take outdated and manual contractor management processes and automate them to a point where they become self-serving systems that require minimal oversight. While reducing the rate of human error and negligence, digital solutions also equip businesses with accurate safety data to ensure that they take the necessary steps to reduce the risks of injuries and fatalities.

Prequalification Systems

When it comes to preventing work fatalities, technology can be a powerful ally. Contractor management software can help companies keep track of contractors and their safety records, while prequalification tools can help ensure that only qualified and safe contractors are hired. In many instances, organizations may end up taking on unassumed risk by hiring workers with a history of incidents, subpar safety practices, and noncompliance. By leveraging the power of technology, companies can create a safer workplace and reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities.

Supplier Audits

Technology can help prevent failed supplier audits by providing a digital platform for conducting all assessments. This ensures that all aspects of the audit are captured, including any potential hazards. Being afforded this level of oversight and transparency allows businesses to make informed, data-backed decisions to address potential risks before they arise in the workplace. By providing a comprehensive digital audit, technology can help to improve safety for workers.

Risk Reporting

In combination with contractor prequalification and supplier audits, technology can help in reporting and analyzing past, present and future risks that an organization may face. In the instance of health and safety, your compliance levels are directly correlated to your levels of risk. Working with noncompliant contractors, not enforcing safety standards, and using uninspected machinery are all deciding factors that determine the level of risk and liability that you face.

Why Is This Important?

As a safety professional, it is your responsibility to ensure that no aspect of your operations lead to unforeseen risks. Besides the unfortunate and tragic circumstances of workplace fatalities and incidents, a lack of safety can have dire consequences to your business. Insurance premiums skyrocket, quality contractors are wary of working with you, and your operating costs increase. These are just some of the many negative impacts that an organization may face if they ignore these necessary safety standards.

Integrating technology into your existing processes will allow you to maintain full control and visibility over your safety program, and significantly reduce the risk of workplace fatalities and injuries. Having a hold on compliance will ensure that your business remains in good standing with OSHA, the public, and the contractors you hire. If you’re ready to take your business to new (safety) heights, book a demo with us to learn more about how Contractor Compliance can help you.

About the Author

Addison Moore
Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance

Addison has spent the last four years learning from and participating in the Health & Safety community. He has travelled to numerous EHS conferences, trade shows and events with the intention of helping organizations with their contractor management programs. Addison is also responsible for curating the collection of white papers, case studies and eBooks that provide real world insights into the workforce safety space.

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