“Optimistically, I believed that all of us in the contract and construction industry considered safety as the single most important issue. That safety tops profitability and efficiency,” Stig Engström, owner and founder of Engcon.
Unfortunately, the reality is different. In 2020, 30 people were injured at work in Sweden, which is proof that we have a long way to go to for a vision of zero accidents. I firmly believe that combining higher demands for safety along with investing in new technology is the key to a safer and more secure workplace, which ALSO leads to increased efficiency and profitability.
I had hoped that 2020 would be the year when we would focus our efforts on the changes needed to reduce the number of accidents on Swedish construction sites, but that did not happen. We will probably all remember 2020 as the year when COVID-19 distracted and disturbed world order. At the same time, it must not stop the focus on safety.
Common causes of accidents are time pressure, loss of focus, untrained staff or changes between different types of excavators. It is in these situations that technology must step forward. That’s why Engcon has developed smart solutions that eliminate handling errors and counteract accidents – preventing mistakes from happening.
The solutions that make a difference and help everyone get home to their families when the working day is over must become standard in the industry. We must raise awareness of workplace safety issues, accidents today are a serious and preventable problem in the excavation industry.
Engcon has developed the market’s safest system for excavators, warning with both sound and light signals in the event of a faulty tool. The driver must then lower the tool completely to the ground to be able to loosen it, a function only available from Engcon.
In its range, Engcon also has a standardized locking panel. This means that the operator controls the tool locking in the same way regardless of the excavator model. It may sound obvious, but excavators of the same brand can have different layouts for key functions. It can be compared to the gas and brake pedal in a car being placed in different places depending on the model.
Since 2013, I have argued that the industry should agree on a common vision of zero accidents. So, when my colleagues suggested that we start a global safety initiative, “Dig Smart. Dig Safe”, to create debate and highlight the use of smart technology to prevent accidents, I first thought it felt unnecessary.
But when I look back and see how little we have achieved in the last seven years; I realize that we must continue the debate. The goal of the initiative is to create an industry-recognized vision for zero excavation accidents. It will obviously take time.
Engcon cannot change the industry alone. Other producers also need to develop safer products, large players must have greater safety requirements in their procurements, but in addition, contractors must invest in safe products.
If that is not enough, we are in favor of regulations from authorities and politics. But in the end, it must be a joint effort by all concerned. I’m convinced of that. Together we can do this with your support.
Stig Engström, owner and founder of Engcon, which has been passionate about safety since 2013.