A software program developed by one of the country's biggest construction firms has won an industry award for its ability to enhance safety on jobsites.
The RiskX program from Suffolk won a Safety Innovation Award on Nov. 14 from the Building Trades Employers’ Association’s (BTEA), which recognizes companies who have created a new idea, device or method to increase jobsite safety. The mobile-based observation and activity tracking system allows workers to enter real-time data about project site safety trends into an app so the data can be tracked and measured.
After a yearlong beta test, Suffolk saw a 29% decrease in lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) and a 27% decline in Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR), while also increasing 12% of total hours worked, a spokesperson told Construction Dive.
Since its development in 2017, RiskX made further developments into technological-enabled safety by partnering with image analysis firm Smartvid.io and merging its technology with the AI capabilities of Smartvid’s solution.
The two companies developed a solution that could combine more than 10 years of historical project data with other existing data so they could apply a predictive algorithm to “teach” the system the hazards that could lead to accidents and alert staff of heightened risk situations so teams can take immediate action before safety incidents occur.
The merger of the RiskX and Smartvid technologies demonstrates the key role technology and AI can play in safeguarding workers and construction sites, and has allowed Suffolk to create an advanced infrastructure for predictive analytics that leverages AI and machine learning to predict the likelihood of an incident occurring under certain parameters.
“We wanted to leverage our data even more,” said Jit Kee Chin, executive vice president and chief data officer for Suffolk. “Can you look ahead instead of looking back? Can you get ahead of the problem?”
The company uses RiskX and Smartvid.io to compile and evaluate data as part of its role in the Predictive Analytics Strategic Council, which was launched earlier this year to share and analyze safety data from construction firms across the country. The council relies on Smartvid.io's artificial intelligence-based system that aggregates information from each of the firms to help predict future incidents and hazards.
Suffolk developed RiskX when the firm found some redundancies in its inspection process, and wanted to find a risk-focused approach that would also improve engagement between managers and leadership on site and in the office, said Alex Hall, executive vice president for Suffolk Business Systems.
“The first thing is to go out and catch someone doing something right,” Hall said, adding that the positive reinforcement is a big element of improving the process. After that, safety inspectors look for as many hazards on site and document them through photos.
When an issue is documented, the inspector then discusses it with the worker most closely exposed to that hazard to do something about to ensure it’s fixed, Hall said.
If no action is taken, the app automatically escalates the issue and brings it to the attention of the inspector’s manager. Suffolk then takes the data, Hall said, and uses the photographs with predictive analytics to look at the bigger picture and determine better practices and how to avoid hazards in the future.
Suffolk owns RiskX, but the Smartvid app is available to all contractors for their safety and inspection efforts.
“In safety, there is no benefit keeping it to yourself,” Chin said.