09.13
2019

Construction-Site Safety 101

It’s no secret that construction sites can be hazardous places to work. Typically, there is a lot going on and a ton of moving parts, all working together toward one end goal: a successfully executed project. Amid the seeming calamity, however, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind so that your crew is staying as safe as possible. Here, we lay out a few essential safety tips, as provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Provide easy access to first aid and medical care.
As we mentioned, construction sites tend to be risky territory where injuries are not all that uncommon. Help to mitigate the seriousness of any accidents by providing proper first aid on-site. If your site is not within reasonable proximity to a medical facility, be sure to have at least one person with valid first-aid training on-site at all times.

Supply all employees with protective gear.
If they need protective gear to do the job, it’s your responsibility to provide it. This includes helmets, gloves, goggles, breathing apparatus … anything an employee might require for the task at hand.

Maintain all fire protection equipment.
This might seem like basic knowledge, but one misstep can be the difference between a mishap and a disaster. Keep fire extinguishers full and abundant, and establish a fire preparedness program so your team knows what to do in the case of an incident.

Regularly remove debris.
Of course, it’s a construction site, so there are bound to be regular buildups of rubbish as work progresses. But it’s important to keep worksites clean and, when it comes to combustible debris, a safe means for regular removal must be provided.

Make sure scaffolding can bear the weight.
Don’t take any risks when it comes to scaffolding. This construction staple should be able to hold at least four times the maximum amount you intend for it to hold at any given time.

Implement a workflow tool.
It may not seem like it, but having the right workflow tool can be essential to operating a safer construction site. For example, using our Wireless Forms, which come with an optional Form Workflows feature, can help to make sure your team is staying on task as they take on various projects. With the ability to share forms between colleagues, you can mandate that workers have the proper signoff on each leg of any given project before moving on to the next step. This helps to prevent careless accidents from occurring due to mistakenly skipped steps along the way.

For even more helpful advice (as well as regulations), just head over to OSHA’s website. With the right tools in place — plus a little common sense — you can help make sure your construction site is as safe as possible.

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08.21
2019

Encore’s Capabilities During Mission-Critical Situations

When emergencies strike for a mobile workforce, the ability to retain connectivity is crucial. Organizations that are tasked with disaster recovery efforts in particular need ways to efficiently communicate more than ever when bandwidth is stretched thin and communication channels are limited. With the power of Encore, Actsoft’s premier solution, organizations can have an easier time directing their mobile employees, collecting data in the field, and restoring order during emergency situations.

Encore provides multiple ways for departments to send and receive data with their mobile employees through features like Wireless Forms, Job Dispatching, and Intra-Company Messaging; plus, the solution’s ability to operate over Wi-Fi and cellular networks alike gives your workforce the versatility it needs to stay in tune with itself during periods of connectivity shortage. Data collection is able to remain even more secure throughout the entire process with Encore Vault, our newest solution tier.

In addition to helping facilitate strong communication between the office and the field, Encore can provide your team with even more ways to increase its safety protocols through greater insight. Organizations in remediation services, the public sector, and waste collection can rely on our solution’s GPS Tracking functionality to see all aspects of their mobile workforces at once and keep their personnel safer through positional data that’s brought straight to their solution’s live view map. If an employee is injured on the job while performing work, their pinpointed location can be easily identified, allowing dispatchers to send out assistance to them quickly and efficiently.

Encore remains a valuable tool for organizations that are called upon during mission-critical situations because of its ability to enhance communication and visibility for their mobile workforces. With features for location monitoring, secure instant messaging, and versatile dispatching, your organization can be better prepared for the next emergency event and save time and money throughout the entire process.

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07.16
2019

Managing a Construction Worksite with Encore

In any construction operation, it’s critical for the office to know what’s happening at its project locations in near real-time. However, managing workforce safety, asset security, and employee accountability all at once can prove to be a difficult task for supervisors to maintain if the right solutions aren’t being used. Actsoft’s flagship application Encore enables construction companies to get the most out of their operations by helping them better protect their equipment, stay in OSHA compliance, and remain on track with building project timelines. Here are just a few of the useful features Encore can provide to companies looking to enhance the ways they manage their construction worksites:

Intra-Company Messaging

Build stronger communication channels between your managers and construction workers in the field by using Intra-Company Messaging to relay new information on the fly. Desktop-to-handset integration allows your administrators at the office to message multiple employees at once, saving time and resources. Past conversations can also be reviewed for reference if need be, and your team members can relay project statuses or any new materials requests back to the office using this powerful tool.

GPS Tracking and Geofences

Communication between headquartered administrators and your remote teams is certainly valuable, but our solution takes workforce insight a step further than just Intra-Company Messaging. With GPS Tracking and Geofences, you can draw specified digital boundaries around your building sites on Encore’s live view map, see employee and equipment locations, and be notified any time the perimeters are breached by tracked points of interest. Enhance the transparency of your workforce by using this tandem of tools to help ensure tasks are being completed and that employees are at their assigned locations during working hours.

Asset Recovery

Leave the heavy machinery your company needs in the field overnight and monitor it with Encore’s GPS-enabled technology. If one of your tracked assets becomes lost, you can see its position via the solution’s live view map and easily recover it. In addition to helping prevent expensive costs to replace stolen or misplaced equipment, you can use asset tracking to make sure that no tools are being used improperly after working hours have ceased for the day. Encore’s proficiency in improving workforce, asset, and fleet efficiency makes it a powerful companion for any construction business.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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02.01
2019

How to Prevent the Flu at Work

As you probably know, we’re right in the heart of flu season. Though it may seem like we’re a little late to the game here, with sub-Arctic temperatures making their way into the country and a polar vortex to reckon with, we thought it a good opportunity to review some of the best practices for fending off illnesses in the workplace.

When your workforce is largely mobile, there can be even more to worry about, as far as tracking germs and bacteria into the office. They may be interacting more with the general public, increasing their exposure to bugs that spread like wildfire, particularly when brought back to the confines of an office.

That being said, even though there’s a good chance you’re already doing these, if any aren’t already a part of your regimen — you know who you are — let this serve as a strongly encouraged reminder to do your part, since illnesses can bring productivity to a screeching halt.

Wash your hands.
You know the drill. If you use the bathroom, please wash your hands. (While you’re at it, it’s really a good idea to just go ahead and make this one a priority year round.) It doesn’t take long and every doorknob, conference room table, company vehicle, punch clock, and colleague/customer hand will be better off as a result.

Watch what you touch.
It’s basically second nature, and you’re probably doing it without realizing, but this time of year, do your best to avoid touching your face, particularly your nose, mouth, and eyes. Consider these ports of entry into your body. Excessive touching essentially lays out a red carpet for germs and welcomes them in with fanfare.

Guard those sneezes.
If you feel a sneeze (or a cough, for that matter) coming on, turn your head away from anyone nearby and unleash into the relative safety of your elbow pit. If one sneaks up on you and your hands become a human sneeze guard, you know the drill: Wash your hands.

Clean up after yourself.
Have you been making a habit of cleaning up your desk on a regular basis? We’re not talking decluttering here. (Though that’s another excellent habit to increase productivity.) At least once a week, it’s a good idea to pick up some antibacterial cleaner and give your desk, keyboard, lamp, etc., a good wipe down.

Go home.
Coming down with an illness? Talk to your team leader (from a safe distance), pack up, and go home to get some rest. If you wake up sick, call to let your superior know, and then stay home. Keep your germs and/or viruses out of the office, away from customers, and just focus on feeling better.

Reach out to your doctor.
If your symptoms are beyond that of a common cold, persistent with no sign of slowing down, or you just need reassurance, it’s time to make a call to your doctor. That’s what they’re there for. Better to have official word from an expert so you can get yourself back on track as soon as possible.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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01.18
2019

5 Tips for Improving Employee Safety

When it comes to safety in the workplace, following a set of guidelines can be a surefire way to make sure your team is staying as safe as possible. Here, we list out a set of five top-level rules that will help keep your whole crew focused on doing their jobs properly.

Never take shortcuts.
In the race to get to the finish line, it may seem like the perfect solution is to skip a step here and there, if it gets you to the end faster, right? But there’s a problem when you take that approach: You may be able to push something off your plate a little faster and bask in the glory of some kudos at your impressive turnaround time, but at what cost? What impact might those skipped steps, small as they may seem, have on the project down the road? If we’re talking the construction world, even the slightest misstep can be a catalyst for a series of detrimental repercussions. Work quickly and efficiently, but be thorough.

Get enough sleep.
Not to sound like an overprotective parent, but: Are you staying up too late at night and heading to work on a half-empty tank? It’s not just that getting the proper amount of sleep is better for your overall health, but when you aren’t fully rested, you can’t think at full capacity, your reaction time slows down, and you become forgetful. All of these can easily lead to dangerous work situations, particularly out in the field. Moral of the story? There’s a simple solution: Get to bed at a decent hour.

Clean up after yourself.
We’re not talking about the clutter on your desk, here. (Though, as we’ve discussed previously, there are plenty of benefits there.) But when you’re dealing with industrial equipment, tools, or even just warehouse stock, it’s hazardous to yourself and others when things aren’t put where they should be. The last thing anyone wants is an injury because a machine wasn’t properly tended to, or boxes of inventory were haphazardly stacked in a rush.

Follow the rules.
This seems a bit obvious, but it warrants revisiting. If you’re working on a construction site and hardhats are required, wear them. If you’re constantly on the road, obey all the signs and signals. (Yes, even when the light’s yellow but you just know there’s plenty of time to make it through … Don’t.) There’s a reason these rules are in place, and it’s potentially costly and dangerous water to tread when you decide it’s okay to take them lightly.

Ask questions.
Drop all misconceptions about how it appears when you ask “too many” questions. Of course, when you work in a specific industry, there’s a certain level of knowledge you are expected to have. But if questions arise, and you’re truly confused about the proper course of actions for a task, go ahead and ask for clarification. It’s better to double check and do it the right way than to wing it and face possible issues that could have been avoided.

Just by following a few simple rules, you’ll find that not only will production run a lot smoother, regardless of your industry, but you’ll be faced with far fewer accidents in the workplace. The environment you provide for your staff will be significantly safer and, as a direct result, morale will be elevated.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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01.09
2019

Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Certificates

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have long had to comply with various safety precautions to ensure they’re alert on the road during long drives and amid poor driving conditions. One of these mandates is a clean bill of health.

The National Registry of Medical Examiners was created to reduce highway accidents according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Requiring CMV drivers to have up-to-date medical certificates is based on various reports, such as National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) crash investigations, which indicates that improper medical certification of CMV drivers with serious disqualifying medical conditions has directly contributed to fatal and injury crashes.

A school bus and truck collision in New Jersey illustrates the importance of certified medical examiners, according to the NTSB. The school bus driver involved in the crash received his medical certification in January 2012, before medical examiners were required to have training. The FMCSA had no regulatory authority over the examining doctor, there were no federal training or certification programs to ensure that examiners were familiar with the regulations, and there was no national registry of examiners. However, examiners were expected to exercise good medical judgment and carefully evaluate each person on whom they performed a physical examination (Herner, Smedvy, and Ysander 1966).

According to the investigation, in this case, the medical examiner, a chiropractor, never saw the school bus driver before and did not obtain medical records or consults from the driver’s primary care and specialist doctors. The extent to which the medical examiner verbally discussed the driver’s chronic low back pain and diagnosis of alcoholism (and alcohol abuse), which are underlying potentially disqualifying conditions, is not known. Moreover, it is unknown to what extent he discussed the prescription medications he was aware of, even though he wrote on the commercial driver’s license (CDL) form that they do not interfere with driving. Therefore, the NTSB concludes that the CDL medical examiner did not thoroughly evaluate the school bus driver for medical conditions that could have disqualified him from receiving a CDL. The NTSB also concludes that based on the school bus driver’s combination of medical conditions and use of multiple prescription medications, it is likely that he would not have been medically certified to drive a school bus if he had fully disclosed his medical history on the CDL medical certification.
While it’s impossible to know what a driver’s habits are on a daily basis, it’s crucial to put measures in place to ensure the safety of vehicles and passengers on roadways, as illustrated by the New Jersey crash.

Along with required medical examinations by now-certified medical examiners, as well as the newly passed Hours of Service legislation, there are other measures companies themselves can institute to ensure driver safety. GPS tracking has long been a popular tool to maintain watch of driver behavior — which would have been impossible pre-technology. Now, for pennies a day, fleet-based companies, or any business who uses drivers to deliver services or goods, can monitor a host of behaviors.

What can I monitor?

  • Driver speeds
  • Idling
  • Fast braking
  • Travel outside of authorized areas
  • Rapid acceleration

Each of these behaviors can be set up to alert managers and office personnel so that a driver can be notified that they are breaking a rule and must modify their behavior before an accident or other liability happens. Moreover, weekly or monthly reports can be created to get a snapshot of driver activity, to compare behavior from month-to-month or to compare drivers with each other.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.25
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Construction

Actsoft solutions help to power forward the construction industry by bringing dispersed workforces together. Three of the most important things for effective building strategies are consistently meeting deadlines, ensuring that worker safety remains accounted for, and protecting assets around the clock. All of these critical objectives can be attained using the capabilities of our software.

Stay right on schedule

Once a building project has been planned and announced, the clock is immediately ticking on its completion. One of the best ways for contractors to establish a sterling reputation with their customers is to consistently deliver on project timelines, and features of our solutions like Wireless Forms and Mobile Timekeeping make it easy to do. By allowing workers to complete more of their daily tasks while away from the home office, these tools help companies save time and money effectively.

Enhance work site safety

Construction work often times requires heavy machinery, which can carry a certain degree of danger. Actsoft’s GPS Tracking tool makes the pinpointed locations of employees readily available to see, so companies know exactly where their staff are in case of a critical situation. Dispatching is another powerful feature of our software that can help to keep employees safe, as it enables construction businesses to send out requests for assistance nearly instantly via wireless notifications, whenever an emergency might occur.

Keep important equipment secure

Heavy machinery like bulldozers, cranes, and crawler excavators can cost thousands of dollars to replace if lost. Thankfully, contracting companies can use Actsoft’s Asset Tracking technology to be constantly in-the-know about where their important construction equipment is. The ability to leave machinery dispersed in the field overnight gives businesses an immense amount of extra potential for savings, and with custom alerts for unauthorized movements, contracting businesses can rest assured that their assets are monitored around the clock.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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04.30
2018

Welding: A Trade That’s Becoming More Valuable Than Ever

Welding is a profession that makes everything from wrought-iron fencing to skyscraper infrastructure possible, and in today’s ever-modernizing world, it couldn’t be more important. The process of transforming raw metals into specialized objects is a fascinating one to watch, and with torches often times reaching temperatures in excess of 5,000 degrees when heating up metals, welding requires a unique skillset of close attention to detail and prolonged stamina.

Within the realm of manufacturing, welding as a trade has grown and developed significantly. The scope of sectors that this valuable profession now has a part in is wide-ranging. Construction, modern art, aviation and aerospace technologies are just a few of the industries that rely on skilled welders for different aspects of their respective operations, making it a trade that’s certainly booming in the 21st century.

Machinery’s rise has given further fuel to the trade of metal-working’s explosive growth, and as mechanical power becomes increasingly commonplace, the demand for skilled welders continues to skyrocket. At Actsoft, we understand the importance of manufacturing and welding jobs to the world’s economy of today. As a result, we’ve taken steps to design cutting-edge applications that can assist in facilitating ideal operations for businesses in these spheres.

Welding can be a dangerous job, with torches heating metal to thousands of degrees and showers of scalding hot sparks frequently peppering the work zones of employees. GPS and Asset Tracking alike let companies in this line of work know exactly where their remote employees are in near real-time, leaving no emergency situation to chance. Any expensive or potentially dangerous work equipment belonging to a company is also able to be closely monitored using Asset Tracking and geofencing within our suite of solutions. Trucks that are stocked with valuable equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace, and if they’re constantly being monitored for unapproved activities, administrative teams in welding and manufacturing can enjoy true peace of mind when it comes to managing the placement of their business assets.

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04.12
2018

Workflow Checks and Construction-Site Safety

Last week in St. Petersburg, a bustling city just south of Actsoft’s home base in Tampa, a giant crane — roughly ten stories tall — tasked with hauling heavy loads of construction material, toppled to the ground. It narrowly missed at least one worker on the ground by just a few feet, while many others scrambled for safety. Thankfully there were no serious injuries reported. The mishap took place at the site of the future St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters and was apparently the result of the crane operator attempting to move too much weight at once.

A different crane crashed to its side earlier this year in Austin, Texas, while attempting to lift a large concrete slab. In this case, one of the chains attached to the wall appeared to snap, setting forth a series of events that left the large piece of equipment laying horizontal on the ground. (Again, there were fortunately no serious injuries.)

Naturally, it’s always in everyone’s best interest to avoid any type of mishap. That goes without saying. But construction sites are prime spots for them to happen. There’s a lot of large equipment, generally many people engaged in a lot of different projects, and plenty of interference from the elements, among other factors. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to not only be prepared to shift gears in the event that something does happen, but to take all the proper precautions ahead of time, and putting procedures into place that can help prevent disasters before they happen.

That’s where Actsoft’s tools can come into play. For example, crews can use Wireless Forms to help guarantee all necessary steps are complete before advancing to the next stage of any project. And with the new Form Workflows feature, a single form can be digitally passed from one worker to the next, just as projects tend to pass through many hands; if a step is inadvertently missed, or something isn’t up to snuff, the form can be bounced back to make sure each action is properly completed.

Take the recent incident in St. Pete. While local news reports cited user error for the crane tipping, what if a daily reminder (via checklist) could have helped prevent too much cargo from being lifted inappropriately? There were no injuries, but there very easily could have been. Plus, think of the time lost, and the expense, that came from what turned out to be an easily avoidable mistake. (Not to mention, the trauma from those involved in the experience itself.)

Proper checks and balances are what keep a business running smoothly. With systems in place to maintain standard operating procedures, things run a lot more efficiently and safely. And because of that, at the end of the day, all parties involved benefit.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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