Site inductions: What to look for in a construction safety induction

Leigh Roberts

Customer advocate & business process specialist

When work is done in high-risk environments like construction sites, safety inductions are likely to be a key part of your health and safety programme.

Mandatory in nature, inductions ensure that everyone, including contractors and visitors, understand your site's health and safety needs and risks and what they should do in an emergency.  

But given that each project is different, and that safety needs often vary from stage to stage, what areas should an induction cover as good practice? After all, inductions are often less complex at a single-story house than at a large commercial complex.

We have setup dozens of inductions for our construction customers working on projects of all sizes. From our experience these are the most common areas they you should aim to cover in your inductions:

  • Site-specific rules and hazards that workers and visitors need to be aware of. These could relate to working from heights and are usually linked to the control measures required to mitigate the risk, such as compulsory safety harness use and PPE.
  • How to report incidents and hazards on the site.
  • Emergency and evacuation procedures for the site.
  • Fire safety procedures for the site and equipment.
  • Any codes of practice and technical standards that apply to the work being done.
  • Plans that identify any restricted areas.
  • How to access site documents like safety data sheets, policies, and plans.

Daily challenges of running paper-based safety inductions

Site managers and general contractors are constantly being pulled from one task to the next. All are important, but arguably, none are more important than keeping everyone safe.

Often, site managers are tied up running inductions – either running them at fixed times each day or running rolling inductions as contractors arrive. They must balance creating an open, inclusive, safety-first culture, yet neither approach is overly time efficient.

A big part of safety today is being able to demonstrate compliance. Site Managers face a paperwork battle here – even when they are doing the right things, they need evidence to prove it. The risk of losing signed paperwork showing contractors have completed, understood, and agreed to an induction is genuine.  

Another challenge is keeping induction content current and accurate. The situation onsite can change from day-to-day, and an induction should reflect any changes as soon as possible. In a similar vein, updating and maintaining paper material safety sheets and site documents is also challenging.

Finally, paper-based incident reporting faces challenges on two levels. For the contractor, when logging a near-miss involves traipsing back to the site office and potentially creating a delay in their work progress, it acts as a barrier to logging an incident report. For the Site Manager, reviewing the incident report and sending it to the Health and Safety manager takes time –and often faces delays.

There is a solution to these issues when everyone working on construction sites is responsible for safety. Rolling out user-friendly apps and software that solve challenges that site managers and contractors face daily must be a consideration.

When it’s time to move from paper-based workflows to online inductions

Recent research from Autodesk* noted that 33% of construction companies in Australia use mobile apps – and that a further 39% intend to use them in the future.  Apps that roll together key capabilities give greater value to the company, contractors, and site managers. Businesses get a bigger bang for their buck as they solve more problems, while contractors and site managers benefit from the familiarity of using just one app for many onsite tasks.

When considering contractors and site managers’ productivity, you should look for induction software that:

  • Includes pre-built induction templates. Using a pre-built template and then customizing it to your needs will give your induction setup a head start.
  • Is customizable to how people learn. A good induction can be tailored to how your contractors learn. The ability to include graphics, videos, stories, and examples will help your users understand and remember the concepts. People often struggle to remember the exact building code or regulation, but they will remember what not to do if you share relevant explanations and examples.
  • Includes signature recording. The ability for person taking induction to sign it off confirming that they have read and understood it (and the date is recorded against this).
  • Runs knowledge reviews. Being able to test a person’s knowledge of the key points at the end of the induction and record their result.
  • Includes custom induction expiry. Solutions should accommodate shorter horizon expiry dates if risks changes frequently as well as up to a year from completion for more stable sites.  
  • Can run different inductions depending on the task the contractor is completing on site.
  • Is auditable. Being able to easily interrogate the data and determine where the gaps are in any processes is vitally important. Tools that give you this kind of insight allow you to build a continuous improvement outlook.
  • Has appropriate data retention and security levels. Check that you can customize the data retention timeframes. If your project will take several years to complete, will the induction data be available over the project's entire duration?

A good induction sets the tone for your approach to safety. It tells your contractors and visitors that they're valued and important when well run. When valued, people are more likely to participate in critical safety-building activities. We're all keen to avoid inductions with a box-ticking undertone, as these are detrimental to fostering a safety-first culture.

Try EVA Check-in for inductions today

EVA Check-in is a safety first, time-saving sign-in and induction tool for site managers who want to improve safety and reduce risk on their construction sites. When using EVA Check-in, inductions and record keeping are automated giving Site Managers back time for other tasks – whether that is coaching a contractor on a site-specific safety measure or reviewing the daily run sheet. Our customers report that each site saves about 30 minutes a day when using EVA Check-in for inductions and sign-in.

When you’re ready to set up your own induction (remember you don’t have to create it from scratch as we have a number of pre-built templates ready to customise), start a free 14-day trial here.


Related articles