Wearable Technology On Construction Sites
Construction is a hard labor job that requires having both hands free at all times. Slippery smartphones are not always ideal, nor is anything that requires a free hand to manipulate. So, it begs the questions: What wearable technology could construction workers possibly use and use effectively? Why would they even want wearable technology? Good questions indeed, since safety should be at the forefront of any technology a construction worker uses. Here is more on this very subject.
Wearable Technology That Construction Contractors May Find Useful
As previously mentioned, phones can be hard to maneuver on site, but construction workers can utilize Bluetooth headsets, specifically the kind that sit right in the ear and only require a one-touch click to answer and hang up.
Other wearables that are useful in the field while construction is ongoing include:
- Smart glasses
- Smart watches with cell phone capabilities
- Pulse oximeters built into hard hats
- Safety vests with sensors for fire, sparks, proximity to power tools in operation (useful when you are too close to a saw), etc.
Each of these wearables serves a good purpose. The primary purpose, of course, is safety since none of these devices requires that a worker takes his or her hands off of something (or at least not take his/her hands off something for very long).
The smart watch can look up specific information, dial the project supervisor, call the boss with updates and can even be used in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset. The smart glasses can actually project building plans in real time and 3D, allowing crew members, architects and supervisors alike to see what has to be done next to the current project and verify that everything else is where it needs to be. The oximeter on the hard hat monitors pulse rate and oxygen levels in the workers’ blood to make sure they are not being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide while they are working on a building.
Wearable technology always comes with safety concerns, but usually, those concerns are directly related to responsible use. One such example is using your phone to talk or text while driving. Not smart, and in most states it is illegal. With the devices mentioned above, the same holds true. It requires common sense and knowing that you are not going to activate smart glasses while walking around on bare I-beams five stories up from the ground. It’s not smart. If the crew using most of these devices uses them with safety in mind, they can actually prevent more accidents from occurring.
For example, using the smart glasses while standing on the ground, can enable you to see where some reinforcements are supposed to be installed and where they have been missed. Keeping the crew off these areas until the proper reinforcements have been added reduces the risk that someone will fall or fall through that area.
The same holds true for the oximeter built into the hard hat. As the building is enclosed by the outer walls and the inner walls are being primed and painted, there may be an increase in carbon monoxide and dioxide. The oximeter would alert the wearer with a beeping sound. Some designs for this smart device and alarm connection to a smart watch are currently in production. For now, they only sound within the helmet and ear piece.
Helping Your Crew Stay Safe vs. the Expense of Lawsuits
If any of this applies to your construction company, or you are concerned about the safety and welfare of your crew while they are on project sites, you may want to consider investing in these devices. If you are concerned about their use and safety, you can always have a preemptive training on the proper and expected use of wearable technology on the job.
Correct training ensures that crews know exactly what the devices are meant for, and can use them for those intended purposes. If the price of several pieces of wearable technology has you balking, consider how much it will cost in worker’s compensation claims and lawsuits without the purchase and use of these devices. That alone should be enough to encourage you to purchase these items for specific crew members to use.
Kevin R. Marciano, Esquire, is the Managing Partner of Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C. Marciano focuses his practice on representing catastrophic injury victims, including claims for medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, product liability, premises liability, construction accidents, liquor liability, personal injury and mass tort class actions.