After nearly five years of research and development, a cutting edge software solution that seeks to eliminate paperwork and redefine health and safety standards on project sites is being readied for the Australian market.
Known as WorkSite Connect, the software solution was conceived by civil contractor Dallas Witham after trying to eliminate untidy and cumbersome paperwork whilst working at job sites. According to Mr Witham, plans and job folders were regularly going missing on joists and between trucks, risking loss of productivity and not having the right information all in one place when it was needed the most.
Recognising a gap in the market, Mr Witham took on the challenge to develop a solution himself. The end result eliminates paperwork, maintains a digital paper trail, links office administration to field workers and, crucially, keeps all occupational health and safety (OHS) material in one place.
Jobs are created via the browser-based Work Site Connect admin console. The software then prompts the field team via the app on their tablets to identify and list the hazards associated with each job and task.
These hazards can be edited or augmented from the administration page of the program and a list of default hazards is also available during setup. If new hazards are identified by a team in the field, these can also be added to the task via tablet, as well as risk level and action control measures.
WorkSite Connect features a dispatch system whereby jobs created by an administrator can then be dispatched directly to field workers via tablet. This provides real-time communication between the office, the field team and the supervisors.
According to Mr Witham, the WorkSite Connect solution allows a two-way flow of information between office and field team to be maintained.
“Using their WorkSite Connect tablets, a field team can receive job/task instructions and a range of site documentation.
“This documentation includes standard operating procedures, emergency plans, safety briefings and toolbox talks (which can be signed via tablet to show the required material has been read), prompts to complete daily “÷stop and think’ safety meetings, custom forms and checklists for site and personal equipment, safety inspections and audits, vehicle and plant inspections.”
In return, the field team can send back to the office hazard registers for each new job/task, completed checklists and forms, signatures, photographs of sites/hazards and completed job/task notes.
Customisable for any industry
WorkSite Connect was developed with the variability of different industries and organisations in mind, said Mr Witham, with a user able to add their own questions, checklists and information to follow specific workflow requirements. The program also allows users to work offline: documents and job details can be downloaded and saved to a work tablet whilst within mobile internet coverage, then read at any time – even if coverage disappears.
Victoria-based contractor RIVEX Pty Ltd has been operating WorkSite Connect for the past two years. According to Mr Witham, both administration and field workers find the solution efficient and easy to use, with a great response time aided by paperwork no longer being required.
Another Victorian contractor, Mayberry Constructions of Pakenham, recently installed WorkSite Connect. Praising the new system, a Mayberry Constructions spokesperson said the solution was convenient and simple to use, saving money, time and eliminating the need to print losable paperwork.
Looking ahead, Mr Witham said WorkSite Connect would continue to be improved and updated, with the a big future laying ahead within the civil construction industry for the software – especially with regards to occupational health and safety and compliance.