The Internet of Things (IoT) is already being used in many buildings. This allows these so-called smart buildings to save energy and costs and to receive maintenance on time. New opportunities lie in the application of IoT in the construction process. This guarantees a safe working environment on various levels.
More and more victims in construction
In 2020, as in previous years, there were more accidents in the construction industry. The number of fatalities also increased. This is apparent from a report by the SZW Inspectorate. In 2019 there were 337 victims of accidents in the sector, but in 2020 this has increased to 443 victims. For example, concrete blocks fell down on someone, and there were several fatal accidents involving crane work. There are about 440 victims per year in the construction industry. This is about 133 cases per 100,000 jobs. With these figures, construction remains one of the sectors in which the most accidents occur.
There are, after all, risks
A safe working environment is essential for workers to perform their jobs well. Certainly in the construction industry because there are risks when working with heavy materials, at heights, and with machines. That is why control is important. IoT is increasingly being used to improve construction safety. The aim is to prevent incidents and accidents on the construction site so that serious injuries and costly material damage do not occur. For example, a 360-degree view of construction sites and real-time warnings about compliance with safety regulations. Construction companies are taking the step from a reactive to a proactive approach to construction safety.
There are various ways in which IoT can be used during the construction process to increase the safety of the work environment.
1. Check for protective clothing
Everyone on a construction site must adhere to safety and clothing regulations to increase safety. But how do you check whether your employees are wearing their protective glasses, safety shoes, and helmet? By combining access systems with tags that you apply to the safety clothing, you can build a control system: the gate will only open when all items are worn.
2. Check for gases, emissions of particulate matter, radiation, and noise
Using environmental sensors, you can measure gases, radiation, emissions of particulate matter, and noise to prevent hearing damage or be warned in time in the event of danger. Does it concern the construction of a smart building? Then these sensors can also already be used during construction, for example, to measure the gas composition, temperature, and noise.
3. Check before entering dangerous places
By connecting wearables to the cloud, the location of workers can be monitored both anonymously and in real-time. If someone arrives at a dangerous place, for example, under a crane, the construction supervisor will immediately receive a notification. In addition to sensors on clothing or the body, you can also use a camera system. It also allows you to send the data anonymously to the cloud. By applying Artificial Intelligence, the camera can also detect, for example, whether workers are wearing their safety shoes or helmets.
The costs of IoT are falling rapidly, and performance is improving every year. These improvements have to do with three factors. Firstly, the electronics, which have become a hundred times more powerful every ten years, and secondly, the data networks, which have much more bandwidth and can handle many more connections. And thirdly, you can do more with data, thanks to, for example, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Companies must start with a good inventory of the hazards on the construction site. In the plan of approach to remove the dangers as much as possible and create a safe working environment, IoT plays a crucial role in 2022.