The construction industry is probably one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Before the emergence of the technological innovations we enjoy today, accidents and injuries are relatively common on the job site.
Now, with the help of smart PPE and other construction technology, the construction site has gotten safer and efficient.
Preventing Hazards Through Innovative Design and Engineering Controls
Any expert would tell you that the best way to protect the workers from dangerous situations and hazards is to eliminate the danger itself. However, there are cases where this might seem impossible, and the use of engineering controls should be considered as a way to reduce or eliminate potential hazard.
In the construction industry, contractors and supervisors require the use of PPE for quite a time now, and because of that, it’s even hard to imagine a workplace or construction site that doesn’t have it. This can be enjoyed even more with the recent smart designs embedded in PPE wearables– ranging from intelligent safety vests, safety helmets, safety goggles, and so on.
This could save thousands of lives, as the sensors would be able to alert those who are in charge during emergency situations or if something unusual happens.
Proper Monitoring and Communication
Smart PPE makes it possible to accurately monitor the overall health, as well as the safety of the workers while being able to improve communication at the same time. These are typically found in clothing, but can also be part of other wearables, such as hard hats, vests, safety glasses, and wearables to gather data and transmit feedback.
These can track biometrics, scan barcodes, enable video and voice calls, and even monitor and detect the exposure to harmful elements.
Aside from that, it can also be used to determine various illnesses and if it’s work-related. This can be quite helpful, especially for cumulative diseases, such as poisoning, hearing loss, skin disorders, and respiratory disease.
In the construction industry, wearables are also being used together with Bluetooth technology as a way to connect the physical and the digital worlds. Through this, it has become possible to monitor and understand those who are in the workplace, material movement, and the equipment being used. Hazards can easily be defined, and link to worker location, creating a safety bubble.
It Doesn’t Only Protect, But It Also Prevents
For a lot of construction workers, they often wear earplugs or are trained to wear one while doing their job on the construction site. However, for its optimum efficiency, it’s essential that the earplugs are individually fitted and appropriately inserted.
Failure to do so would block out almost every sound, and it would be difficult to communicate or at least hear the warning signals efficiently. With smart PPE, it became easier to protect the hearing from damaging noise, while allowing the worker to listen to what is needed to be heard– this includes warning signals and being able to communicate with other workers.
Visualization Technology is another innovation that helps the construction industry assess the events and anticipate them. Through this, workers will be able to understand how dangerous the environment is, even if they are not physically present.
For instance, the construction industry can use virtual reality to experience the building even if it’s not built yet. Then, VT can also be used through hard hats as a way to analyze data and models onto a hands-free display.
Recording safety inspections have also changed for the better. Now, reporting can be done remotely from the site, through the use of a laptop or any other device.
The Future Of Construction Looks Bright With Emerging Technology
There’s no denying that technology has been affecting everyday communication on the job site. Gone are the days when they have to wait for several weeks or days to have the telephone lines installed. Now, with cell phones, communication has become instantaneous.
Then, with smart PPE, the safety of those who are on the construction site are 100% guaranteed. Everything is basically up to date and accurate.
For the following years, we can expect that PPE will continue to develop for site workers. There will be more hard hats capable of detecting and reporting impact or fall, and there will even be some that could detect carbon monoxide. GPS would also be handy to track every moment of the worker, and even locate missing persons, especially during accidents.