How Much Time is Spent on Software-Based Risk Assessments?

Lets be realistic, using safety management system software is not a silver bullet. Even when using free risk assessment software there is still a time-cost associated. However, risk assessment software can save you time by streamlining the risk management process. The question is how much time? To calculate this we conducted a risk assessment productivity case study on a construction business of 12 workers.

In previous articles, we looked at how much time is spent on paper-based risk assessments and subsequently how much they cost your business. So, now we need to apply the same process to a software-based system to determine the possible savings. The following diagram shows the time values that are associated with each step of the risk assessment workflow.

1. Create Risk Assessment: Risk assessment software can be filled out on a smart phone. Firstly, this reduces the time associated with carrying and maintaining paperwork. Secondly, the software can assist the workers to consider previous risk assessment tools and use auto-fill to complete the risk assessment form. In our case study the workers were now spending only 1-2 minutes filling out these risk assessment forms.

2. Present to Foreman: The risk assessments and SWMS’s are presented to the foreman before starting work. The foreman can be emailed the risk assessment and SMWM’s in turn speeding up the process. The risk management strategy can then be read and recorded digitally for auditing purposes.

3. Conduct Work: Throughout the job it is possible for unforeseen hazards to arise meaning an extra risk assessment would need to be added. The worker does not have to retrieve a collection of paperwork but instead also reviews the SWMS digitally before proceeding.

4. Filing and Auditing: The back-end administration is almost completely cleared. The digital records are kept as soon as the risk assessment is saved and can be downloaded as a zip for auditing purposes.

Using risk assessment software will save you money but there are some very important points within this article that should be considered. Firstly, it is hard to measure some intangible benefits like the improvement in safety which leads to less fewer accidents and less compensation. Secondly, the cost of the actual construction safety software has not been included but these calculations show an approximate difference meaning a reasonable price point can be reached. Lastly, risk assessment software can give you valuable insights into the running of your business through the use of data-driven decision making. This will give you a competitive advantage and allow you to make more informed decisions.

If you’re ready to boost your productivity with quick, safe and compliant risk assessment software, click here.

 

How much time is spent on paper-based risk assessments?

Figuring out how much time it takes for construction workers to complete risk assessment forms doesn’t have to be guesswork. After taking data from our risk assessment productivity case study, we were able to determine an average time for each step. From there a monetary value was placed on each step based on the wages workers are paid. For information on how much paper-based risk assessments cost, click here. But back to the issue of time and the below diagram shows how long each step takes.

1. Create Risk Assessment: A paper-based notebook with blank risk assessments and SWMS’s is carried on site. The worker completes the task of writing a risk assessment and the associated SWMS.

2. Present to Foreman: The risk assessment plan and SWMS are presented to the foreman before starting work. The foreman will review the paperwork and keep a copy for auditing purposes.

3. Conduct Work: Throughout the job it is possible unforeseen risks arise and an extra risk assessment policy would need to be added. The worker may also need to review a SWMS to ensure that they are conducting the work safely.

4. Filing and Auditing: The completed risk assessments must be handed to and kept for seven years. The filing and administration associated with this task includes the time to hand the paper work to a manager and the time it takes to file the paperwork. It also includes the time it takes to retrieve paperwork during an audit.

The average time taken in the risk assessment process is approximately 9-16 minutes. For the purposes of your calculations you can change the values associated with each process. It is important to note here that there are some intangible factors that are difficult to include in this measurement. Some examples include the time that is saved in incident reporting and compensation related administration by having a safer work environment. Nonetheless the entire paper-based process is unnecessarily long but an alternative exists in the form of risk assessment software. This is all good and well but it does beg the question: how much time is spent on software-based risk assessments?

Safe Work Australia

In the past, Australia’s vast array of workplace regulations made OHS compliance about as easy as blindfolded origami. Regulatory standards changed from state to state and figuring out which worksafe Australia codes of practice applied to which job required scrolling through pages of health and safety laws written in complicated legal-lingo. This cost businesses time and money, so in 2008 Safe Work Australia was established with the aim of streamlining this process.

Understanding the role of Safe Work Australia is central to comprehending the broader network of OHS regulations. Although the Work Health and Safety Act is long and complicated, Safe Work Australia works to standardise health and safety laws, prepare workplace codes of practice and suggest policy improvements to the government. In essence, Safe Work Australia is a model of health and safety codes of practice and OHS laws and regulations, that is reviewed by the government and then adopted by the respective states and territories.

Safe Work Australia Council

Safe Work Australia council is comprised of an independent chairperson, representatives of the federal government and from each state or territory, representatives from workers groups like the Australia Council of Trade Unions, representatives of employer groups and a Chief Executive Officer. As a statutory agency independent of partisan politics, Safe Work Australia aims to develop and maintain workplace safety policy that serves the interests of all parties in a fair and balanced manner.

But what is the role of Safe Work Australia? Well its key functions as set out in the Safe Work Australia Act are to:
• Develop a national occupational health and safety policy and workplace compensation
• Prepare a model OHS Act, work health and safety codes of practice and regulations
• Review and revise laws, the workplace health and safety codes of practice and regulations if necessary
• Develop a nationally consistent policy for the compliance and enforcement of workplace health and safety legislation
• Monitor the adoption process by the Commonwealth, states and territories of health and safety legislations, codes of practice, regulations and compliance and enforcement policy

• Collect, analyse and publish any data or research relating to OHS policies and procedures, and Australian workers compensation in order to better inform the policy development process

• Communicate with international organisations and other countries on matters relating to workers’ compensation and OHS
• Raise awareness of OHS and workers’ compensation issues

It should be noted though that Safe Work Australia is not the department of workplace health and safety so its proposals don’t become law until the government signs off on any changes. This approval process happens on two levels. Firstly the Workplace Relations Ministers Council (WRMC) oversees Safe Work Australia and directs their strategic and operation direction. The WRMC is made up of the state and territory leaders responsible for industrial safety topics, workplace relations and workers’ compensation matters. So it’s mostly ministers from the related portfolios like industrial relations. When the WRMC is happy with what Safe Work Australia is proposing they collectively sign off on the agreement and the proposal then becomes a Bill to be put to the respective state’s or territory’s parliament. If the Bill is passed, then you’ve got a new set of laws and regulations sanctioned by the government and enshrined by Safe Work Australia.

It seems like a long-winded process but the eventual goal of Safe Work Australia is to standardise all the OHS safety regulations, laws and codes of practice into one consistent national policy. When achieved this will mean that the rules of workplace health and safety Queensland will be exactly the same as those in NSW or any other state or territory. With everyone on the same OHS page it will make it easier for businesses to conduct their work across state lines and grow.

How Can You Make Your Own Health and Safety Documents Without Breaking the Bank?

No matter what the industry is, workplace safety documents are a costly but necessary part of day-to-day work.

Safety software systems, like SafeWorkPro, enable both workers and managers to create their own safety documents with reasonable ease thus boosting productivity and promoting a strong workplace safety culture. For more information on these benefits, read how writing your own safety documents can boost productivity.

Whether it’s a safety data sheet (SDS sheet) or a full-blown safe work method statement, safety software works to streamline the process and ease the burden of paperwork by digitalising all forms. Simply put, SafeWorkPro removes paperwork from workplace safety procedures, instead utilising a smartphone application. On this application, managers or workers can create their own safety documents to suit the individual working conditions or personal preference – all while remaining complaint with occupational health and safety laws.

The traditional method of completing safety documents, although tried and tested, is fundamentally flawed. Paperwork causes bottlenecks for backend administration, wasting the precious time of managers, while on the worksite workers are burdened with constantly updating multiple safety documents that can be confusing and impractical.

For example, a risk assessment must be used at every high risk construction worksite to identify and manage risk. However if the workplace conditions change due to poor weather or if new risks are observed, than the original risk assessment must be amended to reflect what control measures will be used to manage the risk. As this workflow example indicates, paperwork takes up time that could be better used to complete the task at hand.

To ensure even greater convenience, SafeWorkPro stores safety documents so that they can be used again – even if you’re offline. This extends a significant amount of flexibility for workers undertaking jobs outside of reliable internet access. Moreover it allows the real time transfer of reliable health and safety information between clients, contractors, workers and managers. Such a feature provides both workers and managers with a detailed picture of the health and safety standards of their business while providing insights into what areas require improvement.

The development of SafeWorkPro is due to the high level of collaboration between software developers and their partners at Cole Contracting. This small electrical contractor has been operating out of south East Queensland for 17 years and has first hand experience with the constant demands of compliant safe work practices. Through this partnership, SafeWorkPro has been developed based according to the needs of tradespersons and managers in the construction industry.

Health and safety documents in the workplace are important but should not come at the cost of productivity. Now with a software solution, businesses are afforded greater flexibility in how they create and complete safety documents. Begin your journey with SafeWorkPro today!

The Four Stages of Risk Assessment

The stages of risk assessment are pretty straightforward. Ultimately you want a risk assessment process that can identify hazards and who may be harmed, and outline the risk management methodologies that can prevent an incident. These are vital to a risk assessment workflow that is both successful and safe.

The four stages of risk assessment are as follows.

1: Hazard and risk identification

This part of the risk assessment process involves observing the work area and searching for possible health and safety hazards and risks. Through consultation with workers and worker organisations, clients, the manufacturers of any equipment and after reviewing previous health and safety risk assessment forms, you can paint a clear picture of the dangers present.

2: Identify those at risk

This may seem easy enough but keep in mind that anyone who enters the work area must be aware of the inherent dangers. This includes workers, managers, clients and even the general public. Ensure risk assessment in the workplace is clearly accessible for all to read.

3: Complete risk assessment plan

Then it’s a simple (if at times frustrating) matter of doing the paperwork. For free risk assessment templates check out SafeWorkPro’s Resources or you can read more about the correct risk assessment format here.

4: Risk assessment review and update

Risks in construction tend to change as a job develops and in order to remain compliant with OHS laws and regulations, your construction risk assessment form will also have to change. This means active consultation with workers to ensure any new risks in construction are accounted for.

Safety Software: a saviour in disguise?

The internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business. Files can be instantly transferred across the world, entire encyclopaedias of information are just a click away and social media gives your target market a voice. We live in a brave new world that is both deeply interconnected and highly competitive but there is one area where recent leaps in technology are yet to touch.

Risk assessments are as much a part of any high risk work environment as hard hats and steel cap boots. But whereas other industries have embraced the advantages offered by technology, safe operating procedures in Australia are still stuck in the past. Doing a risk assessment online seems like something that would have become industry standard by now, but in reality the paper-based method, although out dated and inefficient, is still the main method of handling risk and compliance in Australia. This is a problem because as OHS legislation Australia tightens and regulations intensify, the risk management process becomes far more time consuming and more costly. This is bad news for your competitiveness.

risk assessment software is the solution but what it is and how it should be used properly, remains unresolved.

Until now.

Current examples of safety software merely provide you with a digital copy of safe work method statements and other risk assessment forms. This doesn’t do much in terms of streamlining the risk assessment process and reducing these costly drawbacks. The paperwork, even in a digital form, still needs to be completed, copied, printed, signed and stored for future compliance requests. The Risk assessment software SafeWorkPro has developed puts this entire process into one easy to use tool available on any smart phone or tablet device.

Check out how SafeWorkPro can take your business into the future.

Risk Assessment Software: 5 questions to consider

The best way to explain risk assessment software is to look at the advantages it has over the traditional paper-based method. For starters, as any business owner or manager would know, time is money, so a core value of risk assessment software is speed. The easy accessibility of construction safety software makes it instantly superior over the tiresome and time-consuming task of writing a risk assessment on paper. Using construction risk assessment software like SafeWorkPro, you can send a completed risk assessment anywhere at anytime, making compliance with OHS laws and regulations a breeze. But above all, construction safety software keeps your workforce safe and your business in line with risk assessment regulations.

In this article we will outline the 5 stages of risk assessment software in terms of how it works and what it can do for you. But don’t just take our word for it. The below video is the story of Cole Contracting, a small construction business that, when faced with falling productivity and lagging back end administration, looked to risk assessment software for the solution.http://

For more information on how our construction risk assessment software works, check out the SafeWorkPro Blog. There you’ll have access to all the information you need to get started, plus loads more on how to complete a risk assessment, how to improve productivity and examples of risk assessment forms.

But back to the building risk assessment checklist we think you should consider before signing up to any construction safety software service. These 5 factors will help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision.

1: How much does the risk assessment software cost?

2: Will the software make your workers safe at work?

3: Does the software give you insight into your business?

4: Will the software pass an audit?

5: Does the software help you comply with the Workplace Health and Safety Act?

1: How much does the risk assessment software cost?

The purpose of our software is to ease the problem of automation for risk assessment forms – in other words: to get rid of the paperwork and make the process quicker and easier. In this case, the software does come at a price but it pays for itself through a streamlined risk management process. Consider it more of an investment than a cost. Return on investment (ROI) is the concept of an investment of some resource yielding a benefit to the investor. So, as you are considering what risk assessment software to use, ask each vendor what ROI you can expect from using their software. SafeWorkPro has a calculated ROI of over 200% (learn more about how we calculated that figure here). We are confident that SafeWorkPro will save you time and money.

2: Will the software improve workplace safety?

Ultimately you want your workers to be safe while they’re on the job. So a key question to consider is how can software help with this? For SafeWorkPro’s risk assessment software, safe operating procedures are delivered to workers when they are on the job via a tool they can download to their mobile or tablet device. So when the worker starts to fill out a risk assessment form on their smartphone or tablet, they are presented with data that has been filled out on previous risk assessments. These suggestions mean that workers are provided with the most relevant risk

management framework far quicker than the paper-based alternative. Back at the office and managers can update the software to ensure that only the most appropriate suggestions are available. The best software will streamline this process without undermining the safety of your workforce.

3: Does the software give you insight into your business?

Everyday construction managers have to deal with safety. It’s a big part of the job and many safety procedures must be followed otherwise strict penalties may apply. Unsafe behaviour can put workers at risk and result in accidents but there is a way that risk assessment software can help managers. Our software has a configurable dashboard that adds all sorts of meaningful graphs and tables allowing managers to identify hazards and plan a risk management process ahead of time. This is huge benefit for any risk assessment plan because time is saved through smarter and more efficient work.

4: Will the software pass an audit?

If you are audited and need to present your safety management plan, risk assessments, and safe work method statements, SafeWorkPro can deliver these documents to anyone at anytime. The federal government’s fact sheet looking into the top ten corrective action reports (CARs)  lodged between 2012-1013 documents failed work practices and reflects the strict requirements of current legislation. So, to avoid joining this list, you need to make sure that your software can output all the documentation needed for the audit. Our software will output all risk

assessments and safe work method statements as PDF’s that can be printed or delivered electronically. We also require that each risk assessment is signed by all workers that appear on the risk assessment. It’s a simple way to ensure the safety of your workforce but also to double check your workload remain compliant with OHS legislation Australia.

5: Does the software help you comply with the Workplace Health and Safety Act?

The general purpose of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 is to provide a balanced and nationally consistent framework that secures the health and safety of workers and workplaces. When you take a detailed looked at the legislation there are many factors to consider but there are a few general undertones worth mentioning. Firstly, it the duty of the individuals involved in the high risk construction work to manage risks to health and safety. These duties cannot be deferred to someone else. Furthermore, there are certain requirements that must be met or else a penalty could be issued. For example, a principal contractor must be presented with safe work method statements and risk assessments before work on a job can begin. So, the question is how does risk assessment software help with this? Our software allows you to email the appropriate documentation to the principal contractor before starting work. principal contractors find this very convenient as they then have an electronic record in their email inbox to keep and don’t have to worry about filling or document storage down the track.

Summary

There are many factors to consider when evaluating risk assessment software and we’ve touched on a few of the core issues you should think about. That being said, it is our belief that SafeWorkPro satisfies this criteria but if you would like to know more about our risk assessment software please take a look at the SafeWorkPro Blog or drop us a line via our contact page.

SafeWorkPro: getting you on the job quick, safe and compliant.

The Basic Risk Assessment Questions

Understanding OHS laws and regulations is a prime concern for anyone involved in high risk construction work. When done properly, risk assessments make worksites safe and reduce the likelihood of injury or worse. Knowing how to perform a risk assessment is not the only aspect to safe work practices that should be considered. There are other risk assessment questions worth addressing.

What is a risk assessment form?

This basic question has a basic answer. A risk assessment form is a series of documents that aim to identify the risks and hazards evident on a worksite, list the types of high risk construction work involved and outline the measures to be put in place that will eliminate or at least reduce these risks. Risk assessments consist of a safe work method statement and a risk assessment matrix. A safe work method statement is a certified document that must outline what the high risk work is, the risk involved and the control measures to be implemented.  Risk assessment matrices place a numerical value on the level of risk associated with each type of high risk work based on their likelihood and consequence.

What is a risk analysis?

This is the process of interpreting just how severe the consequence of a risk or hazard could be. It involves using a risk assessment matrix to place a numerical value on how serve a specific hazard could be. This is done to give workers a better understanding of the risks involved, in turn encouraging safe work practices.

Why do we need risk assessments?

Although they are just another type of paperwork, risk assessments are essentially a way to make safe work practices part of an average worker’s daily routine. By instilling the risk assessment process into the everyday habits of a worker, it is hoped that the type of safe work practices required in any job will be better understood and used more regularly.

Why are risk assessments carried out?

Other than the promotion of safe work practices, risk assessments are carried out as a way to formalise compliance with OHS laws. By having a written record of your risk assessments, regulators are able to check the extent to which a construction business has complied with safe work standards. Also if an accident were to occur, the risk assessment can be used in legal proceedings as a record of compliance. This point underlines the importance of storing risk assessments clearly and efficiently – if you cannot display compliance then you may face penalties.

What is a risk assessment tool?

This is anything that aids or streamlines the risk assessment process. It can take many forms but to date the most efficient method of risk assessment appears to be that offered by software. Risk assessment software takes the paperwork associated with risk management and converts it to a digital form. This basically means that instead of writing a risk assessment on paper, the formwork is completed on an digital tool – like a smartphone app. This is a quicker method of writing a risk assessment but also streamlines the compliance process for managers who, instead of filing paperwork, simple save and store PDF files. Learn more about risk assessment software.

If you would like to learn more about the risk assessment process, check out the SafeWorkPro Blog.

A Risk Assessment Productivity Case Study: how to save time and money

Your business has a problem that you may not even realise exists. It bites way at your productivity, drains your resources and cripples the moral of your workforce. This problem is so embedded into your business model that the prospect of any alternative seems unnecessary and even unpleasant.

In construction, risk assessments are just part of the job. Completing safe work method statements, formulating risk management strategies and then consulting with your workforce is all part of the typical risk assessment workflow. The paperwork is a hassle, filing takes time and compliance requests are just one of those annoyances you have to put up with, right?

Wrong.

You may feel comfortable with the old way of doing risk assessment forms but unfortunately the paper-based method, although tried and tested, is wasteful and costing your business time and money. Whether you’re a business owner, site manager or tradie, risk assessments in the workplace are unnecessarily long and time consuming.

The Problem with the Paper-Based Risk Assessment Process

The sheer number of different safe work method statements (SWMS) in circulation is enough to give you a headache. Organising them all into one place costs money in terms of administrative overhead, not to mention the amount of office space filing takes up. Each worksite is unique and comes with different hazards and risks. Finding the right paperwork for the job takes an almost supernatural sense of premonition. Unfortunately you are not a fortune-teller so predicting how the risks in construction will change as a job develops can throw all your paperwork into a tailspin and render it utterly useless. Also, and let’s be honest here, all this paperwork is just bloody annoying.

Take our risk assessment case study for example. Using an electrical contractor that employees 12 workers, we estimated that our risk assessment software could save this business between $10k to $17k every year. We looked at how much time was spent of paper-based risk assessments and then at how much this process cost. The old saying ‘time is money’, has never been so true but if you’re still not convinced, just check out the below flowchart.

How Risk Assessment Software Can Help

Now all this isn’t to say you should just stick your head in the ground and forget about the risk management process altogether. You could try but sooner or later the regulators would catch up and you’d be facing some pretty serious penalties. Instead it’s time to think about how practical risk assessment software can help you identify risks and neutralise them. Check out just how much quicker the software alternative is below.\

That’s right, technology has the answer but don’t go running for the hills just yet. At SafeWorkPro we’ve developed safety management software that is so simple even your mate’s work dog could figure it out. We’ve achieved this through active consultation with tradies and contractors, not computer technicians who have never even touched a hammer before. SafeWorkPro’s risk management tool can be used on any smart phone or tablet device, and works to streamline the entire risk assessment process. Your safe work method statements are stored digitally – ready to be accessed and implemented into your risk assessment at any point. Then it’s as simple as of scrolling through various options, signing it and sending it away to the manager for storage as a PDF file. All this is done without the hassle of multiple forms or filing, and leaves you with more time to get the job done.

SafeWorkPro gets you on the job quicker, with more safety and in total compliance.

Workcover Risk Assessment Matrix

Every state and territory in Australia has its own form of Workcover which means that this is only a broad example of a industry standard risk assessment matrix. Although Workcover deals with risk assessment reports for matters of workers’ compensation, it is not directly involved in the process of writing risk assessments. Nonetheless each state or territory’s Workcover does provide a risk assessment guide for matrices but some are better than others. For instance take a look at this example of risk assessment matrix from Workcover NSW.

It’s very simple and does not serve as a exemplary industry benchmark for a compliance risk assessment matrix but it does serve to convey the underlying meaning of what is a risk assessment matrix. Each risk or hazard is allocated a number. The higher the risk, the higher the number and the same rule is applied to the likelihood of a risk occurring. Then these numbers are multiplied together and an aggregated number for the total risk involved in any workplace is given. For a more thorough risk assessment matrix example check out the below template from SafeWorkPro.