How teams can elevate construction safety and security on the jobsite with technology.
Construction professionals have traditionally put a lot of energy into ensuring their teams were safe on the project site, but in today’s tech-enabled world there’s more to safety and security than ever before. While getting employees home safe to their families is priority #1 for any construction firm, achieving that goal has its own challenges. Furthermore, what it means to be ‘safe’ in construction has changed as technology has evolved.
Going beyond physical safety, construction firms now need to be vigilant about securing their sensitive information and data. Today, no industry is immune to the potential harm of security breaches. Being vigilant about data security protects the bottom line of both the company and the customers that you work for.
If you need a primer on data security best practices and how they impact modern construction technology and software, look no further than our new eBook titled “Security 101: 5 Best Practices in Construction Software.”
Ensuring Safety on a Jobsite
Many contractors are finding innovative ways to get their teams excited about safety, ranging from safety incentives for zero injury incidents to actively participating in Safety Week discussions and presentations. With organizations like Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK and other similar organizations across the globe–it’s clear construction safety and security have become important considerations for most.
Clear and Effective Communication
It goes without saying that communication is an important part of any construction project. What’s more important is that all safety procedures are clearly and effectively communicated to your team. This can be delivered by conducting daily talks before work starts each day, holding monthly safety meetings that dig into bigger topics with the entire team present and having project leaders walk the jobsite daily.
It’s important to remember that when your senior executives share safety information and incentives, it’s often more impactful to those who don’t have day-to-day exposure to the executive team. It’s good practice for your leadership team to frequently spend time at the projects in progress. Their efforts will have a measurable impact on the effectiveness of your safety programs.
Many teams have been implementing different types of safety incentives on their projects for years. The execution can vary, but the goal is always the same: a reduction in accidents and injuries on the project.
A safety incentive is a reward granted after a set amount of time on a project with zero injuries. These prizes vary in size and value, but the goal is the same. Don’t get hurt and you will get rewarded. Make sure your incentives are communicated properly to the team by senior management, otherwise team members may attempt to hide an injury to prevent the loss of the incentive for their team.
Technology and Software
With the increasing presence of technology on jobsites, it’s no surprise that there are now ways to leverage technology and software with a framework of safety. Many have started using drones to safely take aerial photos of project progress or view locations that people could not enter safely.
Teams are also using wearables that provide real-time insight into their workers’ wellbeing. These tools can offer insight into when the wearer slips, trips or falls. Other tools can even monitor biometrics of workers, allowing safety managers to know when a worker needs help. Construction software tools can also send push notifications to everyone’s mobile devices, sending emergency notifications and alerting them to critical safety information.
However, with the increasing amounts of devices and software that are being accessed on a jobsite comes an elevated need for software security. To learn more about security for modern construction technology and software, download our new eBook titled “Security 101: 5 Best Practices in Construction Software.”
The SOC’s of Software Security
With the introduction of software comes an elevation of risk associated with project data. To address these risks, three forms of compliance were created; SOC1, SOC2 and SOC3. They are based on standard security practices and technology requirements. Since hosting data in the cloud presents more opportunities for hacking, data theft and illegal access–software services must meet a high standard of security.
The SOC standards of compliance were designed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Prior to 2014, vendors selling Cloud SaaS services were only required to meet SOC1. This standard is basic in requirements compared to SOC2 or SOC3.
SOC2 was introduced in 2014 by the AICPA and is an advancement over the previous requirements. As of 2018, all cloud-based SaaS vendors storing customer data are required to meet SOC2 requirements. PlanGrid understands the importance of security and has undergone an audit to ensure and maintain SOC2 compliance.
SOC3 remains optional for most data centers and SaaS vendors, but some companies are voluntarily undergoing the audit process. These reports are published publicly to demonstrate how a cloud-based service is performing in the security- and data-handling field.
How to Evaluate Construction Software and Technology
It’s important that those responsible for purchasing construction software and technology ask the right questions during the evaluation process. Some tools may not adhere as closely as others to best practices and may take unnecessary risks with your data.
Be sure to check online for reported data breaches and leaks linked to the vendor or software tool under evaluation. Check for breaches related to every tool owned by the parent company of the one under consideration. Most SaaS providers sell more than one service and all of those services can share security risks. Ask if they notify their customers about data breaches. If so, determine how quickly they are contractually required to do so.
Local, Cloud and Online Security
The security procedures in place at your vendor’s physical offices and data centers are just as important as the security of the data located in the cloud. All the cloud security in the world doesn’t mean much if a would-be data thief can walk in undetected and snag a server or laptop.
When it comes to the cloud, it’s important to understand where your data is physically being stored and how secure it is. Ask questions about their data backup processes and how they manage onsite security. Finally, ask for any and all security certificates they have received. Hopefully, they have a SOC2 certificate in hand for peace of mind.
For the full rundown on evaluating construction software and technology, download our new eBook titled, “Security 101: 5 Best Practices in Construction Software.”