Can Predictive Analytics Improve Safety Management at Construction Sites?

The predictive analytics is a relatively “young” branch of the advanced analytics, which has already proved to have immense potential. It uses data obtained from different sources to make predictions about the future. For instance, Amazon already takes the advantage of the predictive analytics’ power by showing customers products they may be interested in. Google Dengue Trends is one more real-world example.

We are sure that predictive analytics can become a key piece of the puzzle for safety managers. Historical data that the managers possess represents a rich vein of historical safety information that researchers can use for making predictions.

Workplace Safety

The workplace safety is the issue that every organization has to consider in order to avoid occupational injuries. It is common knowledge that there is no completely secure environment. Human beings face risks every day and everywhere, be they at home, on their way to a grocery shop or at work. But occupational injuries translate into losses for business owners.

According to the estimates, U.S. employers pay approximately $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. Fatal injuries are not rare: e.g., there were around 5,000 total fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. in 2015.

Trainings, safety audits, and inspections are only some of the measures that organizations take to prevent risks in the workplace. The safety field generates a massive volume of information (e.g. BBS observations).

Yet, managers often put aside the data that they received quite a long ago. They prefer taking the week-look-back approach; and their future outlooks, as a rule, cover the same time span. So, the data received several years or even months ago remains mostly unused. The historical data may be accessed once again only after an accident/injury occurred.

Safety Data and Predictive Analytics

Construction is one of the industries that lead in terms of the number of fatal accidents. Construction safety managers do their best to minimize accidents and injuries. Nevertheless, negative events sometimes happen, as safety plans may differ from the workplace reality.

But what about predicting events before they take place? Organizations are increasingly aware of the benefits of the forecasts provided by predictive analytics solutions. E.g. Sales and marketing departments are currently the major users of such analytical tools. Other departments can employ them, too.

Organizations possess information that can be used to make safety predictions. In particular, the predictive analytics can utilize the following data: hazards identified during audits, workers’ age, weather conditions, a season, a day of the week, information about when the last inspection took place, the cause of the last accident, and more.

Construction Organizations and Potential Challenges

Still, construction organizations may meet some challenges while employing predictive analytics solutions. For instance, each construction project is distinct from others, but safety managers may fail to take it into account while starting to use predictions.

Predictive analytics software should be able to extract the data it needs from third-party solutions, such as case management systems, HR solutions, equipment maintenance software, ERP systems, etc. It can be also hard to gain unlimited access to third-party software due to privacy and security concerns that may rise.

EffectiveSoft specialists identified one more problem: handwritten records that many safety inspectors still prefer making while they check sites.

So, predictive analytics solutions should have handwriting recognition tools to process the notes. They should also possess image and voice recognition features, as some information may be available in these formats.

Other Advantages of Predictive Analytics Solutions

Predictive software may have other capabilities behind the must-have ones. These solutions can become a knowledge base for safety professionals by storing safety data pertaining to different construction sites.

They can be also used as a communication portal where safety managers can share their thoughts with others, ask different questions and answer them, etc.

Reporting features are another advantage: safety managers and employees from other departments can benefit from tracking changes in safety management performance over time and receiving real-time reports based on the latest or historical data.

Large organizations can run several construction projects at the same time. It is difficult to control safety management at all the sites, so they can use the reports to identify safety problems that should be solved immediately.

Conclusion

Organizations pay much attention to the workplace safety management. It is still impossible to avoid workplace accidents to the full extent, as safety professionals continue to use their intuitive predictions in many cases.

EffectiveSoft experts believe that software business intelligence solutions can empower safety managers with the predictions about negative events that may occur at a workplace in future. Safety departments can combine these predictions with their knowledge to eliminate risks for employees and ensure healthy and secure work environment.

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