At the start of the London Bridge Station Redevelopment, it was identified that the workforce would need a system to report their ‘near-misses’ and safety incidents upwards to the safety team for immediate action or recording.
The frequent incident reports from the work sites needed to be captured accurately including the good as well as the practice needing improvement which the operatives had seen. It was important that the workforce believed there was no risk of the person reporting the incident getting blamed or getting in trouble. This factor was key to getting the workforce to buy into the process and proactively report everything they came across.
Typically, incident reports might include:
- Unsafe or untidy work sites
- Unsafe activities and operations
- Unsuitable, faulty or damaged pieces of equipment in use
- Any situations with a high-potential for an accident.
The system would need to be simple to access, easy to use for a wide range of users, very strong and weatherproof, reliable and embraced in everyday use by the workforce.
Such a broad-ranging variety of inputs and a critical importance of the information collected meant a very robust system was needed that could collect, collate, share and report the data. It needed to work remotely, in tough conditions and in multiple locations.
On many construction sites, the immediate answer is to use a smartphone based ‘app’ reporting system but on a live railway site, this is not an option and so the challenge began. It isn’t just a railway issue either – this can be an issue out on the roads, at airports and at high-security facilities where phone use is forbidden.
The chosen system setup
The system specified was as follows.
- The system would be known as ‘Close Call’ reporting.
- It would operate through a set of ten identical, standalone, dual-screen computers, each with a keyboard and track-pad.
- The computers would need to run on the Windows operating system and data entry would be via a browser-based form.
- The on-screen forms would be created on the ‘Salesforce’ software platform.
- Each Close Call machine would have a proximity sensor that would detect passing operatives which would wake it up from standby.
- Each machine would require a data connection and a 240V power supply.
- Each machine would require sound.
- Each machine would need to be tamper and vandal proof, very sturdy and weather proof.
- Each machine would be painted and branded the same.
The many challenges thrown up by the first iteration
The first prototype machine that was built by Hard-Hat Media looked like this prior to painting. The front of the machine featured a large light-up arrow to draw attention to it and act as a reminder to the workers to report what they saw.
The computer itself was fully encased to prevent tampering and the structure was engineered to be very strong to avoid accidental damage. The keyboards were made from metal to avoid damage and a touch-pad was used instead of a mouse.
The machines looked like this once painted and branded: