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Five Ways Technology is Improving Health & Safety for Construction Workers 

At this point in time, it almost seems redundant to point out just how many risks construction workers are exposed to every working day, but while much has been done over the past couple of decades to increase our workforce’s safety, there is still a long way to go. 

This year, the cost of injuries within the construction industry across the UK has reached a staggering £16.2 billion a year, a number that serves only to emphasise how much work is still left to do when it comes to keeping construction workers safe on the job. 

While there have been significant advances in PPE, with many companies launching new ranges of more comfortable and protective equipment, a lot of the protection that we seek for our workers comes in the form of implementing new technologies on-site that can help monitor and manage risks before they even occur. 

So, let’s start by breaking down these new technologies and figuring out exactly how they will help improve safety on-site. 

1. Wearable technology 

While the classic PPE (gloves, hard hats, boots, etc) is an essential measure for construction workers to ensure their health and safety, that’s not to say there’s no room for improvement – in fact, there are more items that workers can wear to protect themselves without restricting their movements or ability to perform on the job. 

Wearable technologies are yet another way that safety can be improved in the construction industry, with many helping monitor vital signs, identify collisions, and keep track of workers who are working unaccompanied. 

An exoskeleton is one example of wearable technology which assists the workers’ physical support when there is a high risk of injury, the same way that a vibration monitor will provide workers alerts when they have reached, or are close to reaching, their limit to vibrations exposure. 

Pieces of kit like these ones not only help maintain healthy workforce day-to-day, but they also prevent workers from developing future injuries and illnesses, such as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. 

2. Site sensors 

Given how quickly technology is advancing these days, there is little on a modern job site that can’t be monitored from afar, and site sensors provide an extra layer of safety for workers on-site. 

From noise and temperature levels to exposure to dust particulates and proximity to operating machinery, site sensors can be implemented across an entire construction site to monitor a variety of factors. 

With safety margins and audio alerts built into them, the site sensors will inform the workers when their personal exposure limits have been reached, making it much easier to monitor and manage your workforce even if you aren’t on-site. 

3. Digitalised safety processes 

In 2022, a pile of papers is considered a relic, so why are safety processes still so focused on analogue methods? 

Say goodbye to the paperwork you can never seem to find your way through, because with an ePTW system, not only is safety ensured while simultaneously easing the process, but you can use the time you would have spent sorting through papers to focus on other aspects of the job site. 

Digital sign-offs allow for more traceability, and you can rest assured that you have clarity of what’s going on throughout the construction site, thanks to real-time visibility, even if you aren’t on-site. In addition to this, consistent standards can be implemented across various sites, even for different types of construction work. With consistency across teams and visibility over the sites, you can rely on this technology for a safer working environment. 

4. Drones to monitor sites 

Being aware of where things are at all times is crucial in a construction environment, as many of the risks a job site poses are related to machinery and equipment hazards. 

That is precisely why drones are excellent for construction companies. Used for aerial inspections, drones offer a wide view of the area and the surrounding environment. Given their ability to reach elevated areas and places that may be deemed unsafe, the inspection is much more accurate and efficient.  

With drone technology, any safety hazards can be spotted prior to work being carried out, and consequently managed more efficiently to identify any procedures that need to be in place. 

5. Digital training sessions 

Training is a critical part of working in the construction industry. While many other jobs will only require you to undertake extra training if you’re looking to upskill or take on more responsibilities, construction workers are constantly undergoing different types of training to ensure they are aware of the many physical health risks involved with the job. 

However, training practices can be streamlined even further by investing in digital training sessions. That way, all workers across several sites can learn the same information, avoiding miscommunication that could be spread via in-person training through multiple sites.  

As well as this, sessions can be recorded for workers to revisit to refresh their memory, ensuring increased safety conditions as employees can take their time to become much more familiar with necessary procedures. 

While workplace technology can seem like one of those buzz phrases that everyone seems to throw around without paying much place to what it actually means, it’s clear that the investment in these advancements can significantly increase health and safety not only in construction but across a multitude of sectors – it’s just a matter of taking the time to find the right one for your business. 

What do you think about these new technologies and their place in job sites? Get in touch and let us know in the comments below. 

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