How GoContractor Covid 19 Induction helped +150,000 workers return to work after the lockdown was lifted

The GoContractor COVID 19 orientation, created in partnership with the Construction Industry Federation, helped +150,000 construction workers return to projects after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

GoContractor COVID 19 orientation and safety training help implement social distancing measures for the Irish construction industry.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) is the Irish Construction Industry’s representative body. The CIF is represented by each sector and region, with all stakeholders recognizing the CIF as the Irish industry’s voice for construction. 

Safety has always been a paramount concern for the industry, and under the risk of today’s current COVID-19 pandemic, education and implementation of safety guidelines, such as social distancing, on the job site are critical. 

COVID-19 disrupts the industry and leaves many wondering when they can return to work

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Irish construction industry’s main focus was growth in both the recruitment of the workforce and the expansion of projects, particularly within the housing sector. In late February, however, the novel coronavirus harshly and rapidly impacted construction projects around the globe, shutting down projects entirely in Ireland. 

“There were a lot of people looking for definitive answers for something that’s not definitive.” shares the CIF Director of Safety & Training, Dermot Carey. Carey leads the Safety & Training Department within the CIF, where he develops and guides the CIF’s safety and training policies, liaises with Government departments, and assists with member safety regulatory compliance. 

Before the lockdown, the CIF was firefighting questions and requests, providing the best available advice. When the industry shut down, the CIF’s primary focus shifted, Carey notes, “We knew we needed a plan to show how the industry could open back up. We needed to get to a position whereby the sector could get back to work.” 

GoContractor, used by construction companies across Ireland such as SISK, Roadbridge, Ardmac, Exyte and PM Group, approached the CIF to see how their technology could help the industry during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

“GoContractor’s product takes a traditional in-person process and turns it into something that can be done completely online.” explains John Naughton, GoContractor CEO. “Trade workers, for example, traditionally start work on a job site and are required to register their information, provide identification and certification to be photocopied and stored, then complete a safety orientation training in a classroom or site trailer. Only then, can workers enter the job site and begin work. GoContractor takes this process online allowing people to submit documents and complete training from home.”

GoContractor launched a QR code feature last year, to streamline the flow of people on and off construction sites. By simply scanning a worker’s QR code with any smartphone camera (on a printed card, smartphone or hard hat sticker), site management can identify workers, ensure compliance with site regulations, and check them into the site. 

GoContractor COVID 19 induction

GoContractor launched QR code functionality at Digital Construction week in 2019.

Prior to the shutdown of the industry, GoContractor had approached the CIF to see how they could be of service to the industry and help essential construction projects maintain safe operations. 

Following the lockdown and closure of all non-essential construction, this offer evolved into a critical project in the CIF’s “Return to Work’ initiative. Together, GoContractor and the CIF began to develop a plan comprehensive and credible enough to put in front of a government body, demonstrating that through remote work practices and social distance education, construction projects could reopen, and they could do so safely. The solution was integrated into the CIFs C19 Pandemic Standard Operating Procedures. 

“We wanted this to be up and running in under two weeks.” Carey explains, “We were conscious the numbers would be big– we didn’t know when we’d be going back to work, but our plan was to be one of the first industries to return to work.”

CIF partners with GoContractor and others to produce a credible and robust plan to help construction workers operate under coronavirus conditions

 

Having worked closely with members of the GoContractor team in the past, the CIF knew GoContractor was the right tool to deliver a COVID-19 specific online safety training. The CIF enlisted creative agency, Media Coop to design safety training content into a video format that would be delivered through the GoContractor platform. Outset Agency managed the workflow between the CIF webpage and the GoContractor platform. 

GoContractor COVID 19 Induction

 

GoContractor further expanded the use of QR code capabilities of the platform, developing a unique workflow and feature. Upon completing the CIF COVID-19 training, workers would receive a ‘digital card’ showing they’ve successfully passed the CIF C19 orientation. 

GoContractor COVID 19 Induction

These cards are readily available to workers on their GoContractor profile. They are accessible online from any smart device, from which a QR code can be scanned to verify the legitimacy of the card. 

“The validation element was extremely important.” shares the CIF’s Dermot Carey, “knowing that the person we knew was taking the program was the same person presenting the card gave us the confidence that what was being offered was a very robust solution.”

The CIF then made the GoContractor portal accessible through their website’s homepage, hoping to make it easier for workers in the industry to complete the safety training on their own accord.

The CIF’s COVID-19 orientation was made available in five commonly used languages by construction workers in Ireland: Polish, Romanian, Russian, Irish, and English. 

After launch, more than 150,000 construction professionals complete COVID-19 specific training and can return to work

 

In two weeks, the CIF and GoContractor launched the CIF Online C19 orientation, free and available to all those working in the Irish construction sector. 

With GoContractor, we demonstrated that a high volume of people can be put through online training in a competent manner with validation in a digital format  shares Dermot Carey, Director CIF Safety & Training.

GoContractor’s initial proposal evolved into a partnership with the CIF and program where GoContractor could offer every worker in Ireland a free course and digital card through the C19 orientation.

Since its launch:

  • 40k construction workers registered for the GoContractor COVID 19 orientation on the first day it went live on the CIF website.
  • 150,000 construction workers, from general operatives to site managers, completed their CIF COVD-19 orientation and safety training on the GoContractor platform.
  • The CIF estimates the total number of construction workers in Ireland to be 150,000. 
  • The construction industry was included in Phase 1 of reopening businesses in Ireland, with construction work resuming on May 18th, 2020. 

 

For Dermot Carey, those stats serve as validation, “For us, that’s massive, and its validation of a system and mechanism we put in place to achieve a level of engagement…it indicated that people wanted to go back to work.”

Thus far, feedback from the industry has been very positive. All those who complete their safety training on GoContractor are allowed the opportunity to rate their experience within the platform; 97% of workers gave GoContractor a 5-star rating. 

“Technology can be used, people are adaptable enough and robust enough to address it as long as they’re given enough assistance to work their way through.” shares Carey, “…considering the volume of people we put through it, from an industry that wouldn’t be known to be technical…they all managed to get through it without any major issue.”

For the CIF, this experience demonstrated the capabilities of online training, “Our training offered through the CIF was very focused on classroom-based training. But within two weeks, we totally turned over to online training. It gives us confidence that people out there if you offer it to them, are willing to use it to get on board. People are very adaptable. It doesn’t take a whole lot to transfer them over.”

With a platform like GoContractor, the CIF shares they can now complete their safety training and validation a lot more efficiently while still reaching their quality assurance requirements.

John Naughton, GoContractor CEO, remarks, our tech and customer success teams worked around the clock to scale up services to support getting the whole industry through the GoContractor Covid 19 orientation in 3 weeks. We feel fortunate to be in a position to help and, in what is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, proud to contribute to the construction community.

GoContractor is a SaaS company advancing safety and productivity in the construction sector. With offices in Dublin and New York, GoContractor solves efficiency and safety problems for companies at the trade worker level. By digitizing the trade worker orientation and orientation process, GoContractor helps projects achieve safety compliance and productivity before workers step foot on the job site. Learn more about how our products help keep your projects moving forward here.
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Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.