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Safety Week 2019: How to Combine AI and Human Insights

Shawmut uses AI to analyze large amounts of data

Each year, from May 6 to 10, more than 70 national and global construction firms celebrate Safety Week. It’s an industry-wide chance to advocate for safe jobsite practices, revisit standards and professionally say: “I’ve got your back, and I know you have mine.”

Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) on the job is a great way to make improved safety and accountability a reality for workers and construction managers alike. Recently, Shaun Carvalho, Vice President of Safety at Shawmut Design and Construction, started using AI to analyze large amounts of data and draw out insights with an unbiased perspective. As a result, the company was able to improve safety while scaling its business.

AI builds on your technology stack

Prior to adopting AI, Shawmut used multiple solutions built for the construction space:

Drawing from industry experience, the team outlined the top risk factors on each of its projects. Then, using AI, they created dashboards that aligned with existing tools and ranked construction projects in terms of potential risks. Suddenly, it was easy and actionable to direct human energy where it would be the most effective.

Shawmut chose work at height, standing water, housekeeping issues and personal protective equipment (PPE) as the riskiest factors for construction projects. The team used their own insights to reach these conclusions by reviewing past data and thinking critically about which areas could help make significant safety improvements.

Human decisions; AI power and scale

Risk doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Warning signs and red flags are almost always there—if you’re prepared to find them. However, even the most dedicated team of workers and managers is simply not able to see everything to most accurately assess and predict risk. Today’s jobsites are increasingly complex, fast moving, and ever dynamic -- which means that risks to be managed are constantly changing.

Automated analytics, made possible through AI, help construction managers recognize and manage risk in ways that were never before possible. The Shawmut team hopes to take these insights one step further and use AI to predict specific incidents before they happen. However, even with this goal on the horizon, the trend data available through AI can help any construction firm better focus its attention and create safer standards on every job site.

AI can also give back to the humans who use it. At Shawmut, Shaun Carvalho used AI to make his company’s pledge to improve safety a tangible reality. In turn, his position changed from Director to Vice President of Safety.

Ready to celebrate Safety Week by affecting transformational change for your team? Read more about Shawmut’s process, and start using AI on the job today.

Written by Paul MacLelland

Paul heads up Account Development for Newmetrix - he is responsible for helping customers understand and experience the value of the technology. Prior to joining Newmetrix, he was a Managing Principal at Multivisita MA, a Sales Director at Building Engines and the founding member of the sales team at Vela Systems. He holds a BA in History from UMass Amherst. Paul’s hobbies include racquetball, sprint triathlons and whatever his 2 daughters get into.

View more posts by Paul MacLelland.

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