Safety is the most important part of every construction site. Between heavy machinery, dangerous demolition equipment and dizzying heights, any construction project is fraught with hazards. According to OSHA, 23 percent of private sector work-related deaths occurred in the construction industry. In fact, in recent years, the number of work-related injuries has been on the rise due to the boom of the construction industry with a concurrent decrease in inspections, and companies cutting corners to alleviate mounting competitive costs.
Contractors Turning to Technology to Help Protect Workers
The good news is that many tech-savvy companies are turning to technology to increase jobsite safety. The technology comes in two main forms: hardware in the form of wearable technology, and software that improves safety alerts and data analysis for long-term improvement.
One of the latest trends in construction safety is wearable technology that streams a worker’s location and status at all times while on site. Many of these wearables are linked to already present check-in/check-out procedures.
While these wearables usually come in the form of lightweight, waterproof badges or sensors that can be worn on belts or vests, there are mobile apps that turn a worker’s existing smartphone into a safety device connected to the cloud, automatically notifying key personnel of an incident.
While wearables are useful pieces of hardware, they are most effective when combined with software that alerts jobsite personnel of a safety incident. In essence, a mobile app can act as a fire alarm of sorts, alerting key personnel in real-time. This quick access to knowledge can be invaluable.
However, neither a wearable nor a safety notification app can address long-term trends. Aggregating incident data over time and analyzing it by jobsite is an effective way for general contractor’s and project managers to identify trends and take proactive steps to correct them. Ideally, over time, one would see total safety incidents go down and the overall organization become safer by addressing the most problematic crews and locations.
Safety Hardware and Software
Technological advancements in wearable technology and safety software are just two pieces of a larger puzzle. Breakthroughs in hardhats, exoskeletons, and more lightweight and durable harnesses save lives and prevent accidents every day. While an app and a hardhat might not seem very similar, they both work towards a common goal: making jobsites safer.
Stan Singh is director of product management at Raken where he works closely with superintendents and foreman in the field to help alleviate their pain points associated with job site documentation through the use of technology.