As construction tech continues to develop, so does the potential for measuring, predicting, and preventing safety incidents on worksites. With every day that passes, technology becomes more and more integrated into the construction industry. For example, building projects have become much simpler to communicate and collaborate on due to smartphones and mobile apps. Also, BIM has enhanced project visualization while making scheduling more efficient; not to mention reducing wastefulness and rework.
Many companies are using new and improved technologies, such as virtual reality and wearable devices, to increase safety levels on construction sites. Although the majority of construction managers (84%) think that more needs to be done to improve safety conditions, the adoption rate of technology-based initiatives has been relatively low.
5 ways smart construction tech is changing the industry for the better
With the advent of drones, 3D printing, and other innovative technologies, construction managers can now have access to a wealth of data that can help them keep their workers safe. By monitoring environmental factors like weather patterns, traffic flow, and even worker fatigue levels, construction managers can take proactive steps to prevent accidents from happening.
In addition to safety incident prevention, smart construction technology can also be used to improve the overall quality of a construction project. By tracking material usage and waste production in real-time, for example, construction managers can identify problems early and make necessary adjustments. This not only saves time and money but also results in a higher-quality finished build project.
Construction site safety has come a long way in recent years, and it’s only getting better. With smart construction technology, contractors can now complete projects more safely and effectively than ever before. Here are just a few of the ways that smart construction tech is changing industry safety standards for the better:
1. Increase construction site safety compliance with mobile applications
Training your construction workers on safety measures and compliance is crucial, but it’s difficult to evaluate if everyone is participating without digital processes. Mobile applications that consolidate safety protocols such as scheduling, notification, and reporting make it easy for managers to ensure not only compliance with state and federal regulations but also identity which employees need more training.
Data collection on safety compliance standards provides construction businesses with better visibility into what is happening on the ground. Mobile applications that make it easy to evaluate participation and effectiveness of safety activities also allow construction businesses not only access this data more easily, but from anywhere at any time.
2. Improve site safety training with a single centralized platform
Research has found that unsafe actions and areas cause most work-site accidents. Usually, this happens because those on the job don’t understand the safety rules, didn’t receive proper training about them or are unaware of the protocols in general. The existence of safety procedures and access to training aren’t always enough to guarantee that all employees know what they need to do to stay safe.
Creating a centralized digital safety platform is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone in your company has access to training and information at all times. When you use an integrated data service, you can also be sure that employees stay engaged with the material. Regular refresher courses and assessments can help workers keep up with new processes and regulations so they are always aware of what they should be doing.
3. Supplement physical labor with wearable smart devices
Many construction workers are now using wearable technology to help with their work. This includes things like augmented reality and virtual reality headsets, as well as exoskeletons that provide extra support for employees who have to do the heavy lifting. By 2023, it is estimated that almost a quarter of all contractors will be using some form of wearable technology on the job.
Technology isn’t only for office workers; it can also help manual laborers. Construction work is tough on the body, and common causes of injury are overexertion and fatigue. However, with wearable technology such as exoskeletons to physically support them, construction workers can stay strong throughout their shifts. This tech can also monitor worker fatigue levels and identify those who may be vulnerable to an accident before one happens.
4. Prevent safety incidents and blind spots with predictive data analytics
When new technology is brought onto construction sites, an incredible amount of data is generated that can then be used to gain valuable insights. Recent studies have shown that if predictive analytics are used properly, accidents at work can be predicted with almost perfect accuracy. With construction hardware increasingly connecting to the Internet of Things, software analysis must keep pace to make use of all this data.
Predictive analysis helps site managers discover potential mechanical failures before they occur, greatly decreasing the risk of injury to workers from faulty or unmaintained equipment.
5. Respond to safety incidents quickly and effectively
Technology has certainly helped to reduce the number of workplace injuries, however, construction companies should stay active in their site safety practices. They must always be prepared for any potential safety incidents or events. When implementing digital solutions across divisions, it is important to integrate all these technologies in a single source of truth to avoid work siloes and miscommunication. By sharing data, safety reporting and insights in real time between devices once they are properly integrated, managers can have a greater overview of the state and location of each critical system. This gives them the ability to identify and respond quickly to any negative event taking place on-site.
Why software integration is the key to unlocking digital construction site safety
A key point for business leaders to remember when incorporating new technologies is that they rarely exist alone. Construction companies can often run into trouble breaking down barriers between departments and creating cohesive systems that work together. Therefore, several construction business leaders are in agreement that any software or hardware introduction should be added to a system where it is fully integrated and has specific benefits for pre-existing safety workflows. By automating the data flow between critical systems, construction site managers can reduce human error and have better foresight when addressing potential safety concerns.
When companies integrate rather than discard and replace systems, they often encourage buy-in from employees, improve existing systems, and reduce costs. Also, those employees who have worked with older systems for many years may find the transition easier if newer technologies are integrated into legacy systems.
Employing modern project software solutions alongside existing systems gives business leaders the ability to create a preventative safety framework in line with industry safety guidelines, while also improving data collection. This allows them to identify potential safety issues early on, reducing the chances of human error and minimizing the occurrence of catastrophic events.
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