Prioritizing Safety Investments
A robust construction worker safety program should be fundamental for contractors and project owners. According to Construction Dive’s recent article, Advancing Heavy Construction Safety with Technology, each dollar invested in safety returns between four and six in savings.
Further findings show that:
- Transportation-related construction incidents continue to increase. *
- The average cost of an injury in construction is nearly double that of all industries ($27,000 per injury versus $15,000 for injuries across all industries). *
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) place the average cost of a job-related fatality at around $990,000, which includes medical expenses, worker’s compensation, and civil litigation. Add in the disruption to work, increased insurance premiums, worker replacement, and training and attorney fees, and the actual expense grows far beyond the CDC estimate. *
*Advancing Heavy Construction Safety with Technology, Hexagon, Leica GeoSystems & Construction Dive, May 2022
Saving money isn’t the only benefit. Yes, a good safety program saves money, but it also helps retain employees. No one wants to work in an unsafe environment and companies that cut corners on safety risk developing a poor employer brand. This can make it more difficult to retain and replace employees.
Using A Ring of Connectivity to Geofence Danger Zones
Connected jobsites enable geofencing technology that can improve safety. Geofencing is the feature within an app or software program that uses GPS or RFID to determine geographical boundaries. On the jobsite, this can be used to restrict access to hazardous areas like open trenches or exposed electrical lines. Managers are then sent notifications when vehicles or workers enter or leave predefined areas. They can also track the how long employees or vehicles spend in restricted areas. In addition, workers can get instant notifications on their smartphones alerting them if they have strayed into a restricted work zone, which can help prevent accidents.
Enforcing Jobsite Speed Limits
Every jobsite is unique. Some are many stories tall, and others like renewable energy wind farms can stretch for miles. No matter how expansive the jobsite is, each has an established speed limit that vehicles should respect to ensure optimal safety.
Connected jobsites support technology that can be used to create and monitor speed limit zones, which allows management to track the speed of vehicles throughout the jobsite. Many geofencing applications can alert managers to unsafe driving when vehicles exceed speed limits or brake abruptly.
Staying Connected Keeps People out of Harm’s Way
Connected jobsites feature technology based on RFID connectivity, geospatial solutions using GPS and GIS navigation, and IOT devices to help workers maintain a safe distance from heavy equipment. For example, Leica Geosystems offers a Modular Safety Awareness Solution to increase visibility between machine operators and workers preventing machine-to-people, machine-to-machine, and machine-to-object collisions. Wearable sensors, smart phones, and heavy equipment each connect to the jobsite network and then communicate with one another to provide real-time safety alerts.
Reliable communication is essential in the event of an accident. When every second counts, access to a cellular signal or Wi-Fi calling is mandatory across the jobsite to ensure safety. In addition to the ability for crews to place emergency calls, new construction site safety tools can utilize geofencing technology to keep everyone on the same page with the touch of a button. The important takeaway here is ensuring that the entire field of work is blanketed with reliable connectivity.
Capturing data from the connected jobsite is increasingly a priority for construction executives and safety managers. Tracking near-miss incidents and capturing data from connected devices helps draw insights on the safety of jobsites.
For example, near-miss incidents can be logged using wearables that track workers on foot and the location of heavy equipment. This reduces “struck-by” incidents, historically one of the most dangerous hazards on the jobsite.
Connecting to a jobsite network allows contractors and owners to capture data from enabled devices. Private LTE cellular networks and/or private Wi-Fi networks can be set up specifically for the benefit of the general contractor or project owner. The GC can then control where on the jobsite there will be coverage, how the network will perform, who has access and priority, etc. Each project dataset can be mined for insights on safety.
For more insights on how connected jobsites can improve safety, see our article on Why Construction Site Wi-Fi Solutions are Important for Safety.