Engineering and Construction: Safety Through Software

Using technology to save lives and foster growth in a high-risk industry

Key takeaways

Software innovations are helping combat the 'fatal four' accidents

$17.5 trillion growth calls for rapid adoption of digital solutions

Legacy systems, Excel, and paper-based processes are hurting the bottom line

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Rapid investment

According to a joint initiative by Oracle and BCG, “With rapid investment projected — the industry is expected to grow to $17.5 trillion by 2033 — the E&C [engineering and construction] sector will need to harness modern technology now.” And industry leaders are doing just that.

Bold statement alert: the engineering and construction industry is creating some of the most exciting and innovative uses of technology we’ve seen. And it’s not only about increasing efficiency, cutting costs, and creating new opportunities, it’s about keeping people safe.

“1 in every 10 construction workers is injured annually.”


Risky business

It’s no secret that construction sites pose a certain level of risk. According to Safety & Health Magazine, "During a 45-year career, there is a 1 in 200 chance that a construction worker will die from a work-related incident." We don't mean to sound bleak, but the facts are important; they show where improvements are needed. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that using innovative technological solutions to help eliminate the fatal four "would save 591 workers' lives in America every year."

How does this relate to software? Many engineering and construction companies are still using Excel- or paper-based processes to report safety issues. As well as being time-consuming, such processes are highly error-prone. This is an area in which tech-savvy organizations in the sector are using automation in order to reduce the number of errors and therefore reduce risk. According to ESub, “Today’s proponents of technology have pointed to a lack of automation and adoption of technology as the primary reason for the industry’s poor performance.”

Let's look at other forms of software innovation in the sector . . .


Using drones to survey sites reduces the risk of harm to workers


Virtual reality (VR)

Why learn about hazards in the field, when you can do it from the comfort and safety of VR?



Real-time data on movement, heat, gas, and locations of workers, can literally save lives


Site sensors

By monitoring moisture, temperature, and toxins, site sensors help workers to avoid hazardous areas

Innovations in engineering

According to Industry Weekly, “Digitization is changing the playing field for engineers. It alters the culture by providing more real-time data on the performance of equipment in the field today, allowing engineers to consider improvements that can be achieved in months through data algorithms rather than years or decades.”

So, what does digitization in engineering look like?

CAD in the cloud

Cloud-based solutions for computer-aided design (CAD) offer increased efficiency, security, and automatic updates across all applications. Moreover, engineers are increasingly leveraging the power of cloud-based systems to access data in the field.



Software is being utilized across the industry to automate previously manual, Excel, and even paper-based processes. According to McKinsey, “... as of 2015, 478 billion of the 749 billion working hours (64 percent) spent on manufacturing-related activities globally were automatable with currently demonstrated technology.”


Product Data Management systems

An increasing number of engineering firms are using Product Data Management systems (PDMs) for CAD data, models, parts information, manufacturing instructions, and requirements. This helps ensure data is easily accessible and that all regulations are adhered to.


Establishing the Safety in Construction Governance Code to standardize and automate safety instructions

As we’ve mentioned, Excel- and paper-based processes certainly don’t help matters when it comes to ensuring a safe working environment in the E&C sector. So to help improve safety across the board, leading E&C organizations and clients have joined forces with eX:plain. Together, they established the Safety in Construction Governance Code with a clear goal: to standardize safety instructions when entering construction sites.

In establishing the Safety in Construction Governance Code, eX:plain recognized that employees of subcontractors and suppliers were having to follow different safety instructions for different construction sites. As you can imagine, this lack of consistency can lead to confusion as to what the instructions actually are, which in turn can lead to dangerous situations. To solve this problem, eX:plain worked with Betty Blocks to develop the Generic Gateway Instruction (GPI) application.

Key features



The scalable design enables eX:plain to quickly connect existing and new customers to the innovative system


Centralized platform

Easily follow instructions in 17 languages from 1 centralized place, anywhere you want


Automated administration

Administration has been fully automated for affiliated organizations

See for yourself in the App Gallery
GPI application
The new application increases safety awareness at every construction site in the Netherlands by standardizing gate instructions. eX:plain developed a system that allows you to easily follow multiple instructions in 17 different languages ​​per construction industry. Thanks to this digitization process, the affiliated organizations immediately save a lot of time and costs on administrative processes.

Control and scalability with no-code

Because the application is developed on the Betty Blocks platform, eX:plain is very self-reliant and has control over the development and management of port instructions without the need to manually write code.

The future vision of eX:plain: standardize safety instructions in several sectors. Because the process has now been set up well once, eX:plain can easily scale up.
Read more about eX:plain