How Smart Technology Is Making Construction Sites Safer

By Rebecca Batisto

How Smart Technology Is Making Construction Sites Safer

Advances in technology have always moved construction forward. They’ve enabled companies to build taller, stronger, more energy-efficient structures. They’ve made construction workers safer and more efficient. But new technology can be expensive and tech companies are coming up with new ideas every day, so how can a business owner be sure their investment is good, and not worry about something newer and better coming along in the next six months? Especially as venture capitalists are betting big on the future of construction technology.

Given that construction is one of the top industries that we work with, we decided to look into the latest trends for technology in construction.

Virtual Reality

VR isn’t just for video games. Construction sites are using virtual reality in safety training scenarios to allow worker trainees to interact with the environment. Companies who have been using this technology report their trainees are more engaged, and there are fewer safety incidents in the field.

BIM 360 has gone a step further with virtual reality by creating a smart helmet that allows superintendents and designers to walk around the job site with smart glasses and step into their drawings using augmented reality (AR). This will enable them to see potential problems before they arise, and money is spent on construction.

The technology is interesting and could lead to money savings in the future, but this is not a trend that has taken off amongst smaller construction firms quite yet. We expect to see the trend continue and offer a wider range of products to fit the budget of construction firms of every size.

Smart Wearables

Smart personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to eliminate construction’s “Fatal Four” - falls, struck-bys, electrocution, and caught in/betweens. The now defunct Human Condition Safety created a smart safety vest and hard hat with sensors, GPS locating, real-time locating, and more. These vests could detect toxic air particulates, find someone if they go missing, and protect them with an airbag if they fall.

PPEs have been around for a while – think of watches that monitor your blood pressure, for instance – but this is taking that technology a step further. There are even work boots now that monitor the wearer for falls and worker fatigue.

Wearable technology is a fast-growing business, with every industry watching to see the potential for cost savings in health and worker’s compensation insurance claims. The market is very competitive and we expect to see a lot of changes and partnerships before wearables could be considered a good investment for growing companies.

Biometrics

For a lot of construction companies and work sites, swipe cards and proximity tags are the norm. But truthfully, it can be costly to replace lost or stolen cards or to produce new cards for new employees. Also, with the hundreds or even thousands of employees to manage, it can be easy for people to swipe their friends in or share a card.

Biometrics is a technology that can’t be faked or forged, so it’s emerging as a preferred method. Fingerprints and facial recognition offer more accurate payroll and attendance, and tighter security without the need for additional personnel.

In addition, facial recognition does a lot more than keep track of payroll. Construction sites are prominent places with several access points and valuable assets. They can also be unsafe for anyone not familiar with the dangers. Facial recognition can ensure only those with authorized access can enter these areas.

The benefits of biometrics is easy to envision. Whether it’s locking down specific areas of a job site or ensuring that certain onsite vehicles are only operated by those qualified individuals, the idea would definitely make work a safer place with less workers’ compensation claims expected. This is a technology we will be monitoring closely. Stay tuned to our blogs for any future updates!

At Normandy Insurance, we realize times are changing. But some things will never change, like how we focus on workers’ comp insurance, from loss prevention to claims management, allowing you to focus on your business. If you need expert claims handling in this ever-evolving world, get in touch today.

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