March 29, 2023 by Real Estate Weekly
Otoos was pleased to host a special panel at New York Build 2023 located at the Javits Center. The panel entitled, “Technology in Construction Safety: Finding a Reliable Source of‘ Truth,’’ took place on Thursday, March 9, 2023 and featured industry experts and a discussion of how construction safety can be achieved for all projects.
The panel consisted of six speakers:
● Dr. Linda F. Martin, Principal – KLME Martin Associates LLC
● Kyle Becker, Director, Construction – Carmel Construction
● Mark Drozdov, OSHA Authorized Instructor, , Environmental Health & Safety University
Professor at The Cooper Union
● Ashraf Omran, P.E., Executive Director of Cranes and Derricks – NYC Department of
● Doron Netanel, CFO at Electra USA, Inc. | CEO & President of Electra’s Captive Insurance Company
● Michael Rubin, OSHA Defense Attorney – Ogletree Deakins
“We were thrilled about the opportunity to bring together industry leaders for this panel discussion,” says Yaron Goldman, General Manager, Otoos. “The conversation that took place had a strong focus on the value of safety and how the technology Otoos brings can offer life-changing results.”
The panel was moderated by Dana Kfir, Director of Customer Success at Otoos. She brought up several important points throughout the session, first being that in order to even start the discussion around safety data, culture has to be an important aspect of that. Kfir mentioned, “It’s a delicate combination – you want to instill a safety culture, be transparent and encourage people to speak up, and then you also want to be factual and be sure not to expose your organization to lawsuits.”
The members of this panel all came to an agreement that safety is often looked at as a matter of compliance and is not given the full weight that is required to protect job sites. “When it comes to safety, we only think of it when something happens,” said Rubin. Panel members also discussed the importance of identifying leading and lagging indicators.
“One of the most difficult tasks for a safety professional is to try to key in on the leading indicators that drive continuous improvement within their companies….and these driving leading indicators can change over time,” said Martin. “The benefit of having data feeding into one place is that the safety professional can tinker with the weighting of these indicators to see what works best for their organizations or individual sites in improving safety metrics. The Otoos product allows them to do that quickly and easily.”
Becker spoke on the fact that data input is the easy part, but the challenge lies in changing the behaviors and psychology of humans. However, this is where Otoos can help. It is crucial that leaders and superintendents buy into the idea of safety and how important it is for everyone on the team to take ownership. These leaders must also take on the responsibility of establishing a culture of holding each other accountable. Becker explained, “Successful integration of technology in construction safety is only as good as the culture you establish to implement it.”
In the next segment of the panel, these industry professionals discussed how technology pushes safety forward. Drozdov talked about how often the question comes up regarding who is responsible for safety. While people often think one individual is to be held accountable, that is almost never the case.
The panel members discussed who is responsible for safety regulations on a job site. Drozdov felt this question is almost offensive when asked in the field or by other industry professionals. “Every person has some level of ownership for their own safety, and that of others,” he said. “Technology forces safety to be integrated into the fabric of job sites.”
The panel also agreed on how important it is to set expectations and train employees. When a new hire walks into the office, it matters what you do first. If you are only spending an hour on safety training, that does not emphasize the culture enough. Netanel also discussed how sometimes Electra USA faces challenges with union workers. “The first challenge for us is to be aligned with any employee that works with us,” said Netanel.
There are also several laws and regulations that are being put into place to ensure safety on jobsites. Most often, technology can help streamline these processes. Mr. Omran has worked to implement technology such black boxes, which monitor crane activities. He emphasized the importance of having technology implemented into your jobsite to ensure you are meeting all guidelines.
As the panel wrapped up, members emphasized how crucial it is to take the challenges that arise every day on job sites and turn them into success. With the help of Otoos, we have the data and metrics of success. We have technology to implement on job sites that can help us measure our success.
There were many major takeaways from this panel. Goldman said, “I found that the answer to ‘What is more critical? Employee lives or financial profit?’ is only sometimes clear-cut, and there is a constant tendency to treat profit as more important.” He also pointed out the frequency of the slogan “safety first” but the lack of effort and investment to achieve it. With the help of Otoos, we prove that it is possible to ensure safety, protect employees’ lives and improve the bottom line.