The future of construction safety

Service

  • Data and AI
  • Strategy and Transformation
  • Technology and Engineering

Industry

  • Construction

Case study

The future of construction safety

Construction has always been one of the most hazardous industries in which to work. Despite the careful efforts of employers and a growing range of legislation designed to protect construction workers, accidents remain a constant risk in an often-unpredictable environment. Wearable technology offers an important and effective solution. Forward-thinking employers across the world are exploring the possibilities of smart personal protective equipment and real-time data analysis to mitigate risk and improve the safety and wellbeing of their employees.

Man on a scaffolding

Challenge

We were asked to explore ways in which the latest IoT and wearable technology could improve the welfare of construction workers who were employed on a remote site in Saudi Arabia. In particular, the construction proponent was eager to improve the visibility and accountability of contractors in managing worker welfare.

Building sites are constantly changing environments where conditions change on a daily basis and anything from extreme weather to a lapse in communication increase the risk of accidents. Considering the large number of workers involved in construction sites, and the temporary, project-based nature of the work, monitoring of workers and health and safety processes are inevitably challenging.

Solution

Wearable technologies for an active construction site

Through a six-month Proof of Concept (PoC), our team deployed and tested five wearable technologies that could be used on an active construction site. These would all be managed through a remote web dashboard.

The proposal had an experimental element as some of these wearables had never previously been used in a construction environment. The remote location of the site, combined with a multicultural workforce who spoke a number of different languages and had particular requirements in terms of dress and daily routine, added a further layer of complication. We adapted the PoC to allow for these challenges and for physical factors such as extreme weather, nighttime shifts and possible internet outages.

5

wearable technologies tested

50

construction workers actively monitored

400

constructions workers ultimately onboarded to the new system

Result

Greater transparency and safety

The PoC provided a thorough exploration of the operational and practical feasibility of the widespread use of wearable technology on construction sites. It also provided the possibility of far greater visibility of sites, as the web dashboard allowed management to create profiles of individual construction workers and track their location and activity.

Construction crew

A safer future

The PoC has shown that these technologies bring real benefits, and their use could make Saudi Arabia a world leader in worker welfare, as well as significantly improving the transparency of firms working in the construction sector. This project provides the proof that the industry was waiting for – that wearables have the potential to improve the wellbeing and safety of construction workers across the world.

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