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As construction bounces back from the pandemic, industry leaders are placing a stronger emphasis on safety. Minimizing illness and injury on-site can improve employment rates and job satisfaction. The digital revolution is helping engineers create supportive construction technologies.
When builders adopt job-site technologies, they reduce injuries and anxiety levels. Researchers notice higher employee productivity when individuals use technology in the workplace. Technology also increases employee morale and satisfaction by limiting injury risks.
The most common construction injuries
Nearly 20% of employee deaths in the US happen in the construction industry. The high rate of injury interferes with workers’ mental and physical health. Exploring the common sources of harm can help companies develop effective solutions.
Researchers evaluated four common causes of construction site injuries. The first cause is falling. Builders often work from extensive heights, which increases their risk of tripping and slipping off roofs or scaffolding.
Another cause of construction site injuries is being struck by objects. Poor site management and communication lead employees to strike other individuals with vehicles, machines, or materials. The third common cause of construction site injuries is electrocution.
Electrocution can cause death or may put individuals out of work for extended periods. Workers may experience severe burns, seizures, irregular heartbeats, or loss of consciousness from electrical injuries. In high-intensity scenarios, individuals can suffer from heart attacks, comas, and respiratory arrest.
The final cause of injury on construction sites is getting caught between objects. When machines trap individuals between materials or against a wall, they may break bones. Adopting construction technology can help professionals minimize on-site injuries.
How can technology reduce accidents?
There are six technological devices helping construction workers reduce accidents. Some digital advancements supporting the industry are smart systems and the internet of things (IoT). Smart technologies rely on sensors and other data-collecting devices.
The IoT is a network of devices that exchange data using Wi-Fi connections. The technology also conducts autonomous responses to different challenges. It uses machine learning to record common user patterns and minimize the need for human intervention. Different sectors of construction may apply these technologies to minimize injury risks.
Another important way smart devices and IoT technologies are supporting the industry is by enhancing communication features.
IoT technology pairs well with smartphones and improves on-site communication. Construction workers can download user-friendly applications on their smartphones to improve their hazard awareness. The technology tracks moving devices, materials, and vehicles to minimize conflicts on-site.
Individuals can also use smartphone apps to document projects, which reduces stress and improves accuracy. Creating accurate documents may decrease material damage and rework that leads to injuries.
Drones are supporting various industries by helping specialists minimize transportation emissions and generate accurate maps. The main purpose of drone use on construction sites is safety. Drones use high-tech imaging systems to detect hazards, the human eye may miss.
The technology can also reduce fall risks by conducting rooftop inspections. Construction professionals may remotely control the drones safely from the ground using IoT technology. The systems also collect accurate images and distribute them to computer systems.
Virtual reality (VR) technology is also entering the construction industry and improving safety measures. Many companies are investing in virtual reality systems to create realistic training programs. The technology offers a realistic simulation of obstacles on job sites.
When builders use the technology for training, they decrease accidents by increasing individuals’ hazard awareness. Construction workers can also use virtual reality to create project designs. Builders can use their digital designs to display their ideas to clients.
Developing accurate project blueprints can reduce on-site material damage. Fewer broken building components can reduce the risk of falling and other injuries.
Carbon monoxide-detecting hard hats
According to OSHA, when construction workers die from inhaling poisonous chemicals and compounds, carbon monoxide poisoning is usually the culprit. Researchers have evaluated the safety challenges and created an effective solution. They have developed hard hats with built-in carbon monoxide monitors.
The technology has an oximeter resting against the worker’s forehead. It detects blood oxygen levels through an individual’s pulse. Wearing the device can decrease the likelihood of experiencing adverse health effects from inhaling carbon monoxide.
When individuals inhale the gas, they may experience headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. Severe symptoms can be fatal, increasing the demand for on-site safety measures. Construction workers are also using smart sensors to reduce employee injuries.
Individuals can place smart sensors around their construction sites to minimize hazards and increase worker awareness. The sensors may also detect air pollutants and inform employees of unsafe air quality. When individuals use sensors to minimize their exposure to hazards, they improve their mental and physical health.
When individuals inhale high quantities of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, their risk of developing asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses rises.
Construction workers can also reduce health risks on the job by using 3D printers. In its infancy, 3D technology printed small machine components. Today, printers can construct entire buildings. One construction company built a five-story building in Suzhou using a 3D printer.
3D building technology supports modular construction, which improves on-site accuracy and minimizes air pollution. Minimizing pollution protects workers’ lung health. Building sections of a structure in controlled conditions, rather than on-site, can reduce the need for some elevated work practices.
Reducing workplace heights can minimize fall risks. Working inside also lowers one’s risk of environment-related injuries. Individuals working indoors experience lower rates of electrocution and slipping from rain.
Improving training programs
Construction professionals must improve their safety training programs to minimize on-site injuries. The supportive technology is only as efficient as its operators. Developing formal training programs can effectively minimize job-site mistakes and accidents.
When companies optimize their safety technologies, they can improve individual laborer productivity. Construction workers are more productive without hazards interfering with their physical and mental health. Building companies can minimize injuries by creating a safety-minded culture.
Developing a safety-minded culture
Individuals and organizations can develop a safety-centric culture on construction sites by holding their peers accountable. They may also reward good safety measures with bonuses and other benefits.
Another way to decrease job-site injuries is by conducting routine inspections.
How can companies integrate technology into the workplace?
Construction professionals can speak with their companies’ owners about the importance of on-site safety. Adopting injury reduction technologies may lower a company’s insurance rates, helping them save money over time. It also helps business owners maintain optimal employment rates.
After exploring safety technology’s benefits, employers may feel more compelled to invest.