Workplace injuries cost the U.S. economy an estimated $220 billion each year. Fortunately, new equipment, new technologies, and new clothing are making working in the industry safer. In 2020, a major construction industry trend has been the increased use of safety wearables to improve worker safety. This trend will likely continue, especially with the introduction of high tech wearables to monitor worksite activity and increase safety.
Wearables in Construction: Here’s What You Need to Know
Construction safety wearables combine technology with everyday construction clothing. These products can identify worksite hazards and speed up response time when injuries occur. For example, placing sensors in a worker’s helmet can detect exposure to poisonous gas. Sensors can also detect worker conditions such as heat stroke, and automatically alert a supervisor. These safety-oriented high tech wearables are similar to fitness safety apps and technology, which display vital information like heart rate, blood pressure, and more.
In the construction industry, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are often used to track the location of job site equipment. Now they are also being used in safety wearables. Placing RFID tags in construction clothing makes it possible to track the location of workers. When someone gets injured, managers can respond faster by knowing the exact location of the worker. RFID tags are especially useful for very large job sites with a big workforce.
These are only a few examples of construction safety wearables that are revolutionizing the workplace on a daily basis. While these safety wearables help workers avoid certain hazards on the job, there’s no substitute for OSHA-compliant training. AerialLiftCertification.com is your #1 option for aerial lift and scissor lift safety training. Sign up for our courses today, and you can get your company’s employees OSHA-certified in no time!
Construction Wearables: Tracking the Changing Landscape of Safety Devices
Just a generation ago, things like high tech wearables seemed like the stuff of science fiction. But they’re here to stay – and the impressive technology allows safety supervisors to track workers from remote locations, which is a big boost for industries like coal mining, nuclear power generation, and more.
Benefits of Construction Safety Wearables
Other benefits of construction safety wearables include:
– Track unsafe behaviors, such as workers jumping into a pit instead of using a ladder
– Alert managers to slip, trip, and fall incidents when a worker is knocked unconscious
– Make it easier to quickly evacuate large worksites when necessary
– Encourage workers to adopt habits that improve long-term safety
– Auto tracking of worker time and attendance
– Use data to predict and avoid future hazards
Construction safety wearables can also track the use of personal protection equipment or PPE. PPEs include low-tech safety items such as gloves, eye goggles, and ear muffs. These products help improve safety, but they can’t transmit data about the wearers. Wearable safety equipment can track what type of PPEs a worker is wearing and for how long. They can also tell when workers enter and leave a work zone that requires wearing PPE.
High Tech Wearables in the Construction Industry
Construction wearable technology that can monitor and send information via Wi-Fi is becoming a fast-growing construction industry trend. These include:
1. Smart Work Boots
One of the newest safety wearables is “smart” work boots. Their main benefit is the ability to connect to Wi-Fi and send GPS coordinates on the worker wearing them. They can also include motion sensors, RFID tags to provide workflow information. Some come with lighting to improve situational awareness for the wearer. Smart boots are especially useful for high-risk workers and emergency first responders. They help improve safety by alerting workers to job site hazards and unsafe working conditions. They can monitor and report falls, fatigue and other signs of worker distress. Smart boots can even help improve compliance with industry regulations and company safety protocols. They do this by providing real-time data for incident reports.
2. Heated Jackets
These have been around for a while. But technology has improved a lot over the past few years. New smart wearable jackets are lighter and more comfortable to wear. Many now offer adjustable heat settings. The battery packs can last up to eight hours or more. This reduces the chances of running out of power in a remote location. Jackets made with rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries can be charged in a vehicle. As a result, employees can now work more comfortably at cold worksites.
3. Cooling Vests
Heat stroke is a common and very dangerous result of working in extremely high heat. Cooling vests use a fluid cooling system to help control body temperature so workers don’t overheat. Ice water is stored in a bladder, which is usually worn on the back. The water is then pumped through cooling tubes to keep the wearer from overheating. Newer cooling vests are using battery-powered fans to provide personal air conditioning.
4. Smart Caps
Fatigue is a major factor in many workplace injuries. Smart caps improve safety by measuring the wearer’s brain waves to monitor fatigue. This helps prevent “micro-sleeps,” whereby workers fall asleep on the job. The smart cap uses vibrations and noise to keep the worker alert and/or stop what they’re doing. It also lets supervisors know when a worker falls asleep. That way they can take appropriate action, such as removing the tired worker from the job.
5. Sensor Clips
These small sensor devices are worn to track worker time, attendance, location, and safety. They detect when and where workers arrive at a site. They quickly notify supervisors if a worker falls. Workers can remotely report an injury to themselves by pushing a button on the device. Sensor clips can also send alerts to all workers if a site evacuation is needed.
The Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality smartglasses enable construction workers to overlay a 3D version of a building plan over a jobsite. In doing so, the smartglasses let construction workers see how parts will fit and things will work before a worksite is built. HoloLens could help construction workers plan ahead for projects, as well as minimize the risk of on-the-job hazards cropping up after worksites are created.
Smartwatches make it easy for construction workers to communicate with one another — hands-free, regardless of location. Going forward, smartwatches may connect to drones that construction workers can use to complete myriad tasks, perhaps faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Exoskeletons are wearable machines that provide construction workers with support for carrying heavy objects. They provide skeletal support to construction workers, so these employers can lower their risk of back injuries and lift more weight when they lift heavy loads.
Along with the aforementioned wearables, face masks are now becoming paramount for construction workers, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Construction workers are wearing face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and this trend appears likely to continue in the foreseeable future.
What Does the Future Hold for Construction Wearable Technology?
Wearables are becoming exceedingly important in construction and other industries, due to the fact that they can help employees automate tasks and boost business productivity and efficiency. In the years to come, expect wearables to drive meaningful improvements across the construction sector, particularly when it comes to workplace safety.
With wearables, construction workers can mitigate jobsite hazards before they get out of hand. They can gain unprecedented insights into work environments and find ways to eliminate dangers. Plus, wearables provide workers with health insights that they can use to avoid injuries and other physical problems.
In addition to wearables, expect the push for drones, virtual reality, and other state-of-the-art technologies to continue in construction. As construction workers integrate new technologies into their day-to-day activities, they may find that their work environments are becoming safer as well.
Enhance Safety With OSHA-Certified Training
Construction safety equipment and clothing are improving by leaps and bounds. But no wearable technology can replace the need for safety guidelines and training. This is especially true when operating forklifts, aerial lifts, and other large equipment. Combining safety wearables with OSHA-compliant training is a great one-two punch to boost safety, along with productivity. The type of construction safety wearables your company uses is up to you. But for the most complete and affordable aerial lift and scissor lift certification courses and complete safety training, AerialLiftCertification.com is the smart choice. With convenient access, streamlined learning methods and lifetime support, we’re here to get your safety program off the ground today!
Why take a risk when aerial lift training is so easy and affordable? Get your workforce OSHA certified on aerials today! Sign up today and add another high tech aspect to your safety protocols – convenient online training from AerialLiftCertification.com!