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Students helping construction companies’ health and safety

UC students helping construction companies’ health and safety systems
January 26, 2014
An entrepreneurial University of Canterbury (UC) student team has created a health and safety mobile phone system to help construction companies.
The system is expected to attract a lot of interest from Christchurch companies involved in the rebuild and the student team hopes to have their first tangible product later this month.
Students Matt Cobham and Ashok Fernandez have set up SiteSorted to help make New Zealand workplaces safer without risk of accident or injury.
``SiteSorted aims to not only implement software as a commercial service to make the process more efficient but to standardise the process throughout New Zealand to make workplaces safer,’’ Cobham says.
``Traditionally the civil construction industry has been seen as archaic in the way it performs its on-site processes with the use of only long and often disorganised paper trails.
``However, companies are now searching for new ways to make construction sites more efficient and safer with state of the art technologies and processes.
``The use of tablet devices in the civil construction industry is a pressing issue throughout all facets of the industry, to optimise and streamline onsite processes.
``Over the last 10 years, major focus has been given to health and safety in the work place with increasing emphasis on a zero accident and injury approach by construction companies.’’
New Zealand is currently undergoing massive changes in the overall structure of health and safety and how it is managed with the introduction of the government agency WorkSafe and the reform to the Health and Safety Act.
The Christchurch rebuild, SCIRT and the alliance partners (City Care, Downer, Fletchers, Fulton Hogan and McConnell Dowell) are at the forefront of safe workplace practices. However, there are still no widespread technologies (available to all workers) for the health and safety process.
``Through our system SiteSorted we have recognised these inefficiencies and begun the process of developing a solution.
``We are seeking to standardise matters to allow the sharing of safety statistics and thus, the wide spread analysis of workplace accidents throughout the industry. This analysis determines trends and anomalies from company to company, allowing companies to better manage and implement safety precautions,’’ Cobham says.
Fernandez says health and safety is a moral obligation and the work SiteSorted had been doing shows SCIRT and alliance partners were eager to implement their process.
``Also the UC support has been immensely valuable with the UC Innovation Centre and the Summer Start-up Scholarships where 25 students, supported by experts, have developed their own ideas into new ventures.’’
Innovation Centre manager Dr Rachel Wright says they have given financial support to SiteSorted by offering seed funding and scholarships, office space, and the use of IT and, most importantly, the advice and encouragement from experienced mentors.

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