Did you know more than one-in-five worker fatalities happen in the construction industry? It’s considered the 11th most dangerous profession in the world. And when you consider the industry’s slow acceptance of technology, it’s a problem that’s easy to understand.
Technology can be intimidating to figure out. However, its under-the-hood complexities have addressed many risks in our industry. In the following article, we’ll be discussing exactly what those risks are. We’ll also talk about how technology is making a difference every day. Let’s build!
What are the Most common Construction Risks?
Construction brings with it four major risks: worker safety, damage to the job site, wasted time and resources, and design failure. Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Worker Safety
OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – has identified the “fatal four” when it comes to serious injuries experienced in the construction industry. They are:
- Falls: the vast majority at 39%
- Being struck by an object: a distant second at just over 8%
- Electrocutions: over 7%
- equipment-related deaths: 5%
Essentially, these four causes of death claimed the lives of over 59% of construction workers killed on-the-job (numbers recorded in 2017).
2. Damage to the Job Site
For most construction jobs, it’s not cost-feasible to have a crew protecting the site around the clock. You have to leave it, and that leaves it open to outside threats like thieves, vandals, and environmental hazards (this includes natural disasters).
When it comes to weather-related events, there wouldn’t be a lot you could do to prevent even if you did have a 24/7 crew. But relying on the ever-improving weather tech employed by meteorologists, you could protect costly tools and equipment and perhaps delay the more challenging and costly parts of a project by checking ahead.
3. Wasted Time and Resources
Construction companies that don’t employ technology to help out with their efforts run the risk of experiencing wasted time and resources. They do this by being unable to monitor the productivity of their employees or provide for proper training and development along the way.
4. Design Failure
Hesitancy with design planning technology means you’re working from a two-dimensional man-made system — not altogether worthless in that it served us for thousands of years, but it’s very limited in what it allows the architect, contractor, and subcontractors to do. We’ll discuss some of the helpful technologies to avoid design failures in the next section.
The Place of Technology in Your Project
We’ve examined the risks you’re most likely to face. Now let’s see how technologies both in-development and on-the-market are solving the issue.
Construction Technology Can Improve Worker Safety and Best Practices
A number of products designed to cut down on worker fatalities and injuries have arisen in recent years. Human Condition Safety is one that employs wearable sensors found in its safety vest and hard-hat system. It also features an airbag to address the biggest threat workers face (falls). GPS and sensoring helps ensure environments are safe for human workers and that they can be quickly located and assisted in the event they run into trouble.
Construction Tech Also Senses Building Risks…
Building sensor technologies can bring abnormalities more quickly to the surface. This enables project leaders or building owners to address issues like leaks or structural weaknesses in a timely manner. The quicker issues are addressed, the cheaper they are to overcome.
…And Helps Staff Projects More Efficiently
Tracing movements and activities of workers through sensoring and RFID mapping technologies gives a construction manager a better idea of where their teams are making an impact, what times of day, and for how long. That kind of knowledge can address the financial risks that come with wasted time and resources. They particularly make a difference on large buildings (i.e., skyscrapers, hospitals) where it’s difficult to move teams from level to level.
It Can Enable Smarter Design
Virtual reality, 3D models, and real-time coordination products like e-PlanREVIEW® (EPR) are great for addressing design flaws and oversights. e-PlanREVIEW™, for example, allows a browser-based system where designer, construction manager, permitting agencies, contractors, vendors, and builders can coordinate and communicate across a single platform no matter where they are or how big the job is.
This ability rapidly accelerates the effectiveness of communication and brings together all levels of expertise to maximize the efficiency of every design plan.
If You Are Ready to Make Your Construction Project More Tech-Friendly
Construction is not an industry where you take chances. Doing so can cost reputations, millions of dollars, and even lives. A good start for elevating the role of technology is e-PlanREVIEW™. Contact us today to learn more about how this technology can help, no matter where you are in the construction chain.