Safety Innovation

Can AI Enhance Construction Safety Management?

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Caitlin Liboiron
5 min read
April 27, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to optimize every facet of the construction industry—from design, financing, and project life cycles to asset management, operations, and procurement. Currently, AI’s principal use is to improve construction safety and compliance management.

In 2019, 22% of companies across various industries said they were already using AI to enhance business processes. However, the construction industry has been slow to adopt AI technology, largely due to cost and demographics. Safety leaders need to communicate the benefits of AI in improving productivity, as well as how it can impact the bottom line through a cost-benefit analysis. You’re in the business of building, not throwing caution to the wind to invest in something you don’t understand. We get that. It doesn’t help that the mounting generation gap in the construction industry has left an experienced, yet very set in its ways workforce hesitant to change. Again, we get that.

But, where would civilization be if every industry had this same, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality? Not where we are today—with robots capable of historically human tasks and software that can save lives—that’s for sure. With education and cost-benefit analysis, we firmly assert this hesitancy will dissipate. It’s time to become an industry leader by using artificial intelligence as a catapult to a safer, better-built future.

AI not only adds a layer of protection to your construction sites and improves productivity, but also has the potential to significantly reduce expenses and construction delays. Here are three key ways AI can enhance construction safety management, to ensure those who entrust their lives to you get home safely, day after day.

Automated Risk Mitigation

With larger projects come increased risks as multiple sub-contractors work simultaneously on different trades. Contractors deal with a flood of information daily, including RFI’s, design changes, and schedule adjustments. Todays AI and machine learning solutions can monitor and prioritize risks on site, allowing the project team to focus their time and resources on greater risk factors.

AI provides assistive and predictive insights on what is critical and actionable, automatically assigning priority to issues. By rating subcontractors on a risk-based score, construction managers can mitigate risk by working more closely with high-risk teams.

AI elevates safety programs by deploying 360-degree cameras that can be mounted to hard hats or extendable smartphone sticks. By enabling object recognition, safety professionals can identify missing guard rails, inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), fall exposure, and other hazards.

This information can be prioritized to create notifications for safety officers. They can then act to correct identified safety issues. Essentially, AI acts as an extra pair of eyes that stay peeled 24/7.

Faster Hazard Identification

Every construction project yields a host of hazards. AI integration can streamline systems to help contractors identify workplace hazards faster, thus preventing potential accidents.

Construction firms generate a lot of data, from supplier contracts and inspection records to field reports and job-site photos. If this information is not easily shareable, companies struggle to forecast. New digital platforms enable project managers to view a condensed summary chart of all ongoing projects, as well as have access to safety records, finances, and schedules.

Predictive algorithms can be designed to mitigate site risks and improve compliance management. By combining data from thousands of projects with relevant external circumstances (such as weather forecasts and project-related details), AI applications can quickly predict hazards and identify whether workers are wearing the appropriate PPE.

A McKinsey report predicted that construction firms could boost productivity by up to 50% by implementing real-time data analysis. This is because it contributes to better decision-making and significantly reduces project schedules—sometimes by months!

Improved Decision-Making

Maintaining uninterrupted communication between on-site workers and the office staff is essential to project success. These communication lines need to be direct, accessible, and efficient. Safety software introduces convenience to real-time communication in the construction industry.

When information is shared through hard copy documents, there’s a risk of human error. This leads to data inconsistency, unreliability, and even lost documents entirely—all things that deter accurate, data-driven decisions.

Analog data becomes outdated quickly, particularly in the construction industry where techniques and technologies rapidly evolve. Companies are therefore unable to establish an effective, full-circle cycle of response and corrective action measures, leaving the project team disconnected.

Digital platforms, on the other hand, allow for transparency and immediate attention to time-sensitive matters (i.e., safety incidents, project updates, compliance management, and corrective actions). With remote digital safety technology, off-site support teams can offer real-time advice to on-site workers whenever and wherever.

AI technology offers a way for construction companies to quickly process large amounts of data. These analyses enable the company to identify inconsistencies that may compromise their teams’ safety and security. Real-time data access benefits the company because it equips it with faster, more accurate decision-making capabilities. It also benefits the workers by ensuring they return home to their families, safe and sound. We call that a win-win.

When information is shared through hard copy documents, there’s a risk of human error. This leads to data inconsistency, unreliability, and even lost documents entirely.

Leverage Smart Solutions For Construction Safety

On-site safety is a fundamental cornerstone of any organization, especially in the construction industry where risks are inherently higher than standard office work. It allows teams to be safer, resilient, and more sustainable. With heightened workplace safety awareness and the increased adoption of AI by your competitors, failing to modernize safety solutions will leave your company in the dust. Not to mention, you can significantly reduce costs by minimizing risks, reducing human error, and improving accuracy and productivity.

Salus not only allows you to monitor daily activities in real-time, but also enables you to collect, access, and manage digital forms on demand. You can also stay up-to-date on inspections with digital logbooks and general maintenance reminders.

With Salus, you can create a single, streamlined data source, prioritize risk management, track follow-ups, and receive quick responses and proof of completion. Book a demo to learn how Salus can elevate compliance management and risk analysis in your business, today!

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