It’s past time for the construction industry to dig deep and implement solutions to keep workers safe. Turns out it’s one of those excellent opportunities when ethics and the bottom line are in sync. Let’s consider a few stats that outline the current state of construction site injuries in the US:
Consider it this way: overexertion is 25% of the problem. Workforce monitoring is a way to leverage objective data on exertion and fatigue - so you can rest workers when , and it comes with plenty of other safety benefits too.
A proactive approach to driving change and creating safer work sites
Let’s look at how the application of digital badges and beacons (IoT) can automate workforce data collection and drive safety improvements.
1. Leverage Data to take Preventative Measures: Much of the data collected on the workforce is often subjective and open to the interpretation of who is entering the data on a manual check in sheet, into an Excel spreadsheet or via a field app. Automating the data collection through badges and beacons offers project teams objective, reliable data that can be used to identify potential safety risks.
Fatigue reports are just one example of this. General Contractors and Trade Partners benefit from automated fatigue reports for workers on their sites. Research data shows that a fatigued workforce is more likely to be involved in accidents on site. Another example is leveraging workforce data to measure the consistency or turnover of the workforce by trade or for the project overall. If a site or a trade partner has a high degree of turnover, the project can take preventative measures to ensure the workforce is properly orientated to the unique safety risks for the site for which they are currently working.
2. Keep untrained workers off the site: Many site accidents occur because someone onsite performs an activity they are not qualified to complete, whether that is operating a piece of equipment or working on tasks that require a certain skill set or background. If a worker engages in unsafe behavior, it puts everyone else at risk. Because of the dynamic nature of construction, projects are often filled with workers from multiple companies where team leaders don’t know their skillsets of the workers and what they are trained and certified to do.
Working on a project that has a well-documented system to track workers and their designated capabilities will more likely protect all workers from preventable accidents, as project managers can be immediately alerted if someone is completing a task they shouldn't be or trying to use equipment they are not cleared to operate.
3. Designate and Restrict Potential Unsafe Areas: Many projects have areas such as high-voltage electrical rooms that can be highly unsafe unless workers have the right credentials and certifications to work in those rooms. Restricting access to those areas or rooms is the first step towards minimizing the safety hazards that those rooms represent. If restricting access is not an option, at a minimum, the site management team needs to be alerted if an unqualified worker enters into one of these areas. A comprehensive, automated workforce monitoring solution covers both bases.
4. Notify workers quickly in case of an emergency: All of the preventative measures are great and necessary, but we all know we can’t prevent all safety incidents from happening. Having a centralized database of all workers on site across all the Trade Partners is critical to any safety program.
A centralized database allows project managers and safety personnel to quickly notify workers of an event and communicate instructions on how to muster or evacuate the site. Leveraging the power of IoT and sensor-based identification, project teams can quickly and automatically check people into a mustering zone and identify any workers that are not accounted for and where that last worker was seen.
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