Construction safety equipment is an industry unto itself. From aluminum trench shields to thermal ARC-rated PPE and from lightweight scaffolding to jetpacks (just kidding, although I almost fell for this April Fool’s gag), innovative companies are working to improve construction safety.
I just got back from Las Vegas where our team produced a customer profile video featuring Dig This!, Las Vegas’ heavy equipment playground. Dig This! is a blast, especially for a desk jockey who has never operated heavy equipment (yeah, talking about me). There are definitely safety measures in effect at Dig This!, but you’re playing in a large, wide-open sandbox. Now that I’ve tried my hand, I can say that maneuvering heavy equipment safely and effectively on a busy job site requires expert levels of precision, experience and above all, concentration.
So that got me thinking: What are some of the new innovations in construction safety that would make me feel safer on the job site after only a couple of hours of “operational” experience on a excavator? (I know, none of you would let me close to your job site as a heavy equipment operator, and that’s a very good thing.)
With that in mind, I tracked down some of the newest construction safety innovations on the market (or coming to market soon).
Construction Safety in Reverse
Whenever I get into a car without a backup camera, I catch myself staring at the middle of the dashboard while I’m backing up. As if the vent or radio or whatever is going to help me back up safely. I’m a creature of habit and, apparently, a backup camera addict.
Track-Vision specializes in backup camera systems for heavy equipment. Construction Equipment profiled Greely Sand & Gravel’s use of a Track-Vision system and pointed out the advantages of its 115-degree field of view. You can also record video, so if you ever do have an accident you don’t have to rely on eyewitness accounts.
Construction Safety Halo
The Illumagear Halo SL can be spotted from a quarter-mile away. Just connect it to your hard hat and you can work in your own personal spotlight all night long. And everybody will see you coming. Bonus points for its HI-Alert mode.
Construction Safety Drone
I know there are a lot of Big Brother concerns with drones. If you work for someone who is using a drone to track whether you spend more time in the Honey Bucket than on the job, then I’m guessing you have to be in charge of your own safety on the jobsite.
The fact is that drones offer a new, more comprehensive perspective. You can monitor safety from a remote location. You can check the brace on scaffolding without hanging a man out on an outrigger to do so. You can use one to verify the integrity of a structure or trench before sending in a team.
If safety is about having more information and sharper situational awareness, then drones can be a big help.
Construction Safety App
Keep your equipment healthy, keep your workers healthy. Equipchat software helps you manage maintenance schedules, equipment hours, location, fuel and more. There’s a mobile app, too. It’s construction safety technology that can be used in the office, the trailer and the field.
Construction Safety Phone
Thermal imaging is cool. It lets you see heat in the infrared spectrum, beyond the human eye’s capability, and heat is often an indicator of impending catastrophe. If you can see the heat, then maybe you can prevent the catastrophe.
The Cat® S60 Smartphone hopes to make it easier and more affordable to see heat. Although it’s not available for sale at the time of this writing, this smartphone has all of the expected smartphone amenities, plus an integrated FLIR thermal camera! That’s huge. It’s also waterproof to five meters and ruggedized for use on the job site.
All of this stuff is super cool, but none of it replaces the stalwarts: awareness and communication. Stay alert, inspect your equipment before starting and stick to a strict maintenance protocol.
What other new safety products do you love on the job site? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.