Tech Solves the Problem of Verifying Worker Training in Field

It’s a scenario that happens too often. A worker operating a piece of equipment nearly causes a serious accident. The foreman later finds out that the worker wasn’t qualified to use the machine.

Construction companies-both general contractors and subcontractors—need the ability to make accurate worker training records immediately available to supervisors, safety inspectors, auditors, safety officers, training managers and administrative staff. Workers need access to their records so they’ll know which certifications are expiring so they can sign up for recertification. Ensuring that only qualified employees are assigned to potentially hazardous jobs is a foundation of safety.

QR code technology is at the heart of one solution.

QR Codes Connect Training Records to Phone Screen

Quick Response (QR) codes can tie all this together. QR Code is the trademark name for the two-dimensional barcode system. It’s the black-and-white square that’s on everything from advertisements to inventory. It was invented in 1994 by a Toyota subsidiary to track vehicles as they were assembled and to scan components at high speeds. QR codes hold 100 times more data than one-dimensional barcodes and they can be digitally scanned.

To track employee training, a unique code is generated and assigned to each employee. The code can be imprinted on the worker’s photo ID card, hardhat or silicone bracelet. Codes can be read scanning the code with a smartphone or tablet. Linking the device to the employee’s profile on the cloud, the code gives the user access to:

§ training records such as courses completed, recent recertifications, qualifications and skills, internal and external classwork and class attendance lists;

§ complementary information such as health insurance, background checks and drug tests; and

§ additional Information such as emergency medical information (including blood type and allergies), worksite documentation, verification of Identity, position or title and real-time work assignments.

QR codes can quickly update training. Instructors can automatically record who has completed a training course by scanning the QR code on the employee badge or by entering the employee’s ID number. Managers and foremen can track attendance at worksite meetings, tool-box talks, company orientation sessions and safety briefings.

Tracking safety equipment issued to employees is a way for QR codes to be used in construction. For example, new OSHA silica regulations require companies to track the usage of respirator masks. If an employee uses a mask more than 30 times a year, he needs to receive a specialized medical check-up.

Construction companies, especially those in the masonry, drywall, and demolition sectors, do not have an easy way to track issuance of respirator masks. Tracking it on paper is clumsy.

With the cloud-based system, authorized employees can scan the QR code on an employee’s badge to register the checkout of a respirator mask, a climbing harness, or another type of equipment. The database is immediately updated to record this event. Managers can always download a complete spreadsheet of all equipment checked out, by employee, to meet regulatory reporting requirements.

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