Three Ways Technology Creates a Safer Worksite
Originally posted by Kallie Sorrell on May 6, 2016 on constructionexec.com.
Construction sites are fraught with danger. According to OSHA, construction fatalities account for 19.5 percent of the total workplace fatalities across all industries in the United States.
Safety policies and procedures exist to keep workers as safe as possible, but these policies do not eliminate hazards completely. Regulations cannot prevent every dangerous or hazardous situation on a jobsite. OSHA standards for a work place free of known dangers has made huge strides in the construction industry alone, but fatal injuries are increasing in the construction industry because policies can only go so far. To bridge the gap, technology has stepped up to create safety measures that did not exist before.
1. FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY
Some of the latest construction technologies may seem futuristic and out of reach. However, many of these technologies are very accessible for construction firms and can be easily implemented on the jobsite.
Wearable technology has created a buzz in construction. It increases safely because it keeps everyone connected. Wearable technology takes mobile to the next level and includes everything from eyewear to watches and even hardhats. Some tech-loaded hardhats are fitted with cameras, sensors and user interfaces that utilize augmented reality. Helmets record, load, store and share data with the rest of the team. A benefit of these wearables is hazards can be uncovered because everything workers are doing on a jobsite is recorded through their eyes.
Drones and robots are also making waves. Drones can do dangerous work that used to be done by workers on the ground. Some restrictions are in place when it comes to drones because of their potential to be used unethically, but for site safety, they are second to none. Robots also perform some work that was previously done by workers, such as laying bricks or underwater welding. With fewer workers physically on the jobsite, there are decreased risk of injury.
Timely communication is another benefit of technology, and when applied to construction, it can make a difference in safety. It’s now more than just walkie talkies and cell phones; other communication systems allow for increased communication and recordkeeping throughout the jobsite and from the jobsite to the office. Wearable technologies have the capability to send an alert if the person wearing it has fallen or is otherwise injured.
Sharing collected data may not seem like a safety precaution but it is becoming increasingly important. Contractors are embracing big data with real-time reports that can be automated for stakeholders, management and employees. These reports give feedback on hazards and unsafe jobsites so fixes can be made quickly to keep all workers safe.
Integrated applications enhance the ability to have accurate and intelligent data for safety in construction. Big data gives insights on safety and ways to improve efficiency. Technology is doing its part to keep construction workers safe and the future will only bring more innovative ways to keep them safe.