Safety on a construction site is the most important concern of any construction effort. The dangers and risks associated are very real, with workplace injuries being proportionally higher than in any other private industry.
With this unconscionable number in mind, decision-makers in the construction industry must explore new tools and strategies for mitigating risks. Fortunately, the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is allowing for safer sites.
Here, we'll explore these advancements in AI and how they are revolutionizing the safety and security of construction sites to create a more desirable working environment for all employees.
Advancements in AI
Far from the fearful depictions of many sci-fi tales, modern AI has been defined by its ability to support humans in their professions and offer unprecedented levels of efficiency. While there are some fears that the widespread adoption of AI might lead to displaced workers, other estimates suggest the creation of more jobs.
In construction, more benefits are likely to be gained from AI than negative consequences. Facing a labor shortage and safety concerns, these tools are essential for coordinating a safe construction site.
This is possible through the evolving abilities of AI to accommodate large-scale data sets, monitor workflow, and provide predictive insights into workplace solutions. By combining big data with the capability of AI to parse and analyze information in real-time, we can create solutions for worker safety that were never before possible.
These are the advancements in AI that are changing the nature of on-site construction safety:
• Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA represents the software’s capabilities to interact with and guide machines to automate tasks. AI makes all kinds of automation possible, and its application can help eliminate construction site dangers.
• Predictive Analytics
The capacity of AI to assess massive data sets and form intelligent conclusions is increasing all the time. Construction sites are applying this asset to machinery, work orders, supply chains and more to build comprehensive insights into their workflow.
• Internet of Things (IoT) Monitoring
Connected smart devices make up the Internet of Things, and these tools are being used to monitor data all across a construction site. With smart data collection, better safety insights can be developed.
These are just three of the many modern developments possible through AI that have real-world implications for construction site safety. Enterprise AI applies these tools on a large scale to bring about a host of benefits for all kinds of industries, from intelligence-driven automation to higher-quality products and services. But it is the potential to save lives on the job that makes AI truly invaluable.
How AI is Improving Construction Site Safety
With all the risks inherent to a construction site, eliminating danger is not just a necessity for cost-saving solutions but for worker well-being. Two of the most common reasons cited for young Americans not wanting to go into construction are the physical demands of the job and the difficulty of the work. AI is changing these dangerous aspects of construction work to make it a more compelling field.
By mitigating risks, communicating hazards, and streamlining on-site transparency, AI is playing a vital role in improving construction site safety. Here’s how:
AI and robotics help take the risks, physical demands and hard labor out of the construction site, leaving human workers to perform the less dangerous aspects of the job. Prefabrication and 3D printing are increasingly becoming elements of construction work, meaning builders can control the production in a factory then transport parts of the work to the site with less labor involved.
In addition, on-site robotics can handle all the heavy lifting to take the strain off worker bodies and make a safer workplace. For example, the Material Unit Lift Enhancer (MULE) robot developed by Construction Robotics can take the 6,000-pound lifting average per day off the backs of construction workers, in turn increasing the safety and productivity of a site.
Then, there are the abilities of AI systems to observe, assess and communicate on-site construction hazards with levels of speed and efficiency that no human can match. AI achieves this by gathering data from real-time footage and assessing that constant information stream for warning signs. Then, these warnings can be fed into comprehensive dashboards for construction site managers who can act to prevent accidents.
A 2016 ENR photo competition that pitted an AI against a human team proved the efficiency of AI tools in construction safety. The AI assessed 1,080 images for risk in under five minutes while the human team took more than five hours.
While safety signage, training, and OSHA guidelines do their part in modern hazard communication, having a real-time assessor of site risks can only be beneficial in preventing accidents. AI tech can support these efforts for enhanced safety communication.
Streamlining Transparency For any workforce, transparency is key to cost reduction while maintaining the integrity of the work. AI allows for transparency on a construction site by accumulating the insights for IoT monitors, cameras, and sensors into a singular source of information. From there, construction managers can assess all the elements of their site’s safety to more easily catch problems.
Even drones have been used to help survey construction sites for risk factors. With the insights they can generate from infrared and standard imaging cameras in conjunction with AI-powered 3D imaging software, drones are streamlining transparency and improving safety.
Evolving Construction Safety Measures
As technology continues to advance, construction sites can take advantage of these tools to improve the health and safety of their workers. In the modern era, the construction industry needs all the benefits it can get to help draw in new talent while innovating more cost-effective solutions. Safety powered by AI allows for all of these benefits and more.
By evolving your construction site safety measures with the help of AI, you can make a life-saving difference in the world. Explore the tools available to you, then consider what investments you can make now for the benefit of the industry at large.