The Impact of Video-Based Solutions for Construction Vehicles

Originally posted by Michael Baker on September 28, 2016 on

With accidents and escalating claims costs putting even the most solid businesses at risk, construction professionals must ensure they’re taking all precautions to avoid costly and dangerous safety incidents.

As an industry, the construction sector is generally well-regarded as a very safety-conscious group, with professionals required to comply with a variety of pre- and post-operation safety practices. According to a 2015 Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) fleet safety survey, 95 percent of construction fleet managers surveyed reported having a culture of safety at their company, 73 percent have a dedicated safety professional on staff and 94 percent note they have executive-level support for corporate safety initiatives. Fortunately, technology also can play an important role in supporting construction fleets’ efforts to mitigate risk, avoid accidents—including roll-overs or collisions—and improve operational efficiency.

Opportunities for improved safety within construction are numerous and varied because of the diverse nature of the industry. Among the technologies most frequently used are cameras, alarms and radar, all of which can play an important role in preventing accidents. While technology options may seem distinct, construction companies must understand the common thread across the most beneficial solutions, which is the availability of rich, actionable data to inform process improvements, performance coaching and risk reduction efforts. Understanding is the key to the best decision-making, and having the right insights in the right hands at the right time will ensure the best actions are taken to improve performance.

Video-based safety solutions are an effective way to improve fleet safety practices. The most effective platforms deliver captured footage within minutes of an incident, allow multiple camera integration and offer exception-based or extended video recording options. These capabilities allow managers to gain insights into seatbelt compliance, driving speed, mobile device usage and other distracted driving issues, collision and near collisions, roll-overs, jobsite performance, workers’ compensation claims and regulatory compliance.

With the most advanced video programs, fleets benefit from an unbiased view of what happens on the road, expert analysis, and a detailed and easy-to-use dashboard aligned directly with specific operational priorities and proactive coaching workflows. Combined, these capabilities are proven to help fleets reduce collisions, improve driver safety and manage corporate risk by assessing the root cause of on-road incidents, leveraging data as the basis for coaching discussion and establishing baseline and target safety metrics that may be tracked in real time. This allows for increased fleet safety performance, as well as increased individual driver performance. Notably, video safety programs are not just beneficial for new drivers, but they also enable experienced drivers to continuously improve.

The adoption of video is currently one of the most significant trends within commercial transportation, particularly in construction fleets. Flagger Force and Lehigh Hanson adopted video analytics solutions and configured the technology and program implementation to meet their unique operational requirements and align with specific safety program priorities. Other companies have adopted a holistic approach to fleet safety, analyzing both equipment and driver performance data in real time. One installed safety cameras on all vehicles across the board, taking an even-handed approach to be fair with everyone from construction project managers to heavy equipment operators. The resulting safety improvements have been complemented by cost savings, driver engagement benefits and more, with the company reporting a 40 percent reduction in speeding, 33 percent drop in unsafe following and a 29 percent decrease in handheld device usage as a result of video system installation.

Especially for specialty fleets that operate in different environments, the use of additional cameras provides insights to backing, blind spots and compliance, and supports safety and risk management objectives. More than 80 percent of AEMP survey respondents agreed that backup cameras are a core element of improving fleet safety, particularly on the jobsite, as they reduce near misses that put lives at risk. As part of the rollout to its entire fleet of 225 vehicles, one contractor equipped 45 concrete mixers with a video safety solution that delivers 360-degree visibility around vehicles by integrating with existing backup cameras.

An additional benefit of extended video recording and monitoring systems is that they track cycle time of haul trucks while recording individuals’ driving performance. Extended recording is a particularly interesting application, as not all issues at a jobsite are exception based. Systems with triggered video and continuous recording lead to improved driver performance and enhanced operational safety in a variety of areas, including equipment operation, fueling, maintenance practices and more. By better tracking these practices, managers can determine whether jobs are being performed efficiently and identify employees who should be recognized for their performance. Employers and employees alike can ensure safety precautions are being taken as well.

Given the vast array of assets that operate within the construction space, professionals need a provider that has a flexible product suite to accommodate diverse requirements. The best solutions allow fleets to align video-based safety programs with specific operational requirements, flex the technology investment over time as fleet needs evolve and incorporate additional cameras to provide a 360-degree view of what’s happening all around the vehicle. Having a 360-degree perspective enables construction fleets to capture video in the highest risk areas and improve safety by changing operator performance, thus eliminating near misses on the jobsite.

Construction professionals must ensure they are taking the right steps to prevent accidents, monitor regulatory and operational compliance, and acknowledge successes. Video-based safety programs have allowed drivers, managers and fleet executives worldwide to view this data firsthand and take action accordingly. By capturing the broadest spectrum of risk, video-based systems are changing the construction transportation industry drastically by improving driver performance within unique operating environments.

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