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Could wearable technology make construction sites safer?

| Aug 21, 2019 | Construction Workers' Accidents

Construction sites are notoriously some of the most dangerous places to work. This is not news to construction workers. They understand the risk they face every day.

However, new technologies could help reduce that risk significantly. And it is protective technology that construction workers can wear, just like any other safety gear they would already wear to prevent an accident or injury on site.

Catering wearable technology to construction workers

Wearable technology may sound like something from the future. However, we already have smart wearable devices, from Apple Watches to FitBits. But the wearable technologies meant for construction workers go beyond even that.

Some of these technologies include:

  • Cooling or heating vests
  • Mixed virtual reality glasses
  • Smart hard hats or watches
  • Wearable detectors or trackers

The inclusion of wearable technologies on construction sites only seems to increase with every passing year. Not all of these technologies are available today, but Construction Dive reports that they could be widely available much sooner than previously thought—possibly within ten years.

Increasing safety and reducing injuries

Each gadget provides a different service. But combined, wearable technologies provide several levels of safety for construction workers, such as:

  • Alerting workers about falling objects or dangerous conditions
  • Assisting workers physically to ease the strain of working or lifting
  • Providing visual resources to measure objects or connect with other workers across the site
  • Tracking a worker’s movement to prevent exhaustion or injuries 
  • Contacting emergency services and provide the worker’s location after an accident

These technologies offer significant benefits for construction workers across the country. Even though construction workers should be covered if they suffer work injuries, no matter the dangers they face in their field, this technology should help to keep them safer on the job (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment §9-507).

However, advances in technology always come with concerns as well.

What are some common concerns?

Some of the concerns surrounding wearable technology include:

  • Privacy: Some workers worry that these technologies might invade their privacy, but the technologies would likely come with privacy policies and require the consent of the wearer.
  • Price: The newest technology usually comes at a high price. While an employer’s insurance might cover some costs, many contractors or construction companies are concerned about what these technologies might cost their company.
  • Malfunction: There is always a chance that technology could malfunction. Wearable technologies malfunctioning could put construction workers at even more risk of an injury or prevent them from detecting a danger. 

Working on a construction site always involves a certain amount of risk. In the next few years, workers and employers alike may have to consider what risks they will take to reduce the chances of serious workplace accidents and injuries.

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