The fact that construction sites are potentially hazardous areas is indisputable. If you’ve ever walked into a construction site, you would see objects falling, heavy vehicles moving around; and workers fixing scaffolding at the top of tall buildings.
Almost all activities in a construction site pose significant risks to workers. It is, therefore, the contractors’ responsibility to implement standard safety measures to protect workers from getting injured while working.
While many techniques can aid safety in construction sites, applying technology is one of the most efficient ways. It has completely revolutionized the construction industry, not only by promoting safety but also increasing the productivity of construction projects.
In this article, we look at the technologies that construction companies can use today to mitigate on-site risks. Keep on reading to pick your best bet.
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4,836 worker deaths. The construction industry attributed 20 per cent of the total number of deaths. As a key driver of health and safety in construction, technology innovations can reduce on-site accidents.
Now, let us look at the seven amazing technology innovations that can help construction firms minimize cases of on-site injuries and fatalities.
Internet of Things provides an excellent way to account for every activity and equipment in a construction site, making it a valuable asset to improve safety. With this technology, contractors can install sensors on machine components to monitor and optimize their performance and working conditions.
IoT has numerous safety applications in construction sites:
- Automates equipment maintenance and repair routines for safety purposes
- Facilitates quick collection of accurate data to analyze the safety standards
- Helps contractors develop safety plans for potentially hazardous practices
- Detects safety hazards if fitted onto wearables
- Provides real-time reports on dangerous situations
While the Internet of Things has incredible safety applications in construction, it has also become popular in automating activities in smart homes. You can use the technology to automate lighting, air conditioning, and heating in your house.
Wearables are one of the most popular technologies for creating a safety culture in construction sites. As the name suggests, wearables are smart devices that employees put on when working. They include smart shoes, watches, glasses, vests, and hard helmets.
Construction firms use the wearables to monitor worker safety and activity on site. They provide measurable and objective data that helps contractors to establish better safety and risk management practices in construction sites.
For instance, wearables can detect falls and send the signals to safety personnel, helping them to respond promptly. This helps the workers to get help fast when in danger. Besides, other workers can also get notified to avoid accident scenes on site.
Drones have numerous applications in construction sites. These flying machines are autonomous and are mainly used to collect data in inaccessible areas considered risky for humans.
When outfitted with sensors and cameras, drones can collect data that can help in safety improvement. Here are some of its safety applications.
- Real-Time Monitoring – Drones can monitor construction sites more frequently to ensure that safety standards are upheld during the entire project. Contractors can spot potentially hazardous conditions and correct them before they worsen.
- Site Inspection – Drones use photography to inspect construction sites, especially hard-to-reach areas. Contractors can then analyze the photos to ensure that safety standards are maintained.
- Building maintenance – Construction engineers use drones to assess a building maintenance exercise instead of human workers.
The use of sensors in construction sites is becoming increasingly popular as more firms are adopting the technology. When mounted in every section of a large construction site, contractors can get real-time notification of impending hazards and respond promptly.
Such technologies include fire sensors that transmit signals during fire outbreaks. Noise sensors help in measuring noise levels in construction sites. Other parameters that site sensors monitor include temperature and levels of volatile organic compounds.
Construction managers use data from the sensors to establish safe working environments for employees. This motivates workers to perform their tasks confidently without fear of the unknown.
Construction companies can use autonomous equipment to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from heavy machinery. Autonomous equipment includes self-driven machines. In other words, workers can control them remotely without boarding.
Autonomous machines like remote-controlled excavators use GPS transmitters and receivers to dig the ground. An operator must be present on-site to maneuver the heavy machine. Other self-operating devices do not require an operator to be on site.
Autonomous equipment is used mostly in construction sites considered hazardous to human operators, such as very steep slopes. When a heavy vehicle overturns, operators will not get injured in the process.
Virtual reality is used widely in almost every industry, and the construction sector is not an exception. In construction, the technology can be used to train workers on how to operate heavy machinery like cranes and walk on steel beams in tall buildings. The training also focuses on safety tips that help workers work without fear.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, provides a collaborative platform for contractors and project owners. With this technology, clients can get real-time information regarding their construction projects. Most importantly, augmented reality can help contractors to identify potentially hazardous areas in a project.
As construction safety technology advances, software developers are also working with construction engineers to develop application software that can improve the safety of workers. Such software streamlines construction processes while promoting safety.
Construction safety software integrates well with other safety devices like wearables and drones, allowing operators to have full control over every aspect. The software highlights safety procedures and policies.
The adoption of technology for safety should be the topmost priority of construction firms. Technological innovations streamline the detection and reporting of safety incidents, allowing safety personnel and risk managers to respond to risks promptly.
When implementing new technology in your construction company, it is vital to consider OSHA-recommended safety tips by Procore Technologies to keep your workers safe. Besides, it will keep your firm on the right side of the law when it comes to safety.