Construction work can be dangerous. This is why there are such strict safety guidelines you have to follow on the job site. At one point or another, you’ve probably complained about changes to the safety rules, especially when they leave you needing more equipment; if any of that equipment has ever prevented a serious injury or possible death, though, you probably changed your tune.
Even with all of the safety equipment and regulations you work with, accidents can still occur. This is where technology can step in. New innovations in construction technology are allowing contractors to protect their workers better than ever before, although even more impressive options are in the pipeline in the coming years.
Send in the Drones
One big way technology can help you keep your workers safe is the use of drone technology in the initial surveys of job sites. Remote-controlled drones with streaming cameras have been around for years, but new features such as infrared cameras and payload transportation makes things even better when you’re trying to keep your workers safe.
A drone can help you identify potential problem areas on the worksite and can even drop a marker in a potentially dangerous area. If there are live wires on the jobsite, you can even use thermal cameras to identify potential hot spots in the walls before your crew starts tearing in.
One big aspect of safety is ensuring everyone knows what he or she is supposed to do before they start doing it. Workflow planning software allows you to adjust what your crew should be doing in real time. On-site computers or robotic stations can even map the job out in a 3D model and sync the resulting work map with iPads or other tablets your crew can use.
Another major area of innovation comes from new tools that are designed from the ground up to be safer for those using them. Many of these tools are designed to reduce or prevent body strain, lowering the risk of injuries and potentially making the job go faster. Smart power tools are being developed that will allow you to customize their settings with synced smartphone or tablet apps so that your workers can use a tool that’s been customized for the job without having to adjust settings.
There’s been a surge in 3D printing in the construction industry, leading to innovations that even a few years ago wouldn’t seem possible. You can order 3D-printed walls and other components your crew can install, taking prefab to a new level and cutting out both the time and potential hazards of building from scratch.
With jobsite 3D printers you can even make new parts or custom guards as needed, ensuring that your crew is never left without something it needs in order to operate safely. In some locations, they’ve even begun 3D printing concrete walls directly on the jobsite to keep crews out of harm’s way and significantly speed up construction. Expect to see more major advancements in this technology in coming years, especially in regard to keeping your workers safe.
There are a few different types of wearable technology that can make your jobsites safer and protect the lives of those who work with you. Augmented-reality glasses and goggles are in development that could feed information to your workers in real time.
Tracking wearables let you see where any of your workers are at a glance to make sure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be. In the event of a fall or other accident, wearables can even set off an audible alarm (and potentially even send an alert to synced devices operated by emergency crews) to get injured crew members help as quickly as possible.
There are a number of hazards you’ll encounter on the job that aren’t obvious at first. Sometimes you’ll find yourself wondering just how dangerous an area is or if it’ll fail once someone walks on it. You can send in a drone to get a closer look, but that won’t necessarily do you any good if you’re wondering whether the structure can support weight.
Fortunately, there are ground-based robots you can send in for this exact task. Control them like a drone, add some extra weight to test the weight capacity and you’ll know firsthand via camera whether the structure can support weight. At the first sign of trouble you’ll know that your crew needs to proceed with extra caution.
At one time not long ago, the development of CAD technology was considered a leap into the future. Today’s technology is already making major impacts on the development of new construction methods and safety systems that will be used on construction sites for years to come.