In the history of the construction industry, innovation in workplace safety has never ceased. The industry is dangerous by nature, but many great construction companies have risen to the challenge of designing and implementing new workplace safety protocols and construction technology to keep their employees safe.
Drones, otherwise known as UAVs (Unarmed Aerial Vehicles), are devices that can be used to collect visual data from a distance. Drones enable project managers to get accurate, first-hand information regarding work progress onsite.
They can be used to monitor a jobsite closely without being physically present, not to mention that drones can see things from an aerial perspective that eyes on the ground don’t have. Overhead views that show erection sequences, crane locations, and perimeter security can identify possible points of congestion and even predict where hazards could appear.
When it comes to the safety of the crew on a construction site, drones can be used to search for and detect current hazards, survey the site, and find opportunities to increase cautionary measures. The introduction of drones in construction sites can increase the safety of workers and reduce the workload of project managers.
A drone’s capabilities can be enhanced with thermal cameras and other add-ons like mapping tools and GPS units to deliver more advanced analytics to contractors. Thermal sensors, for example, can enable construction managers to quickly identify problems like water leaks or fire outbreaks.
Remotely Controlled Equipment
Remotely controlled equipment in construction sites is a secure option for workers in high-risk environments. Hazardous conditions might include overhead work on a demolition project, areas with poor air quality, jobs involving extreme slopes or other tipping hazards, high heat, confined spaces or other challenging environments.
Such equipment enables operators to control and communicate with machines at the site effectively, while maintaining a safe distance. This innovation potentially removes the need for a spotter to enter a dangerous environment too, as the crewmember operating a piece of equipment can essentially act as his or her own spotter.
Personal Protective Equipment
PPE’s are equipment that construction workers wear to prevent hazards on sites. There are a variety of PPE that have different functions, but all maintain the ultimate goal of improving the health and safety of construction workers.
Data collected from PPE’s typically contributes to analytics used to decrease operational risk, monitor vital signs and environmental risks to health, and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
PPE’s are smart devices worn by workers in a number of capacities: a clip attached to a belt, a smart watch worn on the wrist, sensors placed in the sole of workboots, a band worn inside a hard hat, etc.
Mobile technology on construction sites is used not only for documentation of data among workers, but also for communicating important information. Mobile devices or apps can be used to communicate with co-workers and employers in case of emergencies or potentially dangerous situations. For example, mobile apps can sound alarms when workers enter a hazardous work area or when a site-wide emergency occurs.
Workers can also use mobile apps to report safety observations or other important information from the worksite to their supervisors in real time. Data collected in the field is more reliable than data remembered at the end of the day or week.
As mentioned, data collection and analysis using technology ensures that data is collected in real-time, increasing the accuracy of information collected. When collected data is analyzed, patterns can appear that give insight into common conditions that surround workplace accidents or injuries.
For example, if data shows a spike in onsite accidents during the last hour of the work day, adjustments can be made to work done during that time to reduce accidents. Or, if accidents happen consistently when performing a certain task, that task can be flagged as high risk and new safety measures can be put in place to reduce risk.
The modern workplace is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, and the construction industry is no exception. Technology cannot be neglected in construction sites. The potential benefits that technology can have to reduce workload, increase productivity, and ensure workplace safety outweigh the cost and effort of implementing new technologies and safety protocols.
For more information on safety in the construction industry, read about what Stronghold Engineering does to promote its comprehensive workplace safety program and culture.