Technology in the Construction Industry: Mapping a Route to Safety
Workplaces have been getting safer each year, and since OSHA was established in the USA in 1970, through the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the CDC reports that fatal workplace accidents have halved. For those working in the construction industry, this is not always the case, however – and changes in technology and equipment can sometimes cause additional risks for the activities and services they provide a mitigating solution for. To understand how to discover which tech is the right tech for your business, there are some key areas to consider.
The fatal four
The most common reasons to consult a construction accident lawyer fall into four areas: collapsing structures or materials, being caught in equipment or struck by objects, electrocutions, and falls. These areas contribute to 20% of work deaths that occur in the construction industry. It’s not just construction workers who are at risk either, with many motorists or pedestrians injured through insecure worksites causing damage through debris and equipment. PBS gives details of a number of serious accidents that have taken place since the 1970 Act, including the collapse of a partially constructed cooling tower in West Virginia in 1978. More recently, an explosion at a power plant under construction in Connecticut in 2010. This highlights the fact that construction sites can be deadly, even in more recent technological times.
Technological issues to look out for
When considering any new workplace technology, take into account how it should be used safely and how often it should be inspected and maintained. Much of the heavy equipment used in construction now comes complete with a range of technological features that make it easier to operate and more complex to understand initially. Investing in the correct health and safety training for your workforce is really important to ensure you avoid accidents – and if you’re an employee yourself, it’s equally important to make sure you understand the equipment you’re using.
Construction tools that are unsafe or broken can cause serious accidents, including loss of limbs. Regular inspection by a qualified person will result in fewer accidents and increased levels of productivity, with less downtime due to malfunctions too. Don’t forget about the role of technology in communication either – for workers carrying out tasks separately in potentially risky situations, having a lone worker safety device that incorporates a ‘man down’ button, regular check-in reminders, and a panic system can make the difference between experiencing a minor incident and a major one.
There’s no doubt that technology provides many benefits, and has helped make modern construction sites safer. Considering the technology you use could support an even more positive change, avoiding unnecessary accidents and boosting productivity and reputation as a result.