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Published in Construction on 28/05/2020

Major Online Training Initiative Undertaken to get Construction Workers Site-ready

#CIF

CNI Editor reports

A major online training programme was initiated by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in partnership with GoContractor to enable up to 150,000 construction workers return to work from 18th May, the commencement of Phase 1 of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The induction programme, which remains open, was developed by the CIF and was rolled out in three weeks and enabled construction employees to clearly understand their on-site responsibilities in terms of safe working.

Since the commencement of the course on 21st April, 153,000 workers have been issued with a ‘digital card’ to show that they have successfully completed the course. There is no charge for participation.

Over GoContractor’s digital platform, the construction workers complete a short course in safe working on-site during the coronavirus pandemic. The course, which is delivered by an animated video, covers best-practice areas including social distancing on-site and avoiding personal contact; traveling to and from site; and personal hygiene practices in response to COVID-19. The course content is very much informed by HSE guidelines.

The CIF C19 course, which is accessed on the home page of the federation’s website, can be undertaken on any device with an internet connection and is delivered in five languages: English, Irish, Polish, Romanian and Russian. To participate, each individual is required to watch a ten-minute video covering the key areas. On completion, they are asked some questions on the video as part of the validation process.  They then receive a ‘digital card’ showing that they successfully passed the induction.

Each unique digital card can be verified by a QR code and there are further inbuilt mechanisms to ensure personation cannot take place. Before access to a building site, the workers can show the site manager the digital card on their mobile hand-held device to gain entry.

Prior to the shutdown of the construction industry, GoContractor had approached the CIF to see how it could be of service to the industry and to help essential construction projects maintain safe operations. Following the lockdown and closure of all non-essential construction, this offer evolved quickly into a critical project in the CIF’s “Return to Work’ initiative and the solution arrived at was integrated into the CIFs C19 Pandemic Standard Operating Procedures. GoContractor has treated the project on a pro-bono footing.

“The turnaround to deliver the course with GoContractor was achieved with great speed, and we demonstrated that a very high volume of people can undertake meaningful online training in a competent manner over a short time-frame,” said Dermot Carey, Director CIF Safety & Training. “The validation element was extremely important to us and knowing that the person who was undertaking the course was the same person presenting the digital card on-site, demonstrated that what was being offered was a very robust solution.”

“We are pleased to be involved in this very effective programme with the CIF which has been material in getting the construction sector back to work. Our product takes a traditional in-person process and turns it into something that can be done completely online,” said John Naughton, CEO, GoContractor. “Normally workers starting on a job site are required to register their information and to provide identification and certification to be photocopied and stored, and then complete safety induction training in a classroom or site trailer. However, the new CIF C19 induction makes the whole process infinitely more convenient for all involved. We hope we are playing a meaningful part in ensuring that building sites are a safe place to return to work.”

Creative agency, Media Coop designed the safety training content into a video format and Outset Agency managed the workflow between the CIF webpage and the GoContractor platform.

All those who complete their safety training on GoContractor are allowed the opportunity to rate their experience within the platform and so far 97% of workers have responded with a 5-star rating.

With offices in Dublin and New York, GoContractor was established by Seán Fennell and Julie Currid in 2012. It rebranded to GoContractor in 2019 and John Naughton joined as CEO. It is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that has created a platform for employee orientation that also ensures better compliance with safety regulations. The company’s Irish clients include Sisk, Roadbridge and the ESB, and it can cut on-boarding costs by as much as 50 per cent by getting workers to do induction ahead of time via smartphones, tablets or laptops.