Safety Innovation

Using Data to Make Informed Construction Safety Decisions

Shannon M Farley @sfarley
Safety & Compliance
5 min read
October 31, 2021

Data not only increases worksite safety, it is also changing how the construction industry as a whole operates. While construction companies have used data in some way or another for years, new technology is sweeping through the industry with changes that affect every stage, from the supply chain to the finished building.

Firms need rapid and accurate data to keep on top of operations. Construction safety products that allow companies to collect, analyze, and use their data effectively can help with this. From preplanning through construction, data can make construction work faster and safer.

Whether it’s a drone that allows workers to see a risky area safely, monitoring to keep on top of site safety, or artificial intelligence to assist in predicting trends, tools for collecting and processing data power-up human capacities. Tech solutions like worksite sensors, smart hardhats, data analytics, and telematics can enhance construction companies’ day-to-day operations immeasurably.

Collecting Existing Data on Construction Safety

Before you can use data to help with safety on your construction site, though, you have to collect it. Data collection offers the raw material from which safety officers can make sound, objective safety decisions. Selecting appropriate data increases the feasibility of creating an ingrained safety culture.

But which types of data should your firm collect? Metrics like employee engagement with safety education material, incident reports and costs, workers’ comp, certifications, tool usage can help build a holistic assessment of your site’s safety.

Data collection best practices can ensure accurate, readily available data, and using well-made technology eases the process considerably. A construction safety app can combine inputs from multiple sources, which makes data collection a snap, as workers can use digital tools instead of cumbersome paper.

After collecting available data on construction safety, go over it with workers. Combine these with external data from sources like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and predictive models regarding injuries and accidents. Storing this data in a repository that allows real-time access throughout the organization ensures that everyone is kept abreast of the latest safety information at all times.

Leveraging Data for Predictive Analytics in Construction Safety

With data in hand, construction companies can then apply predictive analytics to evaluate safety before issues occur. Predictive analytics decrease worker injuries and associated costs by preventing accidents and injuries.

A safety culture is one that supports the use of these technologies to protect construction workers. As construction safety technology improves and is implemented, workplace injuries and fatalities will continue to drop. More precise data allows for more accurate predictions of where, when, and even who to look to for incidents.

Data can reveal numerically the distribution of safety problems, which predictive analytics then totals into statistical estimates of probable incidents. Predictive analytics builds on data about previous safety events, together with a broad understanding of the organization and its processes, to make specific predictions of incidents. These estimates apply to equipment as well as employees, and even to the environment.

For example, predictive analysis may identify training programs that would decrease risks by a certain amount. Alternatively, after investigating equipment data, predictive analytics may determine when a piece of equipment needs maintenance.

But for predictive analytics to work, it needs not only direct incident data, but also information on the underlying factors that cause incidents. This can be gleaned from smart devices, along with human resources and contextual data.

Other industries like finance and retail already use predictive analytics to decrease costs and increase sales. The construction industry can likewise leverage this technology to decrease injuries. As construction work becomes more complex, computational methods become practically necessary to ensure worker well-being.

As construction work becomes more complex, computational methods become practically necessary to ensure worker well-being.

Big Data and IoT are Revolutionizing Construction Safety

New developments like big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) increasingly contribute to construction safety. But it’s up to firms themselves to make smart use of these exciting technologies for innovation and to build a strong safety culture on their sites.

IoT devices in particular are a boon on-site. Drones, wearable sensors, and other connected devices can send advanced data back from inspections for processing, allowing for safer operations while also decreasing staffing costs. Instead of risk indicators turning into serious issues, construction companies can find and fix problems ahead of time.

Large volumes of data pertaining to construction safety, from certificates to inspection reports, allows for more accurate problem-solving, but only with more capable software. Big data analytics isolates the main sources of incidents, even incorporating the weather and other information into calculations. If a contractor hasn’t gone through a training program, for instance, then big data may find this ahead of time and alert the company. Analytics can also find other risky workers, practices, or equipment, potentially saving millions.

IoT devices connect workers with each other and to the office. If brain waves indicate a tired worker, or if location data indicates a worker nearing a hazard, these signals can notify the team to take preventive action. IoT devices can also keep equipment safe, such as tracking machinery locations, preventing collisions, or measuring duty times.

In short, IoT devices enable businesses actively promote a safety culture by showing workers how their actions influence safety.

Make Data Work for You with Salus

Construction companies looking to cultivate a safety culture need the informational assist that safety apps can provide. A safety app that emphasizes transparency and reliability like Salus can help companies create and maintain safety standards in all operations.

Rather than keeping reams of papers on file, Salus allows you to render all forms, certificates, safety manuals, and more digitally. Their convenient mobile subcontractor portal can be accessed by IoT devices wherever, so everyone has access to the data they need at any time. With features for compliance management, asset management, and certificate management, you can easily keep tabs on your critical information. The system also lets you take corrective actions for any hazards.

Digitization isn’t just the future, it’s the present. If you’re ready to level up your safety operations on-site, reach out to Salus today!


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