Technology That Helps Employees Stay Safe While On The Job
April 11, 2019
By: Alan Fuchsberg
It's well-known that construction sites are full of hazardous situations and settings. In fact, there's a saying on construction sites called the "Fatal Four." It's shorthand for the four common types of accidents that take the death of construction workers and include electrocutions, falls, a strike from an object, and caught in between. While the risk of serious injury and death can't be completely eliminated from a construction site, it can be minimized through the use of technology that comes in a variety of forms to provide a safe working environment.
Wearables come in many different forms and uses, but they all focus on keeping a worker safe throughout their shift. The most common wearable comes in the form of a device that clips to the worker's belt and sends information to supervisors via an app like WorkerSafetypro. Supervisors can use the app to keep tabs on who's on the site and where they happen to be at any given moment. If an accident happens, the supervisor can respond quickly to the scene and get it under control without delay.
Workers won't interact much with the wearable after they put it on due to the wearable's mostly passive nature of reporting information. But if the worker falls while wearing the device, it will send out an alert that help is needed. And if a worker finds someone in need of medical assistance, he can press a button on the device to send out an alert as well. And for those working in hot weather. there are wearables that monitor the heart rate and body temperature of the worker and can alert them if they're about to overheat.
Drones are eyes-in-the-sky for site supervisors who need to keep tabs on what's going on above them. A drone helps with the construction of the building by giving perspectives that aren't readily available without a helicopter and gather site data that's relayed to an app like DroneDeploy. They can also be used to locate employees and uncover hazardous conditions before they become a major source of concern. The information provided by a drone can be vital in preventing a construction accident.
Safety Inspection Checklist Apps
Daily safety inspections on jobsites are a necessity if everyone's going to stay as safe as possible. But it's time-consuming and there's a potential for a detail to get missed if it didn't get put into the checklist and printed out before the inspector went out to do their job. Safety inspection checklist apps go much farther in preventing human error and improve reporting times. LIsts can be updated quickly and the safety information is reported quickly. No waiting for the inspector to transfer their list from paper to the computer screen.
Fall Arrest Training App
OSHA reported that there were 366 fatal falls on construction sites in 2017. The agency recommends that construction site operators use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) at heights above six feet off the ground. However, it's not uncommon for employees to forego their PFAS because they can't remember how to use it properly, even though they received training. The Fall Arrest training app seeks to change this by using a novel method to show wearers how to properly attach a harness.
The app turns the act of properly securing the PFAS into a video game by prompting the user to pick the correct anchors for a specific use. It also provides a visual reference for the user in the form of a picture with the proper connections being made. The app helps educate the worker in the use of their PFAS and make them much more likely to use the PFAS in the correct fashion.
Autonomous Construction Equipment
The purpose of autonomous construction equipment is to handle tasks that are too dangerous for people to perform. Heavy equipment manufacturers have been developing self-driving construction equipment that works via remote control to get a job done with minimal human intervention. The goal is to be able to remove people from a situation with heavy equipment and keep everyone safe at all times. If something goes wrong during the operation of the equipment, only the equipment gets damaged and lives are preserved.
Remote operation is limited to consoles due to the complexity of operating the machinery and it's unlikely that operation via an app will ever happen. However, remote technology increases safety on a job site and manufacturers will keep pursuing the creation of fully autonomous machinery for that reason.
Indoor Site Sensors
Eventually, the exterior of a building gets covered, and the once open-air site becomes an indoor site. That means air contaminants are more likely to be trapped in the building and potentially harming workers as they go about their business. Sensors mounted to pillars on each floor can detect a variety of conditions that include humidity, temperature, pressure, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and more. The information is collected in real time via the sensors and sent back to the person in charge of collecting the data.
These sensors provide safety through their ability to detect adverse conditions that can cause harm. For example a floor was painted and the VOCs built up in the space overnight. A sensor can detect the overload and send an alert to the responsible party via an app. The person who is responsible for safety can take action and clear the buildup before workers start work for the day. No one has to deal with an overload of VOCs during their workday and can breathe the air safely and without worry.
Practical and novel use of technology on the job site means that it's much harder to overlook safety protocols and ignore an adverse working condition. Their use means workers can ply their trade, maintain safety standards, and take comfort in knowing that technology is helping someone watch over them to keep them safe.
Alan Fuchsberg has been a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer located in Manhattan New York. In his view, all clients should be considered members of the family and shown dignity, respect, and compassion.