From using smartphones and tablets for viewing plans and managing schedules to using drones for mapping and surveying, today’s construction sites have transformed and are no longer the “blue collar” industry of yesteryear.
Add in “smart” buildings becoming the standard and wearable devices aimed at improving safety – technology has invaded the industry and we don’t see it leaving any time soon.
The new way of building surely has its advantages when it comes to safety and efficiency, but it also means additional risks: increased costs, delays due to tech glitches and the big factor that’s all the buzz – Privacy. There is a fine line between knowing a lot about your employee in order to keep them safe and uber efficient and digging too deeply into their private lives.
Wearable technology can monitor heart rate, body temperature, perspiration levels, geophysical location, time in motion and even EEG brain waves – generate a report and send it off to management. HIPAA and other regulations around employee/patient privacy are a concern for HR leaders when it comes to wearables. These rules do not come into play when you have a foreman simply monitoring a job site for potential risk such as roofers working in excessive heat and therefor at risk for heat stroke.
There are the safety concerns as well. Smart technology can be distracting.
According to Construction-Today.com, products that offer heads-up display such as the
DAQRI smart hard hat are great, until they aren’t. When the interaction with heads-up display coincides with operating heavy equipment such as cranes, bobcats, or heavy equipment the distraction can be very dangerous.
Construction leads should consider strict safety protocol when using smart devices in order to mitigate an increase in injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims.
At IPG, we are seeing an uptick in Auto claims due to distracted driving and it often doesn’t include texting while driving. Using GPS systems while driving or even talking on the phone via blue tooth takes a driver’s eye and mind off the road.
In the end, it’s all about safety training, solid processes & procedures, and monitoring the situation. Technology has changed the way construction sites and workers operate. If you would like more information on safety protocols for your business, give us a call!