voice-operated risk assessment app
© Somporn Suebhait

The first of its kind in the UK – a voice-operated risk assessment app called RiskTalk – has been introduced for construction businesses by insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firm Gallagher

Suitable for phones or tablet devices, Gallagher‘s voice-operated risk assessment app eliminates the need for construction firms to complete lengthy paperwork and enter data manually when carrying out risk assessments. Instead, the app-user carries out the process through recording voice notes.

This means time and effort is saved on health and safety duties. Generally speaking, the average UK construction firm spends the equivalent of 36 days a year completing risk assessments.

How do businesses feel about risk assessments?

Despite the significant amount of time and money put into carrying out risk assessments, roughly half (49%) of UK firms are concerned that they are not being thorough enough.

Furthermore, two thirds of businesses (68%) claim that the manual method is complicated and can potentially leave them without a strong defence in the event of legal actions, insurance claims and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement action.

There is a lot of pressure on businesses to carry out effective and thorough risk assessments and failure to comply can lead to significant Health and Safety Executive (HSE) penalties – with £64 million worth of fines paid by businesses in the sector over the last five years.

In terms of cost, construction businesses spend £1,500 a year on risk assessments. This could be due to paying wages for employees undertaking assessments or for contractors who need to be paid to do them.

The voice-operated risk assessment app proposes that it can:

  • Cut down time
  • Reduce expense
  • Increase reporting reliability of risk assessments

How does the voice-operated risk assessment app work?

By simply speaking into their phone or a tablet device, users can record observations and report hazards.

Through a set of prescribed questions, RiskTalk guides users through the process of assessing and identifying risks in the work environment and details how they can control them.

RiskTalk also makes the process much easier for managers to review risk assessments.

By taking photos and recording voice memos in the app, managers can approve assessments from the cloud storage system via the voice sign-off feature.

Reports can be generated through the app which avoids physically compiling lengthy data entry. These can easily be converted to PDF files if hard copies are required.

Moreover, in-built speech recognition technology can understand and process recordings in 220 languages to ensure that it is accessible for a wide range of users.

All entries are time, date and author stamped to ensure that evidence is available in the event of a health and safety-related incident.

Additionally, the app works offline – allowing users to conduct risk assessments and store data while working in areas with limited or no network coverage.

‘We’re delighted to be bringing this innovative risk assessment tool to UK construction’

Neil Hodgson, managing director of Risk Management at Gallagher, said:

“We’re delighted to be bringing this innovative risk assessment tool to UK construction businesses. It is easy to use, makes the process of undertaking risk assessments quicker and more reliable, and firms within the sector will benefit from increased peace of mind that in the event of an incident they are more likely to have a robust defence.

“This is particularly important when you take into account that half of UK firms are unsure whether they are completing the risk assessment process correctly. Evidence of risk assessments carried out and the steps taken to mitigate any identified risks can be crucial for construction firms in the defence of an insurance claim for personal injury or illness, or intervention by the HSE or other regulatory authority. Penalties can be severe – with the average fine paid by construction businesses across the past five years costing £86,000.”

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