Innovative Wearables for Safer Construction Operation

Mar 30, 2021Construction Equipment Safety

Working in the construction industry comes with safety risks which sometimes lead to fatalities, which is why safety is one of the prime concerns in the construction industry. 

Given the nature of construction jobs, the industry continues to seek and develop ways to reduce accidents and deaths among construction workers. Injuries from heavy machines like construction hoists or other hazardous factors onsite have been decreasing due to OSHA regulations. However, more can and should be done because nearly half of all fatal work injuries in the United States are construction workers.

 

Wearable Construction Technology for Safety

What is wearable construction technology? As the name suggests, it is any device that construction workers wear on their bodies. 

Some wearable construction technology may prove to be key elements to eliminating accidents and fatalities on site. The US Chamber of Commerce reports that 83 percent of contractors believe that construction wearables would improve onsite safety. 

With the advancement of technologies, the future of safe construction will involve smartwatches, tracking beacons, exoskeletons, and other wearables that can help ensure worker safety.

Here are some examples of innovative wearables to reduce heavy machinery injures and to improve general construction work safety:

Smartwatches

Some smartwatches have powerful sensors that can help monitor activity data, detect falls, and enable safe communication. Although many people have smartwatches for exercise, fashion, or for monitoring their daily activities— these handy little devices can help keep construction workers safe at work.

Collect Health and Activity Data

Access to health and activity data gives contractors and workers the chance to prevent overexertion. Some smartwatches can even detect abnormal heart activities or spot respiratory distress.

Detect Falls

Falls can cause severe injuries and even death on construction sites. Some smartwatches can detect falls which can help alert managers and emergency personnel which can speed up response time to accidents.

Hands-Free Communication

Construction workers need both of their hands especially when operating equipment like construction hoists. Smartwatches give workers the option to communicate without the use of their hands at all.

Upgraded Safety Boot

A pair of safety boots or steel-toed boots are already an essential piece of safety equipment for construction workers. However, companies like SmartBoots by SolePower are aiming to upgrade and improve this piece of wearable construction technology.

A simple pair of safety shoes will soon be a piece of powerful wearable equipment that is capable of detecting pressure and location and many more.

Detect Pressure

Safety shoes with pressure detectors can help detect falls or small shocks sustained by construction workers. 

Location-Aware

Why is location awareness important? There are scenarios in construction sites wherein lone workers need to get some task done in unsafe areas. Location sensing safety boots can ensure that every single construction employee is in a safe place.

Smart Sensors

A hard hat is another essential piece of safety equipment on construction sites. However, adding a sensor to it can do more than just protect construction workers’ heads. 

Some companies are already developing smart hard hats that can detect fatigue, prevent microsleep, and sense proximity.

Detect Fatigue

Working on a construction site can drain a lot of energy. Not resting enough can take a major toll on the body. Working with fatigue can result in severe or fatal situations like falling from a platform or accidents while operating a construction hoist or other heavy machinery.

Monitoring vital signs and detecting fatigue are useful features that can help reduce work-related injuries and deaths on site.

Prevent Microsleep

Microsleep is the sudden moments of sleep that can occur in fatigued individuals. Microsleep is highly dangerous for construction workers especially when they are working in a high place or with heavy equipment.

Heavy Equipment Proximity Alert

Proximity sensing is a useful feature especially when heavy equipment like construction hoists is involved. Heavy machinery or even the site itself can have blind spots which can result in accidents.

Smart hard hats with proximity sensing can help alert contractors, workers, and equipment operators about potential collisions which can help prevent deaths, injuries, and accidents.

Smart Body Wear

Smart Body Wear

Image Source: Constructible

Aside from the wrist, head, and feet– other body parts need protection on a construction site. There are wearable construction technologies that can reduce muscle fatigue, track heat, and detect harmful gases.

Heat Tracking

There are sensors worn around the bicep or chest that can detect core body temperature. They can help prevent dehydration or heat strokes.

Gas Detection

A gas detector can be worn on the upper arm or chest. This device can detect a variety of dangerous gases. This can prevent unnecessary exposure which can save lives.

Reduce Muscle Fatigue

Exoskeleton is a special technology that helps improve strength and reduce muscle fatigue in situations like heavy lifting or gripping tools.

 

Conclusion

Technology has advanced significantly over the past few years. Advancement in technology makes it possible to develop better wearable construction technology for reducing accidents and deaths in the construction industry.

Even now, wearable construction technology continues to emerge leading to astonishing improvements. Instead of adding more gear to ensure safety on the construction site– companies are developing existing pieces of equipment to have additional safety features.

United Hoist has been excellent to work with from the initial pricing phase throughout on site operation.  They have met all the dates needed on site to erect the hoist and have continued to service as scheduled/needed.  Our estimating, management and field staff have been pleased with United Hoist on our projects.

Heath M.

Vice President

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