Construction Worker Safety: The Asset Management Approach

Getting Hurt

We all know what it feels like to get hurt. Whether it’s a papercut or a broken bone, the experience is unpleasant at best, and life altering at worst. From an employer’s point of view, it can be devastating to hear that one of your employees suffered an accident. The people we work with often become like family to us. We share a goal and work side by side to accomplish it. That’s why accidents are so devastating, even before taking finances into account. It’s even worse when those accidents are preventable.

So, our question for today is, what do those accidents cost, and how do we reduce them­?

General Statistics

Let’s start with the big picture:

  • On average, 6 million workers in the U.S. will have a non-fatal workplace injury according to OSHA.
  • Those injuries will cost U.S. businesses $125 billion annually.
  • Total cost of deaths and injuries is estimated by the National Safety Council to exceed $142.2 billion, and 120 million days of work lost.
  • Employers will spend over $50.8 billion annually in wages and medical care for workers who have been hurt on the job according to Liberty Mutual.

These are very general statistics, but they are not evenly distributed. When we look at industries that utilize heavy equipment, like fishing, agriculture, and construction.

When Accidents Become Personal

Working in Construction is dangerous, by its very nature. One study showed that “nearly all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury in their lifetime and have a greater risk of dying prematurely.” That’s an alarming statistic. But what is even more alarming is the 75% likelihood of having a disabling injury. Construction is also the industry with the highest number of work-related deaths in the USA.

These accidents are extremely expensive. By far, the smallest penalty will likely be the OSHA fines, which average around $4,149 for a serious violation and $9,000 for a death. You will also be accountable for worker’s compensation, rising insurance costs, and the loss of productivity while the worker is out of commission. While a worker who dies can be replaced in theory, the actual task is intimidating and difficult to do.

This is why it is so crucially important to prevent those accidents when at all possible.

Start with a Maintenance First Mindset

The first step to reducing your accidents is planning and scheduling. This means Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Predictive Maintenance (PdM). A large number of fatalities and serious incidents occur during an unscheduled breakdown (as gathered from MSHA and OSHA statistics), which could have been prevented with proper maintenance.

Implementing your PMs according to manufacturer recommendations is the very first way to begin to reduce your accidents. This changes your maintenance from unplanned, potentially dangerous repairs on-site, to a controlled situation where you are better equipped to handle the maintenance. This control over the maintenance environment is a key factor in reducing incidents.

PM’s are incredibly effective, but they are essentially blind. This is why using PdM is also important. Where a PM is based on a regular schedule, like time, miles, or hours of service, a PdM item is based on the asset’s current condition. This can be something as simple as a visual inspection, or as complex as integrated IoT sensors. PdM works to stop breakdowns before they occur.

This can integrate with PM schedules as well. Rather than automatically changing a spark plug on a vehicle when it reaches a certain number of miles, inspect it to see whether or not it actually needs to be changed. In many cases, an inspection can extend the life cycle of a part where a simple PM would replace it. PdM can also prevent breakdowns that PMs would be ineffective against.

It is important to note that using Predictive Maintenance still requires a human touch. Sensors produce reports that require analysis. And, importantly, the operators of an asset are a crucial step in PdM. This is because the operators will know the asset better than anyone and can report on the smallest changes that others might not notice. This is especially effective if they are able to do it through a QR code on their dashboard that will allow them to make a work request directly to the maintenance team.

Automated Planning and Schedules

Now, the best method of implementing PM’s and PdM’s is to automate them through an asset management platform, like ManagerPlus. ManagerPlus allows you to create schedules for every asset and then receive notifications when they come due. To integrate your sensors, ManagerPlus has an API that they can connect with. You can use inspections to implement better PdM’s as well.

Shifting from reactive to planned maintenance has been shown in multiple studies to reduce an organization’s OSHA incident rate. When you work to increase your planned maintenance, you don’t only save money. You protect your employees. If you’re interested in learning more about safety, we recommend this white paper by Safety.BLR.com.

If you’re ready to enhance your safety and maintenance, ManagerPlus is here to support you in your efforts. Give us a call and let us show you how ManagerPlus can revolutionize your organization’s operations. If you’re already using the ManagerPlus platform, we’d love to hear about your success.

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