You might have heard about the fact that technology is rapidly changing the way construction businesses operate these days. The majority of modern construction companies have adopted certain technology innovations to improve their workflow. The best technologies also improve teamwork project management and increase productivity.
Construction managers and superintendents at jobsites are increasingly relying on technology to design and map out buildings, monitor construction process and even track all the budget expenses, including advanced construction payments. Learn more about construction payments in the informative blog post by Procore.
However, aside from just being useful for productivity and efficiency at the jobsite, technology is praised for significantly improving the safety aspect. Construction sites are prone to hazardous incidents and require safety measures to protect workers. There have been many cases of on-site injuries and fatalities resulting from the ‘‘Fatal Four” accidents: electrocution, falls, caught-in/between, and object strikes.
Construction engineers have devised new technologies to mitigate risks posed to site workers. According to the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), eliminating these fatal four would save the lives of 582 workers in America every year.
Many construction firms are beginning to understand the significance of technology to reduce the number of casualties during on-site accidents. Technologies like site sensors, drones, wearables, exoskeletons, virtual reality, and autonomous construction equipment can help construction companies to achieve a safer jobsite. In this article, we explore the latest technologies that can help construction firms to keep workers safe while on site.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the construction site as almost all construction firms have adopted it. As the most widely used technology, drones can be used to inspect the site, monitor workers, and identify potentially hazardous areas. As long as you register your drone to comply with FAA UAS regulations, you can use the device to improve your safety efforts.
When outfitted with data collection tools such as cameras and sensors, the drones can collect vast amounts of data. That includes the number of workers in a construction site, terrain modeling, and the location of workers.
When it comes to safety, construction managers can send drones to collect data in hard-to-reach areas declared risky to humans. Drones can also assess damages on a construction site instead of humans, reducing the possibility of on-site injuries.
Wearables are high-tech devices designed to promote the safety of workers while working. As the name suggests, workers must put on these devices when in the construction sites for their safety. Wearables provide real-time monitoring of workers. The wearables include high-tech vests, hard helmets, wrist bands, and belt clips. The devices have sensors that can alert workers when approaching a dangerous zone. Project managers can also receive signals and intervene where necessary.
One great thing about wearables is that some devices have an emergency button that workers can press when in need of help, especially during on-site accidents. Project managers can use GPS to locate workers trapped in building debris.
Some wearables have specialized systems that can measure the workers’ health status, including body temperature and the rate of heartbeat. Besides that, the high-tech devices can also measure the height and speed of fall when a worker falls off the building.
Construction firms can deploy smart sensors in the entire job site to measure and monitor environmental conditions. Site sensors can also detect the presence of potentially harmful compounds in the air. Such materials include volatile organic compounds and toxins like asbestos. High levels of these compounds can harm workers.
Besides measuring the atmospheric conditions, site sensors can also alert workers of impending dangers like fire outbreaks. The devices provide real-time signals that can help the emergency team to intervene promptly. Quick response to emergencies can save as many lives as possible. Construction and project managers can also receive signals from the sensors. For that reason, the managers can use the information to mitigate risks before they occur.
Exoskeletons are one of the latest developments that can promote the safety of workers in the construction industry. A report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that the rate of musculoskeletal disorder (work-related) in the construction industry is more than other sectors combined.
The exoskeleton technology can lower the mechanical stress resulting from manual labor in a construction site. The machines can be powered by either human motion or electricity, helping workers to lift or move heavy objects without straining. Exoskeletons make objects feel lighter and reduce the weight exerted on the back of workers, resulting in reduced cases of back injuries on construction sites. The machines multiply the workers’ strength and efficiency while taking care of their safety.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The use of virtual reality to promote safety in the construction industry is proliferating. Construction firms are using VR to train workers. The technology gives the workers an insight into what they should expect in a real construction field.
With proper training on safety issues, cases of on-site injuries and fatalities are likely to reduce. Computer training programs along with ones for other technologies can minimize issues as well. Also, workers will gain exposure to potentially hazardous areas such as great heights and confined workspaces.
While virtual reality technology may seem costly to adopt, it is relatively cheap in the long run. Businesses that train workers with real equipment typically pay more than ones that use virtual reality. VR training is also safer than training workers using actual equipment.
Autonomous equipment in a construction site includes self-driving vehicles like excavators, rovers, and cranes. These heavy machines are designed to operate without humans on board. Workers can control them remotely, reducing the cases of on-site injuries and fatalities. The machines have sensors, transmitters, and GPS receivers that can send and receive signals from the operator. Operators can control these machines when they are as far as 50 miles away.
Construction firms can install diagnostic sensors on the autonomous machines to monitor their performance. Operators can also optimize the equipment to fulfill the requirements of a particular task, saving time and promoting safety. The use of smart technologies like virtual reality, exoskeletons, site sensors, autonomous vehicles, wearables, and drones on site creates a safer working environment for workers.