Many HVAC contractors and businesses would dearly love to dial back on insurance costs, especially workers’ comp and litigation. As one of the highest recurrent expenditures, reducing business insurance costs would have a buoyant effect on the whole business. Improving your safety protocols could do just that for you and more.
It is highly encouraging that many HVAC contractors and managers make safety in the field a priority. A lot of investment goes into training, developing safety handbooks, reviewing incidents, purchasing safety equipment, and more. A lot of subcontractor technology today is geared towards field safety, including robotics.
And yet, all this effort is useless without a way to tie it all together and enforce it among field technicians. That’s why every HVAC contractor and business needs comprehensive safety protocols and documentation to help support the drive towards better safety (and even save on their premiums in the process).
The Role of Safety Protocols & Documentation
In the event of a plane crash, investigators can trace every little part of the plane back to the manufacturer, thanks to necessary and impeccable documentation.
In the same way, HVAC technicians and business managers benefit greatly from a system of protocols and documentation. Not only does it serve to enforce safety standards, but it’s also a badge of honor in terms of customer trust. On top of that, in the event something does go wrong, having a system in place makes it much easier to pinpoint the exact problem.
For the longest time, the biggest challenge for HVAC supervisors has been a lack of visibility in the field. Human error is almost always to blame for critical risks and safety violations, which negates all the hard work and investment in safety.
However, thanks to technology available today, management now has the capacity to create and enforce gated workflows, custom forms and checklists, and many other forms of documentation and records.
Standardizing processes and having visibility into their execution and effectiveness is an underrated safety gamechanger. And with a good operational software in place, it’s super easy to set up and enforce. And, as you well know, a stellar safety record has a direct correlation to lower workers’ comp and other insurance costs.
The Link Between Your Safety Record & Lower Insurance Costs
As far as insurance carriers are concerned, your company’s Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is the only number that matters. Keeping that number below 1.0 can be a challenge, since even a single incident in three years can drive this number up significantly.
Every HVAC business should aim to achieve an EMR below 1.0. It would help to unlock more lucrative projects and possibly become eligible for insurance refunds. The benefits of such an achievement goes well beyond keeping insurance costs low.
- It lowers workers’ comp insurance claims. OSHA estimates that good safety programs could prevent injury and illness by 15%-35%.
- Lower litigation costs. Documentation proving that safety procedures have been initiated reduces your liability as an employer.
- Preventing lifelong adverse conditions such as crippling injuries to technicians. Such conditions are a direct cost in terms of lost productivity and compensation payments.
- Increased productivity and morale among employees can help offset high insurance costs.
The Role of FSM Software As Part of HVAC Safety Protocols
1. Create Custom Checklists
Another thing that aircrafts are known for is their endless checklists. They’re a lot of work, but they keep a lot of people safe. Similarly, a simple HVAC safety checklist can do more for your safety record than a thousand emails from HQ.
Modern technology has gone a long way towards removing much of the work from safety checklists. Thanks to mobile field service management platforms, field teams have access to the complete range of safety guidelines and procedures without the associated paperwork.
For example, with BuildOps, managers can customize safety forms to whatever extreme they want, from basic COVID-19 safety guidelines to the full safety rundown on a large project. Those forms are attached to jobs, and techs are required to fill them out in order to proceed with the work.
2. Data-Backed Risk Control
You may have heard that about 75% of all workplace accidents are preceded by one or more near-misses. A detailed analysis of such incidents can help to cut down on actual accidents and reduce further issues down the line, but you need data to do that.
A mobile documentation solution allows field teams to record and report any issues and incidents they experience in the field early. Supervisors and managers can then use this information to preempt more severe occurrences through training, warnings, and other proactive measures.
In addition, data also helps HVAC businesses to set safety goals and benchmark their performance continuously.
3. Standardized Workflows & Processes
Work order systems give you control over your technicians in the field. However, they still leave room for unnecessary risks and deviations from standard procedures or best practices.
Instead of the traditional work orders, gated workflows constrain HVAC technicians to stick to established practices wherever possible, taking relevant documentation along the way. This can be in the form of pictures, videos, and filling out custom forms.
This level of control is not only necessary to successful HVAC business management, but it also gives you the chance to optimize your workflows for greater productivity, increased safety, and improved customer satisfaction.
4. Proper Documentation In Case of Litigation
When incidents do occur and the customer files claims for injury or damages, the odds are rarely in your favor. However, having accurate documentation detailing your safety protocols goes a long way to help reduce legal liability and can you get out of expensive lawsuits.
5. Standardizing Safety Training Among Employees
One of the things you probably worry about is your newer technicians out in the field. They are more likely to take unnecessary risks compared to experienced techs. Standardized safety protocols keep even the freshest techs on task and in line, optimizing your workforce and reducing overall risk.
Ready to Streamline Your Safety Protocols?
As one of the most advanced field service management software platforms today, BuildOps allows commercial HVAC businesses to carry out comprehensive field documentation. And they can do it swiftly, accurately, and without adding time onto their day. Safety becomes embedded in the way your field technicians work, not just as a “patch-on” approach.
Like most good things, the role of BuildOps in HVAC safety is one which we should show you rather than tell you. Get your free demo here and see how this all-in-one platform can transform your field operations, from safety to efficiency and beyond.