Agassiz Drilling, based in Manitoba, is an industry leader in controlled and close-proximity blasting. In business for over 50 years, they specialize in the drilling and blasting process for mines and quarries.
Much of their work takes place in remote locations, like the construction of the 24-kilometer Freedom Road, connecting Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to the Trans-Canada Highway.
This remoteness is one of the reasons they made the change from paper processes to digital in 2019. With workers on site for three weeks at a stretch, they’d have to be sent with enough of the carbon booklets to cover their time away, and trusted to fill in, keep track of, and safely bring back all the paperwork at the end of their time on site.
Cassie Corbett was brought in to run the safety program for Agassiz, and deal with the predictable issues this system created: “It was harder to hold people accountable, you know, and it really showed at audit time, it was like “Well where is this” and “this should be here” and it was always just like a chase and just missing pieces and it was a nightmare. And really expensive too, to always have those books and then sometimes they showed up sometimes they didn’t.”
At a meeting of CSAM (Construction Safety Association of Manitoba), Cassie heard a colleague talking about audits going digital in the near future, and how companies could prepare themselves for the transition. She investigated further, and combined two apps to create a solution that could replace paper.
Pairing these two solutions was a step in the right direction, but had some shortcomings; namely that using multiple apps meant data was scattered, leading to inefficiencies and potential miscommunication. Additionally, the more generic nature of their previous apps didn’t cater to the specific needs of the drilling and blasting business.
Corfix allowed Agassiz to tailor safety protocols specific to their industry. For instance, they could easily transition PDFs into forms, ensuring that safe work procedures were signed off as required by their clients. And having the forms on the same platform as timekeeping made life much easier for Cassie, and everyone on the job: “Busy men on construction sites. The more you can streamline for them, the better the day goes.”
The digitized safety program takes so much less time to administrate that Cassie has been able to take on all the bookkeeping as well, which itself is simplified. Setting aside fifteen or twenty minutes a day to check and approve the time cards from the previous day, Cassie checks worker punch out location, follows up on inconsistencies, and approves the hours. It’s a huge improvement on her previous Monday morning scramble to chase down workers for missing or incongruous hours.
Audit preparation is one of the most important benefits of their new system. “We had to get COR certified in Manitoba to be able to bid jobs,” says Cassie. And while some thought they couldn’t get rid of paper because audits required a paper trail, Cassie discovered that actually they had to get rid of paper to have a chance at a reliable “paper” trail. Agassiz passes their COR audit and follow-ups with ease, thanks to their digital solution.
“Everyone is held accountable because there’s no excuse, everyone has tablets, laptops, phones. Everyone has access to something. Accountability is the biggest thing we take away from this digital system.”