Few industries must place a higher emphasis on safety than construction, where on-site hazards are a daily occurrence. Significant improvements have been made over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally scrambled the rules. Construction firms have had to make adjustments to how they approach health and safety precautions in the workplace. Luckily, technology has advanced along with these changing needs. New solutions to age-old safety problems can make a huge difference in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.
The question is how to make the most efficient use of such technology. Every construction firm is different, and each of the projects they take on has its own unique safety challenges. Protecting employees and visitors requires the right tools, as well as the proper know-how to use them efficiently. There are myriad ways to reduce the number of incidents and ensure proper safety on your construction sites.
Use Drones for Dangerous Jobs
Drone technology has proven transformational for all manner of businesses. According to one estimate, commercial drone use in the U.S. is expected to triple by 2024. Construction work in particular can (and should) use these tools to address countless safety and hazard issues.
Drone use directly translates to time saved on-site. This can not only keep an operation on schedule, but also free up resources to provide better safety equipment and improved response drills. Drones can provide remote pre-site inspections, which can uncover potential hazards without exposing the inspection team to risk. In contrast to on-site inspections, which require multiple participants and can take weeks, drones require very few personnel (just one operator, in many cases). Furthermore, drones scan with sensors specifically designed to spot hazards, such as infrared cameras, range finders, and 3D mapping technology. This can provide swift and accurate data without requiring additional inspections.
Drones prove useful even after the project has begun, too. For example, drones can provide 24-hour onsite security, as well as comprehensive monitoring during construction work itself. Managers can keep track of all personnel from a single monitor and respond quickly in the event of a problem. With drone technology, companies can monitor for problems such as leaks or structural irregularities, as well as spot locations that may not be safe and perform routine automated safety inspections. All of this can be accomplished with a fraction of the time and cost needed for in-person inspections.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as the Future of Safety
Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of science fiction movies. While the current reality perhaps isn’t as romantic, AI can be an invaluable tool in all sorts of business endeavors. When it comes to processes like data analysis and safety protocols, machine learning is the future.
For instance, AI programs can assist with visual analysis of a construction site, providing real-time data collated from cameras and other sensors throughout the location. This can provide vital information on potential hazards, accident likelihood, and similar key points to help plan for worker safety. This information is invaluable not only at the inspection stage, but also as work progresses and hazards emerge. And it extends to transparency and accountability as well: AI can easily monitor progress in any given area, and keep tabs on the responsible actors.
AI can accomplish even more when combined with compatible robotics, such as creating custom prefab construction in a controlled facility rather than assembling pieces on-site. This all addresses larger goals of organization and simplification. It’s easy to miss details with so much going on in a construction site. AI and machine learning can take on all of that, complete with automated prompts and a comprehensive view of every aspect of the operation.
Wearable Technology Makes It Easy to Track Employees
The “Internet of Things” allows companies to track and monitor key components in their equipment. Chips embedded in safety gear and similar wearables allow construction firms to monitor employees at all times, both to respond swiftly to potential safety issues and ensure COVID restrictions and other occupancy issues are followed. Wearable technology varies in form and feature, and can include the following:
- Smart hardhats embedded with cameras to convey visual data, and EEG sensors to monitor brainwave activity and fatigue levels
- eWatches and gloves can monitor blood pressure and heart rate, as well as enable communication between team members and chart progress on various tasks
- Smart eyewear can provide hands-free visual data for wearers to access pertinent information wherever they are
- Smart vests can keep track of employees in a given location—helping to meet personnel quotas—as well as monitoring physiological changes for fatigue or other conditions
Real-Time Information With Safety Software
Construction managers and personnel interested in integrating technology into their site management to improve safety conditions should turn to a comprehensive safety software solution. Salus provides a one-stop shop for across-the-board solutions, customizable for your specific needs and flexible enough to handle anything you might require. Salus’ safety software includes features such as:
- Enhanced Communications: Salus can digitize all forms and paperwork, so anyone can access and share them at any time
- Management Tools: Compliance and Certificate Management features ensure that you have all the proper paperwork at the tips of your fingers, as well as unified organizational tools for schedules, checklists and more
- Asset Management: Salus software tools include logbooks, automated reminders, and notifications to cover inspections and other key aspects of asset management
- Sub-Contractor Portal: Salus has a dedicated sub-contractor portal for you and your sub-contractors to access forms, filings, and work status reports, all in one place
Salus is an all-in-one safety software platform to help streamline and optimize your on-site operations. If you’re looking for a better way to manage your safety program, reach out today and try a demo to see what Salus has to offer!