December 30, 2019/by Barry Nelson
By utilizing Smart Tag It, TDIndustries has reduced the time required to complete Pre-Task Safety Plans by 50% while simultaneously improving the quality, consistency and visibility of its Safety Plans—potentially saving thousands of man hours per year.
Founded in 1946 in Dallas, Texas, TDIndustries is a premier mechanical subcontractor primarily serving Texas and Arizona, with a large footprint in the DFW area. The company’s 2700+ employees—known as Partners—are employee-owners, which means everyone has a stake in the company’s success.
Senior leadership at TDIndustries is committed to sustaining a strong safety culture, safety vision, and achieving best-in-class results.
“Our leaders get ‘it’—that safety, quality and production go together” says Director of Safety Jamie Dabbs, who has been in the TD Safety Department for almost 12 years. “Our company wants to operate in the construction space and have safety results that are world class regardless of industry, so my department has plenty of support and investment from leadership.”
A Tech-Empowered Shift in Daily Safety Processes
Previously, Jamie’s team of 25 safety professionals used other popular web-based safety EHS systems to track safety engagement, but they weren’t mobile-friendly, required manual distribution of PDFs of single inspections and lacked effective dashboarding or reporting.
“We hadn’t gotten completely out of paper, and we had only safety professionals performing safety inspections. Previously our software was not easy for our field Partners to use—it was web-based but not mobile-friendly,” says Jamie. “We didn’t have good dashboards to review safety performance trends and opportunities or the ability to access dashboarding for all users. We needed more visibility from our safety processes, and this was an ineffective method to track safety inspections and observations.”
With 600 users reporting on one safety process, the team collected about 12,000 observations in one year.
In July 2019, his team adopted SmartTagIt, a tool which leverages mobile technology and Natural Language Processing to provide real-time, integrated safety notifications from safety process engagement. Over two months, Dabbs’ team trained 742+ users on SmartTagIt, with the aid of a few user videos and a training deck.
“The ease of use of the app is a win. Our team is always in it, so they are always engaged,” says Jamie. “My safety professionals can’t be at every location all the time, so we use SmartTagIt to quickly share safety alerts, review Pre-Task Safety Plans, and information across job sites, teams, and entire Business Units.” SmartTagIt allows TD’s Partners to share, like and comment on pre-task safety plans, safety inspections, observations, and safety alerts, and even allows them to give their own severity level rating of observed unsafe conditions or behaviors.
Today, with 900+ users using SmartTagIt to create safety plans, inspections, observations, and safety alerts, TDIndustries collects close to 12,000 safety process engagements per month—the equivalent to what they used to do in a year.
SmartTagIt: Before and After
“Previously, we didn’t have any method to consistently capture and share safety alerts. That has been the highest impact safety process we’ve seen with SmartTagIt,” says Dabbs. “Another interesting side effect when we began using it for pre-task safety plans is that it’s now easy to see who needs coaching to improve their Pre-Task Safety Plans. For us, it’s like raising your hand to say I need coaching.”
Conversely, users who excel at finding and fixing hazards through SmartTagIt are being recognized and rewarded. “We’ve had quarterly safety champions who specifically stand out as top safety performers due to their effective engagement on this app. We’ve also done some internal marketing campaigns to highlight and showcase our Partners who successfully use SmartTagIt to keep our partners safe.”
The bottom line according to Jamie: “Traditionally, engagement in safety systems is sporadic and not always effective.
“SmartTagIt helps us be intentional with safety engagement and adjust our safety processes to fit our specific safety objectives, which is one of the greatest ways to build an engaged safety culture,” he says.
The SmartTagIt team has been a key partner in TD’s safety journey. “With FactorLab, we’d have multiple conversations per week, during and after work hours to really dig into how we get better. We don’t just talk software issues; we dig into safety culture improvement strategies often.
“It is a real partnership—one where we feel like they’re part of our team.”