Construction is an inherently dangerous line of work, one in which claims the lives of two American workers each day, on average. With that said, construction has been a critical component of civilization for thousands of years and continues to be a core aspect of modern society. What’s more, new technology helps make the worksite a safer place. While the annual number of construction-related fatalities goes up and down from year-to-year-, the overall trend over time is far fewer deaths than decades past.
As we approach a new year, let’s take a look at five ways to improve worksite safety using available tech:
Whether it’s operating excavators and cranes or properly securing a heavy load, workers must undergo training to do these and other worksite tasks. However, a novice is obviously at greater risk of making mistakes than someone with more experience. Those mistakes can prove deadly in the wrong situation. Fortunately, virtual training – similar to how airline pilots train on flight simulators – provides a safer alternative to the traditional worksite training process. Inexperienced workers can now present less risk once they start taking over construction responsibilities for real.
Inspections are a routine part of most construction projects. However, some are more dangerous than others. For example, inspecting the pipe systems of a newly built oil refinery. That’s why more engineering firms are turning to Sarcos inspection robots whenever possible. These robots can maneuver through tight spaces, work around hazardous materials, and provide the same data collection abilities as human inspectors.
Incorporate mobile devices and wearable tech
Thanks to smartphones and smartwatches, everyone’s a little beacon of activity with the potential to be monitored. Let’s ignore the privacy concerns for the time being and focus on the potential for better worksite safety. Beyond apps used to track workers and detect any potential dangers, dedicated wearables provide specific metrics used to improve safety. If anything, a bodycam on every worker can provide useful documentation in the event of an incident. The footage can indicate points of failure with greater precision, helping to prevent future tragedy.
Invest in the Internet of Things
The bulldozer’s ability to communicate with the dump truck, which communicates with the concrete mixer, sounds like a scene from The Jetsons. However, thanks to the Internet of Things, or IoT, such a world is now possible. The ability for smart systems to instantly coordinate can mean increased safety measures. For example, a crane may grind to a halt if a platform sensor indicates movement in the path of the load in motion.
Monitor with software
Construction sites in full-swing are a beehive of activity. While existing safety measures and operational optimizations enable the scene to unfold like a blue-collar ballet, accidents still happen due to multiple worksite activities overlapping or otherwise infringing on each other. Construction software allows builders and contractors to prevent these incidents from unfolding. The potential safety improvements are further enhanced if used in conjunction with wearable tech and IoT. The three-pronged approach enhances worksite safety and provides a more streamlined process.
There’s a reason construction sites tend to be fenced-off and covered with warning signs about safety; it’s a hazardous environment. Those working on a construction site are expected to do everything within their power to ensure safety at all times, but there’s only so much they can do on their own. Better safety is always a matter of better management and greater use of technology.