The issue of safety is a point of ongoing conversation in the construction industry. Instances of neglect or irresponsible management often lead to major injuries, exposure to dangerous chemicals or even death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction laborers have the 10th most dangerous profession in the U.S.
Fortunately, much is being done to continually improve the safety conditions of laborers. In honor of Labor Rights Week and Labor Day just around the corner, we want to shed light on a variety of measures being taken in the construction industry to improve safety standards for onsite laborers.
Stricter Punishments for Safety Violations
In recent months, there has been more focus on job site safety coupled with harsher penalties for those who contribute to an unsafe work environment. In August, a jury ordered New York Crane and Equipment Corp. owner James Lomma and his companies to pay $47.8 million to the families of two construction workers who died after a crane collapsed on their site in 2008. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) also recently hit Joseph Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers Construction with a $1.79 million fine for “willfully exposing” eight workers to asbestos.
During the same month, the project manager and the owner of a California construction company were sentenced to two years in prison after what OSHA called the “preventable death” of a laborer who was buried alive in 2012. This is a prime example of increasingly stronger punishments since historically contractors have rarely faced jail time for fatal construction accidents.
Let’s take a look at how companies are minimizing risk by turning to the latest technologies for safer work environments.
Wi-Fi Saves Lives
New wireless network (Wi-Fi) technology currently used in the harsh environments of chemical plants and refineries could soon be deployed on construction sites. Using the concept known as the Internet of Things, everyday devices are connected to allow data capture. An example of an item capturing data could be a laborer’s ID tag, which could act like a sensor tracking data such as temperature, movement, location or even heart rate.
There’s an App for That
OSHA recently released a Heat Safety Tool smartphone app as part of their campaign to prevent heat-related illness among outdoor workers. In addition to providing basic education on the dangers of heat illness, the app reminds workers to drink water often, rest in the shade, report any heat symptoms and be aware of what to do in an emergency.
Modeling for Lower Risk
Assemble’s web-based solution enables users to collect data, add intelligence and collaborate in real-time to make better decisions during a project. Using the method of Building Information Modeling (BIM), users can more effectively assess any potential risk and prevent instances that could be potentially dangerous for laborers.
Have a fun and SAFE Labor Day weekend!