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Industry Special: The construction industry can overcome future challenges safely - BCCSA conference

BCCSA
Industry Special: The construction industry can overcome future challenges safely - BCCSA conference

Alliance stages first-ever virtual conference

After a year’s pause due to the pandemic, the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) conference returned this year with a message for the industry — the future looks bright, with innovation and bold optimism smoothing the way.

Staged virtually via Zoom, the BC Construction Health & Safety Conference took place on October 14th and featured three speakers.

Leadership and change expert Jim Harris spoke about the transformational effects of technology on the construction industry, and how embracing and adopting new technologies will make the industry more efficient… and safer.

He cites the rapid adoption of inexpensive drones that have made inspection tasks safer, and modular construction, which allows large building components to be manufactured in safer, controlled environments. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are already being used by surety bond providers.

“They can predict when a project is going to go off the rails and they’ll work with the contractor to make sure it gets back on track,” he says. “Can you imagine how we will use AI to improve safety outcomes?”

Cyber security expert Ron Borsholm notes that hacks are no longer targeting only “big fish.” Smaller, less-protected organizations are increasingly being hacked and subject to ransomware attacks. At the same time, many Canadian businesses don’t have formal policies in place to secure their systems, don’t have adequate malware protection and don’t conduct adequate cybersecurity training for workers.

For construction companies, any system can be breached, from document management programs to cloud-based safety management software. Unable to protect themselves, many companies simply pay ransomware demands.

While businesses can undergo professional vulnerability assessment and penetration tests, install state-of-the-art security systems, and enlist the services of cybersecurity monitoring firms, all of this must be backed up with employee training.

“It just takes one person in an organization to click a link, enter the wrong information in the wrong website and all that money is wasted,” says Borsholm. “It will allow the hacker through the front door.”

Motivational speaker Rick Rigsby believes that any person who influences another is a leader.

“If the mission is improving safety, that mission cannot be accomplished unless each and every one of you chooses every single day to make an impact to be the very best you can be whether you’re safety managers or industry consultants,” he says.

Rigsby is a great proponent of learning, adaptation and embracing positive change. Great safety leaders must lead with a vision they can share and lead with passion. But they must always remember the basics of their mission and deliver a safety message that stresses common sense and clarity.

“When you’re talking safety on the construction site, that’s not the time for mumbo jumbo,” he says.

In challenging times, Rigsby notes that delivering hope is also an important leadership quality.

“I’m usually the last to leave an auditorium, because I will listen to everybody’s story,” he says. “If I can just show some hope in my eyes, it might communicate to others that there’s a possibility that we’re going to get through this together.”

Plans for the 2022 conference involve a return to in-person attendance. However, some content may continue to be delivered virtually.

“Streaming this conference has proved very successful from a technical standpoint and reviews from attendees were overwhelmingly positive,” says BCCSA executive director, Mike McKenna. “Even as we hope to emerge from the pandemic by next fall, we believe streaming can broaden the audience for these presentations.”

This content is an Industry Special by BCCSA in collaboration with ConstructConnect® Media. To learn more about BCCSA, visit www.bccsa.ca.

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