Wearable technology is improving the safety level at construction sites. Monitoring devices and sensors provide built-in warning systems to detect everything from potential collisions, to changes in a worker’s vital signs. The addition of wearable construction technology reduces risk for accidents. But it also helps improve efficiencies through time and worker location tracking. Here are the latest wearable technology trends for the construction industry that we have on our radar.
Smart Work Boots and Hard Hats
Smart work boots and hard hats sound pretty awesome. And they are changing the way workers and project managers communicate. For example, smart work boots connect with Wi-Fi and can share GPS coordinates to help keep track of worker locations. Motion sensors or Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags can continue to feed workflow information to a central location. It allows collecting data that can be reviewed in real-time or stored for future reference. Light sensors on work boots keep workers more aware of potential hazards.
Smart hard hats are designed to monitor motion. Then comes a report when a fall occurs or when the construction worker is experiencing distress. They can even detect fatigue, reading brainwaves that indicate microsleeps. The hat is programmed to vibrate or set off an alarm to alert the worker if they are at risk of dozing off. This can greatly reduce risk for fatigue related accidents. Monitors can also be attached to hats, and boots, or just worn on the arm to detect dangerous gases.
Temperature Controlled Outerwear
Heated coats and cooling vests allow workers to remain comfortable in severe weather conditions. They come with adjustable temperature settings. These allow workers to control their comfort levels in the heat of summer or when working in below-freezing temperatures in the winter. The coats and vests are also lightweight, so they don’t detract from workers’ movements.
Smart Glasses Virtual Reality
Products such as the Microsoft HoloLens allow construction workers to overlay a 3D version of a building plan over their jobsite before the project is underway. It provides a clear picture of how things will work, improving efficient planning while minimizing risk of worksite hazards. The virtual reality experience offers a proactive approach to job site planning empowering project managers to mitigate risks they might not otherwise spot.
Weight Supporting Exoskeletons
Much like the exo-suit worn by Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens” the straight from sci-fi exoskeleton provides added support for construction workers to carry heavy objects. This futuristic equipment reduces risk for back injuries while making it easier to lift heavy loads common on construction sites. However, this technology is not limited to the “full” exoskeleton suit. Smaller equipment to assist with lifting such as power gloves improve grip for both lifting and using equipment and tools.
Time and Attendance Clips
Sensor clips are designed to track hours, attendance, safety, and worker location. Although the time and attendance sensors ensure workers are paid for the hours worked, they are not limited to tracking hours. They are also designed to make it easier for workers to notify others when an injury occurs. At WellDone Inc., we use a similar technology based on a punching application to record working hours and locations that are then transferred to our accounts payable. This prevents mistakes and lost time sheets while keeping accurate records. We also use a mobile system for our safety procedures, saving paper and making our records accessible online.
These technological advances could prove to be the key to reducing accidents and improving job site efficiencies. At WellDone Inc. our field expertise, technical knowledge, and safety-first approach have always been a top priority.