When Construction Meets Tech: The Latest Trends Keeping Workers Safe on the Job
In 2016, 4,693 workers died on the job in the private industry. 991 of those people were construction workers, keeping this industry at the top of the list when it comes to workplace fatalities. According to OSHA, just eliminating the top four causes of deaths in construction (falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between) would save the lives of 631 workers every year. With firms like yours planning to hire even more workers this year, it’s important to explore the many ways technology can keep workers safe.
Below are some of our favorite integrations of technology and safety in mobile apps, wearables, and even aviation.
Safety Mobile Apps
With the majority of people spending most of their time on their phones, it makes sense for construction workers to use safety mobile apps such as:
This app created by OSHA and the National Weather Service aims to keep workers safe while working in hot weather. It uses the heat index of a work site to send alerts to workers if the risk of related illnesses like heat stroke and exhaustion is too great. They also get regular notifications to do things such as drink fluids and take breaks.
Created to prevent one of the top causes of worker deaths, this mobile app acts as a fall detection device. Using the sensors already built into your Android phone and iPhone, it can sense when its owner falls on a worksite. A 30-second alarm sounds immediately after the fall. If a worker doesn’t turn off within 45 seconds, the app alerts their emergency contacts via text, email, and a voice-recorded message.
With this app, construction teams and their project managers can stay on top of worksite safety. They can log safety hazards and send notifications to team members automatically. Managers can also use the app to conduct inspections and keep track of safety checklists.
There’s a lot of opportunities to use wearable technology on a job site to keep workers safe. Being able to monitor workers in real-time so accidents can be prevented can go a long way in improving construction safety. Companies like Caterpillar and BP are already on the wearable tech bandwagon. Here are a few to know about:
Help your workers starve off fatigue and prevent sleep-related accidents with the SmartCap. Insert the lifeband into your company’s headwear of choice, download the Life app, and let the state-of-the-art brainwave technology take care of the rest. It alerts workers like drivers and miners when they’re reaching the point of fatigue that can prove hazardous while working.
This ultra-light piece of wearable tech alerts workers with a loud alarm and strobe light when they walk into a hazardous zone on a job site.
Monitor falls, track worker locations, manage fatigue, and sense temperature and motion in these smart work boots. Another cool feature? They can charge themselves.
Embedded in the safety vests or hard hats of ground workers, this Radio Frequency Identification technology can alert personnel operating heavy equipment if their coworkers are in dangerous proximity to their vehicles.
Robots and Drones
This kind of technology can solve a number of safety problems on a construction site. Drones can survey and monitor a site from the air, sending the real-time information managers need to spot safety hazards and quickly resolve them. They can also be used to inspect high-rise structures, dangerous spaces and hazardous materials - tasks that could otherwise put a worker at risk of injury or death. Robots are being used more and more to do dangerous and repetitive work like laying bricks, leaving workers to do more challenging (and safer!) tasks.
What type of technology would you like to see to encourage safety on your job sites?
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