Construction Jobsite Safety and Emerging Devices

Introducing new devices and technology at the construction jobsite can help with safety and productivity—and now there is a whole new crop of emerging devices that is going to transform how work is done at the construction jobsite in the future.

New safety technologies ensure workers are never left alone on the jobsite and also offer workers new tools to report unsafe conditions, hazards, or injuries and empower them to actively participate in site safety.

Clinton Wolfley, director of business development, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, says, “Safety advantages identified by progressive safety operated organizations (include) improved injury and illness rates, lower workers compensation premiums, improved communication between operations, and support staff.”

Emerging technology can help provide smooth operations when something does go wrong and an easy way to keep track of safety records.

There are several types of technology that are already here and many more that are coming that can help increase safety at the construction jobsite, which include:

  • The use of mobile apps has increased steadily throughout the past several years. Mobile apps can add a lot of value to construction, but also pose certain risks from a safety perspective. Thus, workers need to balance using the new tech and maintaining their own sense of safety at the jobsite.
  • Sensor technologies provide a way to accurately identify or provide an automated feed of information regarding construction resources such as materials, equipment, and workforce.
  • The use of wearables for tracking workforce health and fatigue has occurred recently on jobsites. Often, a majority of site superintendents walk the site conducting visual checks or rely on workers to report to the trailer or site office if they’ve suffered an injury.

These are just a few examples. Although, there are a number of challenges associated with implementing and executing all this emerging technology that needs to be addressed as well.

Solving Safety Issues

The construction jobsite is an inherently hazardous environment with changing materials and structures, and various trades, machinery, equipment, and tools. Safety challenges at the jobsite come down to two key issues: lack of total visibility and lack of effective, real-time communication tools. Construction technology tools that provide real-time visibility and communication to tackle these safety issues can be a big help at the jobsite.

Chad Hollingsworth, CEO and cofounder, Triax Technologies, says, “There is no way to know exactly who is on your jobsite and where they’re located—whether you’re a floor away or in a trailer across the street. On top of that, there’s no way to always know if a safety incident has occurred the moment that it happens. Jobsites lack practical, real-time tools to communicate report and respond to safety issues.”

The benefits of emerging technology to improve workplace safety and health are numerous. There are a range of options available that can assist contractors when on the jobsite.

Wolfley adds, “Emerging technology has the ability to improve productivity, increase performance, and lower operation costs. Specifically, handheld technology has aided safety and health professionals through the reduction of risk, identification, and mitigation of adverse safety conditions. Being familiar and up-to date with emerging technology has great benefits for the individual professional and for organizations.”

New construction technologies, particularly Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, provide a number of advantages on the jobsite as well.

Hollingsworth says, “By connecting safety superintendents to their workforce, and giving a realtime, comprehensive view of site operations, personnel are able to better identify, manage, and respond to risk.”

Executing New Tech

Effective implementation of new technology in the construction industry is imperative. Whether the project is remote or urban based, new technology has the ability to improve operational processes that ultimately reduce overhead costs and accelerate schedules.

Wolfley says, “Construction personnel now have the ability to take their project documents such as specifications, engineering drawings, work plans, hazard reduction analysis, and others with them as they direct work. Previously, these documents would be available at a project trailer or office and would often times be left behind. However, with the emerging availability of handheld technology and construction-specific applications, all related project documents can be available to all construction personnel with simply a few finger strokes.”

A safer jobsite is a more successful jobsite. Construction is an industry driven by people and relationships, and it is everyone’s duty to ensure each worker returns home safely at the end of every day. When incidents and near misses arise on a jobsite, time, money, morale, and productivity are lost.

Hollingsworth says, “When workers are able to work safely, they are more efficient and projects keep moving forward. Particularly in the current construction environment, with pre-recession spending levels amidst a skilled labor shortage, companies need to protect, retain, and optimize their current workforce.”

Emerging technologies are here—and they can provide some unique advantages for contractors and operators out at the construction jobsite. Perhaps now is the time to identify how all these new systems can help create greater safety at your construction jobsite.

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