How wearables are changing construction safety

A large proportion of the fatal workplace injuries that occur every year happen on construction sites. As a result, the industry is constantly looking for opportunities to evolve and do better when it comes to construction safety. Wearables are a type of tech that can make a big difference to safety standards on construction sites – and yet still less than 10% of contractors are using them. So, what are the opportunities that wearables offer and what improvements could they make in terms of changing construction safety for the better?

  • Smartwatches. This is the type of wearable tech that most of us are already fairly accustomed to. Powerful sensors allow smartwatches to monitor activity, enable communication and detect physical danger, such as when a fall has taken place. Given that falls are the leading cause of injury and death on a construction site, being able to detect this immediately and alert emergency personnel could be vital when it comes to saving a life. Smartwatches can also be used to monitor the general health and fitness of workers on-site, which is also a contributing factor when it comes to safety. Everything, from heart rate to step count (to avoid exertion) can be included.
  • Smart boots. Boots are already a key piece of protective safety equipment but smart sensors can transform these into an even more essential piece of kit where safety is concerned. For example, where they are fitted with pressure sensors, they can detect small shocks or falls and automatically call for help. Smart boots can also track worker location to improve safety and help to minimise the time that is spent in unsafe areas.
  • Smart bodywear. Adding a layer of smart bodywear to the construction kit can help with safety in several different ways. It can be used to monitor heart rate, for example, as well as core body temperature and even in detecting dangerous gasses. The use of exoskeletons can provide physical support in situations where the body is under pressure, such as lifting heavy tools.
  • Smart hard hats. The addition of a sensor band around the rim of a hard hat can transform it from a simple piece of protection into something much more effective. One key way in which this can improve safety is by detecting signs of fatigue so that workers can be encouraged to take a break. The smart hard hat can also evaluate brainwaves looking for microsleep, which can be particularly dangerous for those working on a construction site. Plus, smart hard hats can communicate with heavy equipment to provide proximity alerts so that the potential for accidents and collisions is considerably reduced.
  • Safety glasses. Augmented reality tech is a channel through which construction workers can access a wealth of information that can be used to improve safety standards on site. Smart glasses fitted with augmented reality tech can provide information and warnings about leading edges and hazardous materials, for example, as well as deliver vital safety protocol cues.

Wearables have a lot to offer the construction industry where safety is concerned.

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