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Episode 3: Global Construction Leadership During Coronavirus

By Brad Tabone on June, 15 2020

Two company leaders from the U.S. and Australia discuss specific ways they’re using safety data and technology to lead their teams through the pandemic safely — and come out the other side stronger. Tune in for a worldwide perspective as Brad Tabone discusses how construction leadership can combat COVID-19 with James Alexander from DPR Construction and Sal Palay from Kane Construction.

Hosted by Brad Tabone from HammerTech ... 

Listen to "Ep 03: Global Construction Leadership During Coronavirus" on Spreaker.

 

Brad Tabone:

975,000. That's how many US construction jobs were lost just in the month of April due to the pandemic. But while many companies are struggling to find ways to adapt in this new environment, other companies are not only surviving, but even thriving. Why? The answer comes down to a forward thinking leadership team around job site safety. Today on our podcast, we're talking to two company leaders from the US and Australia about the innovative ways that they've used safety data and technology to lead their teams through the pandemic safely and come out the other side stronger. I'm your host, Brad Tabone co-founder VP of North America for HammerTech. And I'm pleased to be joined today by James Alexander, someone that I've known since 2017 when I first came into the US. James currently works for DPR, which is an ENR top 10 construction company for the past four years previous to that, it was at Turner Construction another ENR top 10 company for six years.

And previous to that eight years at US Joiner, James is also a certified safety professional construction health and safety technician, and certified environmental safety and health trainer. From Australia, I've got my good friend Sal Palay, where we met back in 2015 at the start of HammerTech days, a lot different to what it is today. And we'll get into that. Sales assistant manager at the Melbourne Australia based Cain Construction for the past 15 years. Sal's a respected safety and management systems leader who is actively seeking improvements through proactive risk reduction strategies and implementing practical controls to help the business deliver its operations methodically, safely and efficiently. James, Sal, I finally get to kind of bring together Australia and the US and two GCs that are highly respect. I just want to ask how you both are and how your families are going through all this. James, start with you since things are probably a little bit more hairy at the moment here in the US.


James Alexander:
Yeah. Awesome. Thanks for having me. And I look forward to talking with Sal more in the future. I've been kind of waiting for this push to talk with the guys in Australia. So this is exciting for me. We're doing well. Everyone's doing as well as can be. Construction is an essential business here in the United States and nearly every state, or I think every state now. It just kind of added more to our plate, right? So we were already doing a lot and we ended up with a little more to do, but luckily here at DPR, we do have a company of leaders and there's been tiger teams assembled to kind of help us through all these processes and kind of helped us navigate this situation. My wife's been home for 70 something days.


Brad Tabone:

How's she doing? And how's your little man doing?


James Alexander:

So now she's a third grade teacher, right? And so I think she's maybe a little more strict than the teacher that Mason had before, but she's doing well, a little stir crazy at times, but yeah, she's doing well.


Brad Tabone:

And how's Mason holding up?


James Alexander:

Mason's doing good. He's pretty pumped that school's not in session. So he kind of spends his day doing homeschooling and bouncing on the trampoline and running around the neighborhood.


Brad Tabone:

Loving life in general. And Sal, how are you, mate? How are you and the family?


Sal Palay:

Look, I'm very good mate, equally pleased to be involved in the discussion today. So I first and foremost, the family as well are doing well in Australia. It is uncharted territory for us and the like for the rest of the world. It is very challenging, but we're getting through it.

 

Brad Tabone:

Moving onto the matter both of you, I'm probably starting off with James on this one, tell us how your companies have been affected by the pandemic so far. You say that it's just adding to the plate, James, but what are some of the major kind of, I guess, impacts that you're seeing at the moment and differences?


James Alexander:

There's a lot of change. Luckily, DPR is a company of leaders and we assembled some teams to put together some things for us, but essentially, we had to come up with a project mitigation plans. We had to come up with contingency plans, in case we had some positive cases, we had to come up with strategies around testing employees for admittance into the project. There was a lot of things we were already doing that helped us. So we're able to leverage technology in several ways, taking some of the stuff hands-off orientations and that kind of thing. Essentially a DPR was really able to put together local and national strategies to help us to manage with the daily changings of the CDC recommendations.


Brad Tabone:

What would you say, on top, James, at the moment, like on top of your usual work, how much would you say COVID is adding at the moment to kind of your processes?


James Alexander:

Right. So now we're in a rhythm, right? But it's that kind of shaking the bag up at the beginning where it was probably an extra 15 hours a week, on top of a 50 or 55 hour week anyway. So at the beginning it was an extra two hours a day, calls in the morning, calls at night. And then a lot of our processes were already in place where a lot of our projects, especially here in the Southeast were able to pivot and kind of react quickly, but it's been an extra workload for sure. And we did have some issues with we really work hard to partner with our partners to be teammates. So our trade partners, really working with them, but then also really close communications with our customers, our vendors. So thinking about things like supply chain and thinking about all the different aspects of the team atmosphere and construction. So it's been quite a bit.


Brad Tabone:

Holistically. The whole kind of the whole process has kind of added to, but we're starting to get in the groove of things. That's kind of what I'm also seeing. Sal over to you.


Sal Palay:

Similar to James, when it first started, everyone involved was learning. The health department and the government commenced shutting industries down. We were in a situation where we're considered an essential service. We found ourselves being scrutinized heavily by people that were in situations where they lost their jobs. When you put yourself in their shoes, it's a pretty tough situation to be in. You're working at a café. And the next thing you know, cafe's shut, you've got no job. So it was very important that the likes of employer associations, unions, and the state government, health department, the safety regulator, all established a working group. And we were involved in that. And what came of that was development of a consistent set of strict guidelines to follow, this consultative approach that was taken, provided that pathway that enabled construction work to continue with the strict COVID-19 controls in place.


Brad Tabone:

Who was involved? I'm just interested, obviously being out of Australia now, who's kind of interested in that working group? Was it like the associations and builders and unions? Was it like holistic?


Sal Palay:

Yeah. That's right. There was the Master Builders' Association and the majority of the unions, the state government, WorkSafe, the regulator, and Victoria all work together. And it was important to develop a consistent set of guidelines so that everyone's clear on what everyone needs to do because we work in an industry where there's a transient workforce and they go from one construction project to the next. It was important to have a consistent set of guidelines.


Brad Tabone:

Yeah, you take one piece of the puzzle out and then it won't work. It's got to be hopefully a multi-faceted approach of getting everybody in that melting pot. The things you've kind of stated, hearing that across the industry, unlike a lot of companies that I know. In the last episode, I talked about the tide going out and companies that hadn't invested into empowering their people to be leaders, haven't made the investment into technology for safety, or not even technology, just looked at their safety processes and simplify them and made sure they're hitting the mark. And they looked at safety more as a cost center, not like a profit center, or an integral part. I'm not going to name companies or anything, but there are those companies out there that made a large investment in this space.

There's companies that haven't made a large investment in this space, from my opinion. And the reason why I got both of you on the show is both DPR and Cain, RSW companies that invest in their people, invest in their processes, invest in technology systems. How has this helped you through the crisis rather than being a company that may be scrambling at the moment to try and find a solution? Not to say that they're better or worse. It's just that thing that they've found themselves in this position. They may have put their investment in other areas where they've found these really, really strict guidelines and new ways of working. And now they have to kind of figure it out. How has technology helped lead you through the crisis? And this time around, what are some of the specific things that may have helped you, that you already had in place this time around? I'd probably start with you, Sal.


Sal Palay:

Staff and the workers understood the importance of following the controls to maintain everyone's health. And in some ways, employment. We had the benefit of having an online platform that would initiate it some years ago, being HammerTech that we used. That online duction process was updated immediately to include the strict controls regarding the separation and the maintaining four meters squared per person, splitting start times and things like that, using online meeting platforms.

One thing that was a real concern for the workers was regarding the spread of infection from multiple people using the same smart device for the sign out process. When the pandemic hit, there was rapid development and deployment of a new update that enabled touchless signing. To be honest, that wasn't expected amid the pandemic, developing and testing and updating Android and iOS app stores and the seamless implementation, that doesn't usually happen overnight without needing major bug fixes. We certainly commended HammerTech for putting a significant amount of work in getting that up and running. We had so many people respond positively about that update because it just enabled them to effectively use their own personal device to sign an out. So that major spread of that infection from multiple people using a device was gone.

...it was important to develop a consistent set of guidelines so that everyone's clear on what everyone needs to do because we work in an industry where there's a transient workforce and they go from one construction project to the next. It was important to have a consistent set of guidelines.


Brad Tabone:

Gotcha. Now, if you were putting yourself into the shoes of a company that didn't have these processes in place, previously didn't have online inductions in place or signing tablets where the change management side of it was a step, a little bit different, but largely you had these processes in place. What's the number one thing that you would kind of, through your journey of the last two, three years, what would you say number one thing that they should be looking for? Would you say just don't even try to kind of get down the technology path at the moment, the change management is too long focused on your manual processes? Or would you say embrace technology, but realize that there is a fair change timeline to get it up and running in a way where it has that impact? What would you say? I'm interested in your thoughts.


Sal Palay:

I think people shouldn't delay embracing the technology. There's some organizations that have operated the paper-based system for a long time and finessed it over the years. They're comfortable with what they're using and may not go searching to improve, but I think that eventually they'll look back on that and say, "We've missed the boat. We haven't taken up the opportunity to improve our processes." And that's what the technology brings. We've been able to integrate screening worker's health before they commence work, using the touchless signing out process, using technology. We're able to ask people critical questions that the state government and the federal government require us to ask, and including have you returned from overseas and have you been in contact with anyone that is a confirmed case? All that sort of stuff there. Do you have flu like symptoms? We're asking that of individuals before they commence work on a daily basis, if we were to be dealing with this pandemic without technology, using a paper-based system, I just couldn't imagine us being able to do it efficiently.


Brad Tabone:

Yeah, no. I'm really, really interested in cause I know that you know that obviously effort in getting technology up and running cause there's never any silver bullets, rainbows, or unicorns, but I was just interested in someone like yourself that had run a paper system for so long that is now in technology, if you would just kind of go, "No, that too much at the moment, just stick with paper," or you move off. So I appreciate that and appreciate just putting you on the spot, mate. Sorry. James, over to DPR, mate. Obviously you've got reams of technology and different processes over there. The investment in those different technologies, how has that helped you get through the crisis?


James Alexander:

So I would say countless ways, but just as a start, just touching back on listening to Sal, it's just really interesting there's no playbook. Everything that it sounds like they're doing, there are things that we're also doing. So it's really interesting to me that there's not a guidance, but that two companies and probably many other companies that don't talk to one another are doing very similar things. And I wholeheartedly agree with everything that he said. The one thing, and I'll answer your question, but the one thing that I would touch on just about paper or just going ahead and moving towards the technology is you don't have to do everything all at once. It's looking at maybe it's HammerTech, maybe it's some other type of technology that's not safety-related or that kind of thing, but you don't have to change everything the first day.

And really, I think Brad would tell you, you can't right? So you could identify just a couple of processes directly related to this current need and then leverage that as a springboard into the future. So the touchless sign in and sign out with the questionnaire, that's something that we're doing as well. There's a couple other things that proceed that, right? So creating employers and having an orientation, but I don't think that's a crazy task to accomplish. So anyway, so I just want to kind of touch on that. I think he made great points. I just wanted to touch on the fact that you don't necessarily have to do it all at once either.


Brad Tabone:

No, no, no. And I think that's the key is that don't try and bite off everything just to start with what you've got.


James Alexander:

Because I wanted to, but you just got to be measured and kind of just chug along, but don't give up. You got to keep going and push through the trials, but yeah, it's helped so many ways. So we do a sign in, we don't do a sign out, we do a sign in, we do orientations online. We're able to collect our J's, our pre-task plans, all of our safety meetings, all those kinds of things we're able to collect leveraging technology. We have a company intranet where we're able to share all the important documents and create RACI models for different scenarios, where when we do have either a potential or a positive employee, we're able to kind of just take step one, step two, step three, call these four people. And there's a lot of things that we do. In particular to HammerTech, we continue to do our inspections online. So we've actually added COVID inspections, which some of our regions have experienced the health department coming out and doing audits of jobs. And it sounds like that's a little more prevalent in Australia to me.


Brad Tabone:

Yeah. I've been hearing that stuff, Sal, I've been hearing off the guys, the other founders and people in Australia that there's going to be spot-checking on whole bunch of stuff. Is that true, Sal?


Sal Palay:

That is true. There's certainly a lot of people through government ranks that are milling checks and businesses are also investing in additional resources to be out there doing that role, checking the COVID-19 controls are in place.


James Alexander:

I was saying, our clients are just as interested. So we might be the face of that project, but that project is very important to them. And I think everything that we do here at DPR is really based in two fundamental principles of respect for the individual. So taking precautions to make sure that people are able to work safe, not be sick, not get others sick, so respect for the individual and then ever forward. So probably when Brad and I first started talking, he saw that ever4 and he's like, "Oh, this is a company I'd probably want to work with here." And I think it's a great model. It's definitely drawn me to DPR. We certainly don't go haphazardly diving into all new technologies. We're very measured and disciplined, but we are definitely looking to even create. What is the best method for us, and how can we respect the individual? And leveraging technology falls into that. It could be around medical information related to questionnaires and/or people that have sensitive information, related to being exposed to the virus and that kind of thing.


Brad Tabone:

The question I want to ask, is are you seeing, and I would like to see kind of the Us versus Australia, are you seeing a raise, any kind of increase in incidents on site, outside of COVID? Because one thing that I've been telling a lot of people is all this attention on COVID. As we know, construction sites today, they're a high-risk environment. There's a ton of risks on sites today that you both have tried to manage for the last 15 or 20 years. And then you add COVID on top of this, where you decrease maybe the amount of communication going on site inadvertently, just because of social distancing and the rest of it, not that it's actually meant to occur.
People's focus is on COVID in the last episode, I had a quote from a superintendent on site that basically said, "I don't want to work on site. I'm scared. There was someone that went through every room, and how would you respond on behalf of a GC to me working for you?" And so there's a lot of attention towards it. Are you seeing kind of any uptick in other incidents or any trends towards that? And maybe start with you, Sal, in Australia?


Sal Palay:

Interesting question and point you raise, and to answer your question, we have experienced an increase in incidents and part of the committee that I attend, the safety committee with other businesses, they have also experienced a similar increase in incidents. And I think you're right, there's a fair amount of focus on COVID-19 and there's significant amount of information that's being fed to everyone, to our staff, to the workforce. And it's all because of that steep learning curve that we've all been through. The focus has moved away from the traditional construction safety risks. It's been very important for us to reinforce that, "Hey, we are working on an extremely high risk site and industry, and you need to respect the traditional risks associated with slips, trips, falls, and plant safety and all the rest that creates hazards on site." So yeah, interesting point your raise, and we've had to really up that communication on those traditional things that perhaps our focus has moved away from due to COVID-19.


Brad Tabone:

I guess there is a silver bullet. It's definitely the comms bit, don't necessarily take your eye off it. I think it's just inadvertently, that's a trend that anyone that I'm speaking to at the moment, they're all saying, cause all attention was on COVID and it's no one kind of went, "Oh, well wait a second, week two. We've got to put our attention back here because you're all trying to get new processes up and running," but then everyone's kind of said over the last eight to 10 weeks, they're starting to see these trends and that's why I was just kind of interested, Sal. So thank you. And James, what are you seeing over here?


James Alexander:

I would say same. I mirror really everything that Sal just said, very similar. It's not been drastic. It's nothing that's been out of control or drastic, but there has been some conversation around an uptick and then also just really kind of refocusing and yes, this is an important part of what we're doing each day, but also we can't let things go to the wayside that have made us successful for so long. So with some of these things, it's hard to kind of create a causation from what may be a correlation.


Brad Tabone:

Correct. And we're in the middle of it.


James Alexander:

Yeah. It's tough. And you have to understand too. I think some people understand, but a lot of people might miss. There's only so many hours in a week and when you're doing a $120 million high rise building or a $500 million hospital, these are huge projects that a lot of resources go into. To add more, it can be very taxing. And so again, I think it's about the company respecting the individual and understanding. Do we expect a little more out of our people? The truth is we do, but I think our leaders have done a great job of providing resources, creating extra teams around supporting projects, creating an environment where people feel comfortable just kind of speaking up like, "Hey, I have this going on. Maybe I need a couple extra superintendents. Maybe I need an extra project engineer." And I've found that I think where DPR is successful is leveraging those resources and putting your money where your mouth is and saying, "You know what? Maybe we didn't plan for five superintendents, maybe we planned for three, but because of this, we'll go ahead and allocate these resources and get this done."


Brad Tabone:

That's what true leadership is. In my opinion. That's where it really counts. And I'm a big believer in what a lot of people say, which is, "it's what you do during these times, which you will be known for in the future" and glad hearing stuff like that. And I would expect nothing less from kind of companies like, like Cain and DPR. Let's talk post pandemic. Where do you both see safety technology going? And how do you see your company leading there? And James I'll throw it to you on this one.


James Alexander:

Sky's the limit, right? There's so much. I completely embrace technology. I embrace new things. I like to think I'm relatively clever.


Brad Tabone:

I've heard that a few times.


James Alexander:

But I'm also real simple too. And I know that the fundamentals, just things that are so fundamental to safety that we've been doing in the United States and Australia, our processes are very similar. Safety can't be overcomplicated. And the objective of technology should be to streamline and simplify what I believe are just the fundamentals. So proper planning, proper training, proper leadership, engagement with the field, proper coordinator program. There's these things that I just met Sal and I would probably guarantee I just recited his playbook. These things, they are what people do. So it's about making it easier, but also effective, more effective. But we're doing a lot of things.


Brad Tabone:

It's not removing the humanity side of it. The human element of it is still the most important thing. It's not about replacing the human, it's about kind of working in conjunction.


James Alexander:

It's all about people, right? That's why I'm in this servant business that I'm in. Like I work for the people, I'm sure Sal feels the same way, in conjunction with the company. Like we have money to make, but it's about the people first. And we understand that doing right by the people will make us successful. So in the future, I'd love to just be able to do some simple correlations between inspection data, leading indicators. Can we look at are we properly participating in what those fundamentals are? Are we getting those results when we're not properly participating? How does it affect the results? And can we predict that delta? So can we figure out that we're not properly planning, and therefore, we can expect this type of incident? Things around employee tracking and hours and different things can be some fringe benefits.

But I think really most near term would be just a connection between the leading indicators and results. So unfortunately safety is primarily been based in a measurement of negative. And I think what we need to do as an industry is really kind of be able to turn that around, start to measure these positive leading indicators, then correlate those to success and then how that improves the business. So it's about the people, but it's also a business. So there's definitely a correlation between the things we're doing and our success. It'd be nice to get to a place where we can quantify that rather than have a qualified judgment.


Brad Tabone:

compare yourself to three years ago, James. Do you feel like you're moving in the direction of being able to capture that data and start looking at that data and analyzing that data and creating those correlations and causations?


James Alexander:

I think HammerTech's been a great leap forward for us. We still have a way to go on our journey, but we are in a place where our measurements, I think we have probably about 150 jobs, 160 jobs in HammerTech. We're in a place where we know where we are. So rather than like a survey where someone's kind of interviewed a project team, or a project teams kind of done their own survey of those leading indicators, it's either there, or it's not now. I mean, we can look to the Power BI, we can look to the system report and we can see, are we completing the things that we know make us successful? And so I think we've definitely moved in the right direction. Like I said, I think being able to quantify things, it's either there, or it's not there. Either you've done well, or you haven't. I think that that is a large step forward, but one of the things we've learned is it's okay. It's okay to find out where you are. Don't be afraid of it. So perhaps you're not, as far as you thought you were, maybe you're further.


Brad Tabone:

I remember the first time, James, I remember the first time I showed you a prototype, BI dashboard and you went, "That's my job? It has to be wrong."


James Alexander:

For sure, man. It's just, there's so much that goes on. And yeah, I think that as long as you can kind of just be humble in the fact that you're doing the best, once you know where you're at, you have a place to begin. And you can say, "Okay, cool. Well, what's most important to us? Let's start there. We'll go ahead and see if we can utilize these JJs." Maybe we can utilize this new technology where we can send these JJs out via signature screen as part of the orientation, for example, in HammerTech. Or even getting your trade partner involved in the inspection process a little more. so maybe once a week they don't get a report out, but every time an issue is raised that they have an opportunity to respond to it. Just countless examples. But yeah, I think we're headed in the right direction for sure.


Brad Tabone:

And just for your knowledge, Sal, JJ equals basically swims. So, the sign off process in Australia. That's what James was getting at then.


James Alexander:

I'd love for the US to come up with a standard where that swim needs to be signed off and train... We do have a standard related to hazard communication, or not HazCom, but like hazard recognition prior to start at work and then the train of the employee. But I think Australia has done some great things with their swims method. And we do have a couple offices in Europe that also use that methodology. It's similar, but I wouldn't say equals. It's not exactly the same.


Sal Palay:

Can I just say that before I look into the crystal ball, I go back five years and putting aside the pandemic that we're dealing with, if somebody asked in five years time, you'll have the ability be able to know exactly who is on your site and send a text message to those individuals from anywhere in the world, in a remote location, informing them that a particular stair is shut or to avoid the water hazard, or for instance, in relation to this COVID-19 stuff that there's been a confirmed case, we're instructing everyone to head home. If you had said that to me, five years ago, I would've said I really couldn't see that to be happening. That's reality now that's exactly the functionality that we're using right now. So when the virus first began to spread the world and spread here locally in Melbourne, we all faced that steep learning curve.

And we had a suspected case which initially warranted us to be cautious and shut the site down. Up until then, we hadn't heard of any construction site dealing with a suspected case. That electronic sign in process, that was a game changer. It's enabled us to send all the workers a text and to inform them of the factual information. And we explained how the situation was being managed 48 hours later, where I would inform each worker via text of the negative test result and that the site was safe to reoccupy. And this was so important for us initially because you can just imagine how quickly those rumors were spreading, that clear, concise, factual information direct to the worker's pocket, through their own smart device, where we were able to suppress those rumors and keep it factual.


Brad Tabone:

Do you find that the priority of approach that you've taken, has that had an clear impact where workers on site have actually said, "Thank you. I know what's going on. I feel a little bit more calm?" Because if I put myself in their position, the only thing that would make me feel calm is if I had a general contractor that I was working for, or my subcontractor company I was working for, there was clear communication, a clear investment into the processes and a clear diligence. Do you get that impact? Like the first few weeks was really, really tough, but then kind of the last few weeks has been a bit better because you've been showing that proactive approach?


Sal Palay:

Absolutely. If you think about the traditional process without the use of technology, we might've gone out to the management representative of each employer working on the job and said, "We've got a suspected case, please forward this message onto each of the workforce." And then what happens after that is outside of your control and the message changes and it's never delivered properly and people miss out. And so what happens is people are concerned because they hear these rumors and they know that they are working on that job site and in the community, people are dying. So it's high risk stuff that we're dealing with here. Having that ability to be able to go direct to that individual, using technology with a consistent message, it's not like one worker saying to his colleague, "Oh, I heard something different. I heard this." And so it's none of that going on because it's a consistent message that we're delivering straight from site management.

It's been so important for us. And we actually ended up having a confirmed case before the government made it mandatory to isolate for 14 days after returning from any overseas country. We had a situation where a worker had returned from overseas but wasn't one of those high risk countries that was initially identified by the government. That person began feeling a little ill. And so they left site to seek medical attention. That was when they started getting some symptoms. And it took a while. It took a long time to get the result back. But it was effectively about a week later that the health department advised that the individual tested positive.
We had concerns for that workers colleague who would travel to and from work together. So his colleague was also tested and instructed to self isolate. Fortunately they weren't positive. We shared a bulletin, using functionality within HammerTech to all the workers via text message to inform them of the confirmed case and the employer that was represented and the days that they were working on site. And believe it or not, we're in a situation where a labor hire worker contacted us and advised that he was assisting that employer undertake work on site during that time.

That electronic sign in process, that was a game changer. It's enabled us to send all the workers a text and to inform them of the factual information. And we explained how the situation was being managed 48 hours later, where I would inform each worker via text of the negative test result and that the site was safe to reoccupy.


Brad Tabone:

Who you'd usually never get communication too right?


Sal Palay:

Yep.


Brad Tabone:

If they were just fill a labor hire, just like union staff over here, James, if it was just someone popping up on the site that day that usually wasn't working for them, good luck without kind of knowing that they were on site on the record and their number and their cell and everything like that.


Sal Palay:

Absolutely right. In the absence of safety technology, it is almost impossible. It's highly unlikely that we could have reached out to that labor hire worker that moves one job site to the next.


Brad Tabone:

Yeah. And to further build on that, Sal, that's the competitive advantage of having technology. And in the next week or two, and it's not during these podcasts about HammerTech at all, but a bit of functionality that we're releasing to kind of assist in that is in your morning pre starts, or when you check in or when you check out or at any point in time, you can associate what locations on site you have worked in yourself, or during like a pre-start the foreman or leading hand can kind of ask you're going to be working in these areas and you can actually state what areas you've been in that day. Like I've been in the side shed, I've been in the lunch room, and I'm working on floors one, two.

So we're going to start actually capturing where people are working and then allow contact tracing to occur via Power BI. So you just pick the person, they'll say other people that were at high risk at least cause obviously we can't say a hundred percent everywhere they've been in a hundred percent, anyone they've come into contact with, but at least it will say, "I've been in these locations over these days, who else has been in these locations over those days?" to help that out. And that's again where that contact tracing and getting that information to the arms of the workers makes a massive difference. And that's what we're all here for.


Sal Palay:

Absolutely. It's a good functionality. It narrows down the list of individuals. If there was a situation that you were dealing with, I think it's a positive. It's important to embrace technology because it evolves rapidly. And then it opens up doors and thought processes that initially you probably never thought of. I think that the use of safety technology in the future could really include something like augmented reality that enables, for instance, future excavation processes or permits to include viewing underground service plans, simply through your smart device, integrating underground service plans into augmented reality. I don't see that to be far-fetched. I think that could happen.


Brad Tabone:

That transition from cyber to physical basically. And that's definitely what I kind of see as the next bit as well, Sal. And cyber to physical actually got coined term from Rom, James, DPR a couple of years ago to me and he said that he kind of sees that like moving from the sub to physical where you've got the cyber cyberware safety software knows what's going on. Then you got the physical where it knows that these pipes are under the ground, it's kind of bridging that gap. So yeah, Sal, I agree.


Sal Palay:

Also with automatic recognition, I can see that if you scan a live construction site through the lens of a smart device, it should enable automatic recognition of the hazards on site and triggers that to the user and ask the user, is this a hazard? If you identify that it is, then that automatically suggest controls, satisfying the order of the hierarchy. So, how do you eliminate it first?


Brad Tabone:

I agree again, we'll probably have to spot the dog walking around sites constantly, whether it's Spot the dog or another drone or whether it's a construction site with their cameras, but yeah, you got that visual. And then as long as you get that live visual, it's about processing that visual. And these companies, smart beta IO and the rest of the, that are trying to get in there, but there's still a fair while to go there, but I've definitely seen that well, Sal, a hundred percent.


Sal Palay:

The one that I think is a big issue for the construction industries is fatigue management. And I think that there's a little bit happening on smart devices in relation to fatigue management. The fatigue management risk profile of an individual could be something that interpolates their sleeping patterns and their hours worked and the calories burned and their driving times and the weather conditions they drive in. It'll take some science to pull together the characteristics of human fatigue risks and management to enable a profile for that individual to monitor their own fatigue management.


Brad Tabone:

But like you said, three or five years ago, you probably weren't thinking that you would be able to monitor a site from a remote location, see who's on site, and determined stuff. And so, whether it's about using machine learning and kind of analyzing video and coming up with stuff, whether it's about kind of augmented reality or whether it's about team management, pulling stuff together, it's important to kind of... In my opinion, Sal, we wouldn't be here where we are today. Like even just from a habitat perspective. Let me just say, if you know, Ben, didn't meet with Jeff back in 2015 and you, and come up with a list of 25 things that HammerTech needed before you would even talk to us again. And it wouldn't be the same as the golden list of 35 or 40 items that the James told me back in 2017. Yeah. You're laughing now, aren't you, I'm bringing it up on this call.


James Alexander:

You are bringing that up.


Brad Tabone:

James telling me that once I get this 35 done, I'll never hear from him again. We did the 35 and it turns out that there's still a few more things, but the only other point that I'm trying to make here is without companies like Cain, providing your thoughts on what the future and what we need to do, like without DPR, not the 35, James, more like 300, about what we need to do and continuing into the future. That's what pushes the industry forward and brings people together. Right?


James Alexander:

If I would've said 300, man, that wouldn't have been an easy conversation. So 35 is a nice number. It sounds like I can make some traction. We need to build a foundation, establish a relationship.


Brad Tabone:

For the foundation to build from. But no, I just want to make that point, like without, I think, industry collaboration, like you said, Sal, there's going to be lots of different people that need to come together. Lots of information that needs to come together. But whether it's your COVID response where the unions and the government and the associations and whatever come together, or it's safety software where these vendors and they're talking to GCs and everything like that. That's the way that we push forward, right?


Sal Palay:

I think moving forward if we... Much like what James said earlier, this is the first time that I've ever spoken to James. And a lot of what he said is similar to the challenges that we face in the construction industry in Australia. And it just makes sense that we all be vocal about it and work together on it. It makes no sense to always try and jump through the hoops on our own. Let's collaborate on it and work together and help the industry as a whole to deliver on solutions and make job sites safer.


Brad Tabone:

I'm going to say it's one of the biggest benefits being in the position that we're in as a provider of software. I say it all the time, one of the biggest I'd say outcomes or pleasurable parts of this journey over the last six years has been being able to be like a helicopter view, work with the likes of yourself, Sal, work with Jane's, work with the port holder who James has met, work with the hundreds of GCs that we work with because you see that these patterns, people are doing generally the same thing. It doesn't matter where they are on the globe. There's a few differences, but everyone's trying to solve the same problems.

And the more we can bring together sessions like this, where we're sharing that information, I think for the listeners, and I've had heaps of great feedback over the last few episodes. I think that the more that we can get people like yourselves on these podcasts, rather than me, that sharing of information is going to make a massive difference. And I want to thank both of you for coming here today. It's the first one that we've done together, and hopefully there'll be another one together. Until next time, stay safe out there. And look after your families, look at your friends, look up to your colleagues on the job sites, and keep elevating safety along. So thank you so much.

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