The construction industry ranks in first place when it comes to the number of fatal workplace injuries. In 2016, there were 991 deaths reported in the United States, almost 6% increase from the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
However, according to McKinsey & Company, the construction industry is lagging behind others in adopting new digital technologies, including those related to worker safety.
Not too long ago, the idea of people wearing personal trackers was viewed as something foreign, but thanks to companies like Fitbit and Apple, donning a wearable that tracks your every move is pretty much common place.
How do these wearable devices work? Wearable devices have sensors that can read information about the wearer and the wearer’s surroundings. This data is then relayed to a system that tracks GPS, biometric data, environmental markers and more.
So, how these wearables can be integrated into the construction industry to make the lives of workers safe?
Insurance company The Travelers Companies announced a collaboration with Gilbane, a large contractor company, and Triax Technologies, a provider of IoT construction technology, to explore the potential safety benefits of wearable devices, reports ZDNet.
This collaboration is the latest effort by Travelers to search for novel ways to help contractors handle safety risks of their employees, promote a culture of safety, and support business growth.
In the face of severe injuries involved in construction jobs, builders are continuously acknowledging the need to address safety issues more effectively.
The three companies have launched a safety project on a six-story, 60,000-square-foot New York City job site. More than 130 workers will be outfitted with wearable devices for the next 20 months, according to ZDNet.
Data collected from a variety of Triax's Spot-r IoT devices will be reviewed by Travelers. The employees will use a waist belt-worn device called Spot-r Clip.
These devices can automatically detect worker falls, thereby provide supervisors with real-time notification of a worker's location and other safety incident details, in order to deliver faster response. The device also has a feature that allows workers to easily report hazards or incidents.
Spot-r EquipTag, a device that monitors the location and use of construction equipment, will be attached to on-site machineries. Additionally, the site will have Spot-r EvacTags, which allow managers to trigger high-decibel, highly visible emergency alarms to workers via a dashboard, reported ZDNet.