Despite major improvements in construction safety processes and procedures, an alarming number of job site safety incidents and fatalities still occur every year. To put things in perspective, there were 1,061 construction worker deaths in 2019 which represented 20% of private industry deaths. In total, an average of 15 workers died on the job every day. With rapid advancements in technology solutions, general contractors and subcontractors can’t afford not to leverage innovative solutions to improve workplace safety. Not only does improving safety standards protect employees, but a safer workplace is a more productive workplace.
While adopting new technology on the job site often requires significant time, training, and funding, it can be well worth the investment. In order to stay competitive, subcontractors can’t afford not to be constantly evaluating new solutions to improve performance. Below are some popular categories of job site safety technology that subcontractors and general contractors can leverage to create a safer workplace.
Jobsite Safety Apps
Mobile apps have significantly improved the way we share information and communicate in real-time. Today, there are dozens of construction safety apps that can be used to reduce workplace accidents. With job site apps, safety procedures, project plans, drawings, and other materials can be at the fingertips of authorized workers. Apps can also be used to document job site hazards, report on conditions in real-time, and instantly submit incident reports. Safety managers can use job site apps to schedule safety meetings or instantly notify teams of issues as they arise. They can even be used to automatically take attendance. With so many apps on the market today, subcontractors can leverage real-time communication to drastically improve their safety programs.
The usage of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in construction safety has been significantly increasing over the last several years. Drones offer safety managers the ability to get a bird’s eye view of the job site, which makes it significantly easier to inspect safety hazards, identify fall risks, and monitor operations. Drones can be equipped with either far or near-infrared cameras, radars, range finders, or any equipment necessary to monitor or scope a specific portion of the site. Drones also make it easy to evaluate the integrity of structures, document job site conditions, and even help facilitate search and rescue operations.
Virtual reality training solutions have revolutionized the way companies conduct construction safety training, mostly due to the fact that they make safety training fun and engaging. With virtual reality-based training programs, workers can safely simulate job site conditions, protocols, and hazards to get real experience. By developing a virtual reality-based safety training program, you’ll not only effectively teach workers how to practice safety procedures, but you’ll also increase safety training engagement through the use of innovative technology.
Leveraging wearable technology solutions on the job site can drastically improve safety and decrease workplace injuries in a number of ways. Below are some common wearable technology solutions used in the construction industry:
- Physical Health Monitoring – Wearable devices, such as smartwatches or fitness trackers are able to track heart rate, body temperature, and breathing patterns.
- Tracking Beacons – These devices leverage Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to establish safety boundaries and locate workers in the event of an incident or emergency.
- Proximity Detection – There are numerous safety jackets, vests, and helmets on the market that are equipped with safety tech features such as GPS signaling or automated LED lights that activate when a worker enters a specific area.
- Exoskeletons – Physical labor and construction work takes a tremendous toll on the body. Fatigue is one of the leading causes of workplace industry. These injuries can ultimately lead to shortened careers and long-term physical ailments. Exoskeletons are wearable technology solutions that have motorized joints that help aid with movements, posture, and balance. This technology helps workers complete strenuous tasks without the risk of strain or fatigue. Exoskeletons come with a power assist and an unpowered mode and have proven to reduce workplace injuries.
- Smart Sensors – Smart sensors are a widely adopted tech solution in commercial construction workplace safety. These sensors can be installed on walls, ceilings, or structures throughout the job site. Smart sensors can detect harmful toxins like asbestos, monitor changes in temperature or humidity, or even notice vibrations or sounds. By being able to monitor changes in air quality, noise, or vibration, smart sensors can alert workers to potentially dangerous changes in time to safely evacuate the job site.
Every day, there is new cutting-edge technology released that is designed to improve job site safety. While it’s not always realistic to invest in the latest and greatest solutions, subcontractors should always be thinking about how they can improve their construction safety program.
If you’re looking for a complex construction subcontractor that prioritizes safety above all else, contact us at Unique Building Group today. We’re constantly evaluating and investing in technology solutions that not only improve safety by also increasing workplace efficiency.