As of January 2022, there are more than 100 hazards that Vinnie, our construction-trained AI, can "see" in progress photos or 360 site images. They span all major risk categories, and we’re constantly finding additional indicators of risk to teach to Vinnie. Given that we are all about the data at Newmetrix, we don’t just brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard to identify them. No, we analyze OSHA and BLS data for trends, data mine our catalog of construction images for prevalence, and generate preliminary models to test visual feasibility. This method serves us well, but there are also times when the tremendous experience of our customers guides us to signals of risk that we hadn’t previously considered.
About a year ago, our product team was on a call with a customer whose career has been spent as a construction safety professional. The discussion centered around activities and objects on job sites that might serve as leading indicators of risk, even if they are not inherently risky on their own. Without skipping a beat he said, "Show me pictures of the trash cans and the port-a-potties, and I’ll tell you if the site is safe."
He went on to explain that the maintenance of these items on job sites is akin to the old saying, "A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind" or the routine of making the bed every morning. If the site is not able to take care of the seemingly simple task of making sure the garbage bins don’t get overfilled, then it is likely understaffed, overworked, or both, and that’s definitely an indicator of risk.
But even on its own, housekeeping is a critical component of keeping a job site safe. If trash cans and dumpsters are overflowing, there isn't a place to put new waste as it is generated. Piles of debris form and grow, creating trip hazards and unsafe working conditions. And that’s not just us saying this. OSHA requires good housekeeping. Standard 1626.25(c) reads: “Garbage and other waste shall be disposed of at frequent and regular intervals.”
Vinnie Gets Trashy
After some planning, we got to work and this is what Vinnie can now detect:
Trash Cans and Bins of various colors and shapes
Dumpsters, including those that are full or overflowing
So does that mean if you empty the trash bins and dumpsters your site will magically be free of incidents? I wish we could say, “Yes”, but there are no “silver bullets” in safety. That said, the presence of trash and debris cluttering the site at the very least indicates that there are likely deeper issues that most definitely do contribute to safety risk, and that merits a discussion. These discussions can help raise the team’s safety consciousness and improve safety culture, which at the end of the day is what we should be striving for as an industry. As the new tag gets introduced to Newmetrix predictive models, we’ll know a lot more about whether this is just another housekeeping hazard, or whether it’s an important predictor of a near-term safety incident. The data will tell.
But either way, when Vinnie says it's time to take out the trash, it’s worth listening to.
Want to learn more about how Vinnie can transform the site images you already have into safety observations, identifying well over 100 different hazards? Read about our Safety Monitoring solution or schedule a consultation.