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BitRip and BR Codes™ Help GC Deliver on Commitment to Construction Safety Inspections

Worker doing a construction safety inspection on a harness using BitRip
BitRip used for a Harness Inspection

A three-pronged solution including BitRip’s free mobile app, its Desktop Pro Plan, and scannable BR Code labels from Duck Pro® by Shurtape® also helps Graham Construction immensely with tool and equipment management.


As a leading Midwestern general contractor, Graham Construction thrives on building relationships with each customer to achieve collective excellence throughout Iowa and Nebraska. Founded in 1981, the company focuses on the healthcare, commercial, private education, and industrial market sectors.


With over 100 field employees working on an average of 25 active projects on any given day, one of the most essential tenets of the company’s success is a total commitment to safety. The company’s safety mantra is: “We Are ALL Committed to Safety = No One Ignores an Unsafe Act!”


Graham’s Superintendent, Joe Thomas, manages all the company’s yard operations and is responsible for tracking and maintaining all its tools and equipment. Thomas and his team strive to ensure all personal protective equipment (PPE) is regularly maintained and inspected and to know the proper working condition and whereabouts of valuable and essential tools and equipment.


For safety equipment inspections, Graham had been using forms in a popular construction management software program and storing them on a shared network drive. They tracked tools and equipment with a tool and materials management solution. However, those two programs didn’t provide the kind of visibility and ease of use that Thomas and his team believed was possible.


Ditching “The Unused Gym Membership”

“We were using a program for tool and equipment maintenance, but our usage was limited, and we were paying a lot for it,” Thomas said. Joe Lercara, Graham’s Eastern Nebraska Field Resource Leader, added that their usage of the tool tracking program was “kind of like paying for a gym membership that you don’t use much.”


One of Graham’s yard managers told Thomas about a new and relatively inexpensive safety and tool tracking solution: the BitRip App and scannable BR Code™ Labels. BitRip seamlessly tracks any type of physical asset using BR Code labels, and each code allows users to store massive amounts of data and tracks every scanned location, unlocking field-level visibility. Retired U.S. Marine, Nick Dimitruk conceived the app and labels in field combat operations and later co-founded the company with Catherine Chapman.


Thomas started investigating the three-pronged solution that includes BitRip’s FREE mobile app, its Desktop Pro Plan, and BR Code labels, by scouring the Internet, watching videos, and reading reviews. He then contacted his local field sales representative at White Cap®, a leading construction supply house about the labels, and soon he, Lercara, and their teams were off and running with the BitRip-BR Code solution.


Shortly after getting Graham’s Des Moines location up to speed with BitRip and BR Code labels, Thomas traveled to the company’s Cedar Rapids, IA and Omaha, NE locations to share the solution with the field leaders of those regions. “It only took about a minute to train them,” he recalled. Thomas explained that implementing BitRip for equipment tracking was quick and easy. “I watched a few videos on it, ordered the BR Code Labels, and my yard assistant and I did a few test Bits [a bit is a unique cloud-based file associated with one single BR Code label]. Then we got started,” he said.


"It only took a minute to train them"

Lercara was also heavily involved in getting the BitRip and Shurtape solution running. “One of my goals for the quarter was to organize our yard and also I wanted to improve tool tracking,” he said. They piloted the solution in their Omaha location and then started putting the labels on the company’s fall protection equipment.


Worker scanning a fire extinguisher for a construction safety inspection
BitRip used to track Fire Extinguisher

Safety First

According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine[BC1] , there were 5,370 construction industry ladder injuries in 2020. The publication also reported that a 2018 U.S. workplace safety survey found that over $17 billion is spent on falls resulting from working at height. BitRip co-founder, Chapman, said the app company and Shurtape developed a simple solution that allows users to quickly and easily “do the right thing” when it comes to safety inspection management, with specific forms for ladders, fire extinguishers, and PPE.


“It doesn't have to be hard. We're trying to make it super simple to just do your inspection, look at it, and make sure you're safe before you or anyone else gets up on the ladder. Ladder-related falls are one of the main culprits preventing workers from going home to their families at the end of the day, and BitRip and BR Code are excited to provide a solution,” she said. From a dollars-and-cents standpoint, when a company can show documentation that proper ladder inspections were performed prior to a ladder accident, that proof can also provide legal protection and help prevent potentially huge legal liabilities.


Thomas explained that he sees BitRip as especially valuable in monitoring fire extinguisher and ladder inspections, since the app features check-listed inspection forms. “The labor foremen usually do the inspections so they will have it on their phones, they'll be able to scan it in and do a weekly fire extinguisher checklist quickly and simply,” Thomas said, adding that the same applies to ladder inspections.


“So, you can’t just sit in a trailer and ‘pencil whip’ the things. So, we can see that they have gone out and scanned the ladder, scanned the fire extinguisher, and see that they actually looked at it,” he added.

“you can’t just sit in a trailer and ‘pencil whip’ the thing ... we can see that they have gone out and scanned the ladder, scanned the fire extinguisher, and see that they actually looked at it”


Where’d That Wall Go?

Beyond safety, Graham has also leveraged BitRip and BR Code labels for equipment and tool management. One example is using it to manage the company’s Starc® Systems temporary containment solution components that keep the public away from jobsites. “These temp walls have lots of parts and are very expensive. Now we know exactly what we have and what project it is on,” Thomas said.


“We never know where tools and equipment are,” Lercara added. “BitRip makes it easier for the yard to bill each job because they know the tools are there. It also allows us to know who to call if we need to borrow a tool.” Graham field staff now just affixes BR Code labels on each piece of equipment or tool and then logs it into the system using the free mobile app – and all those pieces can easily be viewed in detail with Desktop Pro. “I think BitRip is one of those applications where it probably does a lot more than we know, and as we get into it and keep using it, we'll find more uses for it,” Lercara said.


Since Graham is spread across two states, the BitRip and Shurtape solution has the potential for huge amounts of time and money. “We can save a lot on our yearly inventory by having the superintendent who is already on the project scan everything, instead of someone traveling all over to inventory. Also, our truck driver carries BR Codes in his truck and can check-in new tools on the go,” Thomas said.


“10X Less Expensive”

Both Thomas and Lercara are pleased that this new solution is “10 times less expensive” than the previous tool management program they had been using. The BitRip mobile app is free and a monthly subscription to BitRip Desktop Pro costs only $90 a month. Desktop provides all the features and functionality of BitRip’s free mobile app, but also lets users send mass invites for easier Bit sharing, provides more customizable permission levels, easy import/export of Bits, a real-time map showing all scan activity, and much more.

“10 times less expensive” than the previous tool management program they had been using


Thomas said Desktop Pro allows him to easily create projects and view each Bit, as well as calculate billing for the barrier system on each job. Graham uses orange PSL BR Duck Pro® by Shurtape® BR Code™ Heavy Duty, Permanent Scannable Labels and yellow PXL BR Duck Pro® by Shurtape® BR Code™ Heavy Duty, Permanent Scannable Labels.


Shurtape also offers other BR Code labels for a variety of applications, including:

•            FL 227 BR scannable paper tape codes – for indoor use, can be torn at any length and will conform to a range of surfaces and substrates while offering easy removal.

•            PC 627 BR scannable duct tape codes – for durable adhesion to multiple surfaces, and constructed with a waterproof backing, allowing for indoor or outdoor use.


Thomas said that there have been “zero issues” with the BR Code labels and they have stayed affixed on every item they’ve been used on, including under the inspection tags on safety harnesses. Thomas and Lercara both sing the praises of this powerful new solution for safety management and tool inventory and have recommended it to colleagues.


“BitRip’s customer service has been outstanding,” Thomas added. As Graham continues to expand and build unique facilities – and customer relationships – the company is reaping the benefits of this innovative solution with a lot of room for additional uses and growth.

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