Where safety innovation fits in the heads-down construction environment

Construction Dive, 5/20/2019

Construction Dive

In the construction industry, the most threatening risks are the ones that go undetected for too long — design flaws that are spotted well into construction, bad habits that could get a craft worker hurt or a hazard that escapes a manager's attention.

Underlying most contractors’ safety programs is a group effort at vigilance on site to make sure workers are operating safely and are alerted to dangers before an incident takes place. Technology can add another layer to this effort by facilitating safety-related reporting and conversations or by detecting hazards in real time across multiple areas of the site, compared to a superintendent or safety manager who can only see what is before him.

But even more valuable to safety leaders, perhaps, are the platforms that can take this data and structure it in a way that allows them to understand trends on their projects and even pre-empt incidents altogether.

Newmetrix is one such tool, which pairs artificial intelligence and machine learning with jobsite cameras and videos. The program combs through image data for risks at a rate that is not humanly possible. It ranks potential hazards, such as missing personal protective equipment or standing water, on a dashboard in order of their risk level. Three-month, six-month and 12-month trends are presented, which gives safety leaders a sense of where their efforts are best spent, Charlie Avolio, president and general manager of Suffolk’s New York region, told Construction Dive. “The system is learning how certain movements from the crews and certain things with the way jobs are set up might be able to tell us predictively whether the crew is working safely and if there are things specifically in that group that we need to make adjustments to,” he said.

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