Smarter safety tech needed to protect tradies as construction reopens
As Melbourne construction sites prepare to get back into the full swing of work following the easing of restrictions, ensuring the safety of tradies will be the number one priority.
Large constructions sites may now have up to 85% of their baseline workforce or 15 workers on site. This is up from 25% during stage four lockdowns. On small construction sites, specialist tradies will be able to move between five sites, up from three.
Australian and global technology experts have warned that building sites are one of the most hazardous places to work – even without the challenges of COVID, and that the industry needs to embrace new technology fast to keep tradies safe.
Libelium is one of the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) companies which deploys smart devices and applications to monitor health on construction sites and cities around the world.
“COVID has made safety the number one concern for industry and the public. As the construction industry prepares to reopen, workers and communities will need stronger reassurance about health and safety,” Libelium chief executive Alicia Asin says.
“IoT devices (internet-connected devices) and systems hold the key to creating safer sites, buildings and reducing impact on communities. IoT can do this measuring gases, mask wearing, group size, vibrations, dust levels, noise levels, tracking worker locations and on-site assets.
“The result would be both safer sites and, if data is shared with the public, more trust within impacted communities.”
Construction has used IoT technology in the past like with a noise sensor is noise is an issue.
Melbourne-based M2M Group is a distributor of IoT devices in Australia.
M2M Group director Daryl Chambers says the opportunity lies in connecting all devices and systems so sites and communities have a total picture of ‘site health’: “Construction has already started to see an increase in digitisation as designers and engineers work remotely, 4D and 5D simulation is used to optimise projects, and contractors use new online tools to monitor employees online. But when it comes to safety, more can be done,” he says.
“The mining industry is a great example of where this has been done well. Wireless technology and sensors are being used above and under ground to monitor every aspect of worker health. Post COVID, this is an approach construction should consider.”