Tackling the Indirect Costs of a Construction Project

There are several sneaky ways that costs can climb on a construction project. Safety, quality, and productivity contribute to either the success or failure of a job on a daily basis. To tackle the indirect costs and avoid throwing money at problems, the potential indirect costs must be identified. Once identified, project leaders can work on preventing the root causes of indirect costs on the job and educate project personnel on their responsibilities in this proactive approach to the job.

Sneaking costs of safety

Many workers and supervisors start thinking about safety after an unplanned and undesirable event occurs. The event could be a worker injury or property damage incident. The incident will require response, and that’s when the indirect costs begin to add up.

Traditional indirect costs of an incident include days away from work for a severely injured worker, lower productive time for an injured worker who returns to work with restrictions, lost productivity of workers who witnessed or were otherwise impacted by a severe injury or incident, and time for supervisors and other parties to complete an incident investigation.

Of course, indirect costs related to an injury or incident can be prevented by preventing an incident in the first place! Use previous incident investigations as a tool to identify root causes and prevention activities related to the work at the site. The goal of incident investigation is to prevent recurrence of the same injury or incident, not to create more paperwork to file.

OSHA 300 Logs from previous years can help you identify trends in injuries. Then, look to the corresponding incident reports for further detail. If corrective actions were not identified during the initial incident investigation, go through that process NOW. Implementing corrective actions related to previous incidents can prevent future incidents and future indirect costs of incident response.

Frequent inspection of the project for safety conditions is another great way to identify potential incidents. Haz-Trac makes inspection easy by allowing workers to snap photos of positive or negative observations. The app can send instant notifications to project stakeholders like managers, supervisors, and those who have the authority to make the corrections needed.

Haz-Trac completes the loop by allowing workers to take photos of corrected observations to demonstrate that unsafe conditions and actions are being identified and fixed, thus preventing potential sources of indirect costs to the job.

Training and retraining

Often, training needs take a back burner to production goals. A site can solve a lot of problems proactively by taking the time to ensure workers have the right training to do their job safely, BEFORE they start the job.

When a new worker arrives at the site, use the site’s new employee orientation program right away without delay. When a new piece of equipment arrives at the site, conduct operator/user training before workers are authorized to use the equipment. If a new process is required for a task, conduct training to ensure workers understand the hazards and controls.

The Haz-Trac app allows workers to identify hazards and how to correct them. Often, an unsafe condition can be prevented from recurring by ensuring workers receive appropriate training. Identifying trends in observations over the course of a month or quarter can determine topics that should be part of future training at the jobsite.

Following your site’s and company’s training guidelines can save you time and money in the long run by preventing an incident. If an incident does occur, take the time to conduct remedial or refresher training as appropriate. Be specific, remember that the goal of post-incident training is prevention of recurrence of future similar incidents.

Quality quicksand

Statistics have shown that incidents are more likely to occur when conducting rework. Rework is often a given on any construction site, however stricter quality control and quality assurance programs on a site can minimize the amount of rework required on a particular job. Most sites do require several inspection processes as well as third party inspection to ensure quality of installations and work.

As with anything on a site, planning is key. If quality inspections must occur on a specific timeline, identify dates and times and stick to them. Engage with third party inspectors to understand any problems as quickly as possible. When conducting rework activities, the site’s safety and health procedures still apply.

Productivity problems

Poor planning is a foundation of failure on a project. Planning is key to a successful construction project and it requires all project staff to be on board. Attendance at production and planning meetings and follow-through of plans is essential. When deviations must occur, communication is extremely important. Miscommunication can lead to confusion amongst the crews causing unnecessary downtime and increased indirect costs.

Tackle the indirect costs through inspection

The good news is that all of these sources of indirect costs can be prevented! Frequent site inspection and communication of findings can impact safety, quality, and productivity in a positive way. When a site’s personnel are looking out for safety on a job through inspection, they are more apt to identify quality and productivity issues as well. They also may begin to connect dots on how rework and productivity problems can impact safety, leading to indirect costs due to incidents.

The Haz-Trac app makes everyone on a construction site an inspector. Personnel are empowered to identify issues and good practices, allowing site leaders to be proactive in planning.