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By Jenna Avitabile

There has been a dramatic increase in urban development across the country. Parking lots, underused commercial properties and former industrial sites are more frequently being replaced by condominiums, apartments, townhouses and small-lot, single-family homes, as well as retail/mixed-use projects —including a rise in repurposing project sites in order to optimize usable space. With urban construction becoming much more dense — building against buildings and streets on all edges — innovative technologies, such as 3-D modeling and new cloud-based mobile safety methods, as well as ongoing corporate training, are being utilized more frequently and in tandem to enhance safety compliance and accident prevention on the jobsite.

A large amount of detail goes into the safety and logistics of a project. The earlier that safety issues are identified in the project, the more efficiently the team can operate. Safety is looked at with a long-term view and the impact to the surrounding environment, team members, subcontractors and end users. In order to make a construction site safe and efficient, project superintendents must ensure the entire team is trained in all aspects of relevant technology.

Step 1: 3-D modeling
Catching problems and making design modifications in the initial phases of a project helps avoid unforeseen safety issues before they happen in the field. 3-D modeling has become a prevalent tool for improving safety throughout all phases of a project, well before a final design comes to execution. This tool is enabling the entire project team to consider all safety facets of the project before it can cause a problem in the field.

Step 2: Safety apps and software
Another notable tool is safety inspection software, typically compatible with all types of electronic devices.This cloud-based virtual tool allows for a customized scoring system designed for specific jobsites. Inspection reports are graded and tracked via an electronic dashboard that affords teams an overview of all safety audits completed for a specific jobsite, or as a whole. The inspections are tracked using global positioning and also highlight “at-risk” jobsites, so that strategic inspections and pre-planning may occur before an accident or regulatory issue arises. Every project receives a safety score, which should be reviewed by superintendents at the start of project meetings and is issued to all applicable employees the same day an inspection occurs. These reports are then synced into a database and can be accessed by anyone signed into the system. Within this application, abatement is acquired immediately in the field and can be tracked electronically.

Step 3: Ongoing training
A third safety method includes ongoing training. Because safety is the number one priority on all construction sites, project superintendents, specifically, can reinforce safety measures through the implementation of not only new technologies, but also team training and thorough pre-planning. This training can be incorporated into weekly “toolbox” safety meetings and comprehensive inspection checklists. These weekly meetings are crucial to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement best work practices to not only keep a project moving in an efficient manner, but also in a safe direction. With the project superintendent leading the “toolbox” meeting prior to the start of a work shift, he/she will review last minute safety checks, provide a project status update and ultimately promote the organization’s dedication to ensuring a safe and injury-free work environment.

The essential goal is to produce a project that sets a safety standard for the construction industry that focuses on prevention, not just compliance. Adopting new technologies and training methods will not only meet the clients’ expectations, but will ultimately exceed them.

Jenna Avitabile serves as marketing manager at Callahan Construction. She brings more than five years of experience in the A/E/C industry and engages in the development and execution of effective strategic plans for external and internal communications.

Posted on 2.23.16 –

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