There’s no denying it, construction can be dangerous. In fact, the accident rate in construction is 71% higher than in other industries. Each year, accidents and injuries on the jobsite result in workers’ compensation claims that cost an estimated $2.5 billion.
How do injuries occur? Falls, electrocutions, machinery accidents, and repetitive motion injuries are among the most common causes, and in many cases, the real culprit is miscommunication or human error. Many of these incidents can be prevented if OSHA guidelines are followed, but often, they’re not. In 2020, the top three most common OSHA violations were related to a lack of fall protection (5,424 violations), hazard communication (3,199 violations) and respiratory protection (2,649 violations).
Fortunately, innovations in construction safety tech are evolving to help firms comply with OSHA protocols, and better implement security measures, keeping your workers safe. Let’s examine how these construction safety technologies are improving safety on the jobsite, reducing the risk of noncompliance through safety protocols, and boosting protection for workers throughout construction.
The market for Augmented Reality is expected to grow at a CAGR of 77% between 2019 and 2023 – and part of that growth is due to its application in Construction. AR has significant implications for worker safety, because it delivers information in real-time, when workers need it most.
Workers can leverage mobile devices with AR capabilities to automate measurements of a physical space, visualize potential design changes ahead of time, and access safety information in real time, while on the job. A headset with AR capabilities can be used to simulate operating tools and equipment in training scenarios, helping workers learn how to safely operate the tools before using them in the field.
Wearables and Exoskeletons
Today, 83% of contractors believe construction wearables will improve jobsite safety. Wearables can be used to monitor workers’ vitals in real time, which can be particularly useful in extreme environments. Smart hard hats or watches can monitor brainwaves to check for worker fatigue that may result in dangerous mistakes.
Some firms are also making use of construction exoskeletons, which have motorized joints that provide support and power, alleviating the strain of repetitive motions such as lifting, bending or crouching. These prevent fatigue and injury, while enabling workers to perform tasks faster and more easily.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies are also making their mark in construction, enabling informed and intelligent decision-making that can dramatically improve productivity and safety on the jobsite. By analyzing data from sensors, project management software, mobile apps and surveillance cameras holistically, AI can be used to track worker behavior and activities as well as jobsite conditions, and alert project managers of potential safety issues that could result in injuries.
Video surveillance has always been an essential component of a sound jobsite safety strategy, and with increasing complexity on the modern jobsite, it has never been more important. Video and photos from construction cameras – many of which now offer intelligent security features – help to improve jobsite safety by providing real-time insight into jobsite activities.
Advanced construction camera solutions enable project managers to view jobsites remotely to ensure workers are following safety procedures and protocols at all times, and address any potential hazards immediately, before an injury occurs. Having construction cameras on-site deters crime, harassment and abuse. If an incident were to occur, the cameras will provide detailed visual documentation that can later be leveraged for investigations.
Teams can also review and analyze footage from construction cameras, identifying ways to update and improve processes, jobsite conditions, as well as prevent subsequent incidents. Plus, visuals can even be added to training materials to help enhance their effectiveness, ensuring workers understand and follow correct procedures from day 1.
With mobile technology now commonplace on the jobsite, safety apps are always accessible to help and protect workers in a number of ways. For example, Osha’s Heat Safety Tool enables managers to calculate the heat index and predict risk levels on the jobsite. A compliance app called Safety Meeting delivers safety information directly from OSHA. TrueLook’s mobile app provides 24×7 mobile access to TrueLook construction cameras, so project managers can keep an eye on their jobsite, whenever and wherever they are.
Doing Our Part to Improve Worker Safety
While construction jobsites will always be a bit riskier than the average workplace, technology will continue to evolve and provide new ways for firms to train and monitor workers, convey safety information, and help keep everyone on the jobsite safe. With live remote viewing, intelligent security features, and unlimited cloud-based storage of all video footage and photos, TrueLook cameras are doing their part to reduce risk and improve worker safety.