How Safety Technology Can Also Improve Productivity
17 January 2023Architecture and Engineering, Computational Design, Connected Construction, Construction, Digital Transformationproductivity, Safety
The investment construction companies make in safety technology is foremost about getting workers through every day as safely as possible. Now there is artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help them do that. The AI can analyze data collected in the field to not only track and increase safety but also improve productivity.
These mutual benefits are important because of the danger inherent in the industry, complicated by the push to be more productive with shorter schedules and shrinking skilled labor pools.
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According to a 2022 Trendline Report by Construction Dive, construction companies’ spending on safety technology is increasing. Advanced technologies that are on the upswing in the industry include:
- Wearables – These popular devices for boots, helmets, safety glasses, and vests, can track worker movements on a jobsite, monitor vital signs and personal health, monitor jobsite hazards and weather conditions, detect fatigue and falls, and alert emergency personnel. Wearables can collect a large amount of data, which companies can analyze using AI and machine learning. A 2021 ForConstructionPros.com article stated, “. . . the construction industry as a whole is primed for mass wearables adoption.”
- Machine and equipment sensors – When used in conjunction with wearables, heavy machinery sensors can alert equipment operators and workers of potential collisions. They can also help managers schedule equipment more efficiently, decreasing costly downtime and rental expense. Fleet-tracking software works for heavy equipment as well as smaller vehicles, keeping track of how operators adhere to the company’s safety standards.
- Cameras – Dash cameras are another example of tech that allows managers to monitor equipment movement and driver safety, saving time and promoting a safe jobsite. Collecting data with 360-degree cameras provides insights into ways to improve operations and safety.
- Digital and mobile AI tools/software – Cloud-based software can synchronize jobsite information and make it available in one place for workers, managers and other stakeholders. Being connected and having access to first-hand information – safety issues, potential hazards, delays, and other risks – helps management make more informed decisions. The quality of communication can improve dramatically. AI can detect patterns in data and analyze information about worker movements and equipment usage to improve productivity, set milestones and increase returns on investment. AI can also assess risk levels and compute options for establishing safer, more efficient work areas on the jobsite.
- AR/VR platforms – Data gathering tools like smart glasses can provide real-time jobsite data. That can be extended with augmented and virtual reality technologies.
These tech advances provide better information for decision-making, which can drive efficiency while resulting in safer projects. Safety tech investments like wearables, sensors, cameras, AI, and extended reality platforms are likely to be widely adopted by companies because they can be integrated into a company’s risk-management plans, while improving the bottom line and offering a return on investment as well.
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