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    4 Key Construction Site Safety Trends to Watch in 2020 and Beyond

    When it comes to construction site safety,
    there are a whole host of high risks to employees and contractors that need to
    be accounted for in order to provide a safe and healthy working environment on
    site. Therefore, ensuring you’re on top of site safety both now and for the
    future is of paramount importance.

    To help you decipher what you should be
    focusing on when it comes to ensuring the safety of your onsite members, today
    we’re taking a look at some of the key construction site safety trends that are
    set to be hot topics of discussion in 2020 and beyond. From prioritising worker
    wellbeing to exploring the safety benefits of AI and smart technology, we’ll
    provide you with an informative view of how to lay the right foundations for
    cultivating health and safety best practice on your building site.

    Wearable
    smart tech

    While organisations can carry out all the
    right risk assessments and implement appropriate prevention protocols to
    optimise onsite safety, there also has to be a level of responsibility put on
    individual workers to be more safety conscious.

    Of course, much of this comes down to common
    sense and educating workers on safety best practice, but there are reports
    indicating that the industrial wearable market is set to grow
    significantly over the next few years. This means that wearable technology
    could soon become the norm for construction sites.

    For safety on site, this could entail workers
    better monitoring their physical health in relation to job efficiency and
    safety by using wearable sensors. A study last year already demonstrated that wearables can prevent fatigue-related injuries in the
    workplace, so having this kind of real-time data available to onsite
    workers could provide the capability to monitor core health parameters such as
    blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels.

    Other benefits of wearable tech come in the
    form of geo-location tracking that could improve safety monitoring for lone
    workers – as proven by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
    (RoSPA), who have already begun using tracking devices to monitor locations of
    consultants out in the field.

    With this growing market comes a whole host of
    possibilities to track and manage employee safety more efficiently in ways
    previously unexplored, so this is definitely an area to keep a watchful eye on
    for this year and beyond.

    Artificial
    Intelligence (AI) and automation

    It seems the wearable market isn’t the only
    area undergoing technological advancements in the construction industry either.
    While the use of AI in construction has been slower to take a hold than in
    other sectors, it’s now becoming a key focus for improving safety for site
    workers.

    There is now AI software that utilises object
    recognition via video feed taken in real-time that can quickly identify
    potential risks on site, such as alerting construction workers when personal
    protective equipment isn’t being worn correctly. This quick identification
    works to reduce or prevent risks before they happen, optimising staff member safety
    as a result.

    Other innovations also include the use of
    drones and automated robotics that use similar AI software to scan large
    building sites from above and on the ground respectively, feeding data back to
    a centralised system to highlight potential hazards with up-to-date
    information. Whether it’s pin-pointing tripping hazards on the ground or a
    possible risk for workers at height, the use of AI and automated machinery can
    help to bolster safety on site as well as speed up typically labour intensive processes.

    Worker
    wellbeing

    The importance of wellbeing in the workplace
    has become a major focus across all sectors over the past few years – but as
    with technology, the construction sector has been slower to implement
    strategies to address these concerns than other industries. However, 2020 is
    seeing more emphasis being put on prioritsing employee wellbeing on site,
    taking a more comprehensive approach to employee health and safety that goes
    beyond the typical physical ailments associated with construction work.

    With figures released by HSE for 2019 showing
    that 21% of the 79,000 work-related ill health cases
    were attributed to stress, depression and anxiety, it isn’t surprising to see
    why wellbeing is becoming an important element of onsite safety. Construction
    industry charity Lighthouse Club also reported a rise in the number of calls
    they received from construction workers or their families in need of financial and mental support.

    All this suggests that we’re likely to see
    more measures being taken to highlight the importance of wellbeing in
    construction environments. While minimising the physical risks to workers is
    still a top priority, more companies are beginning to openly discuss the issues
    surrounding mental health too. As a result, this should work to raise awareness
    and encourage individuals to prioritise their own physical and mental wellbeing
    as an integral part of construction site culture.

    Improved
    day-to-day safety

    While the above initiatives all offer exciting
    prospects for improving onsite safety in the future, the physical risks faced
    on a day-to-day basis should still remain a core focus for creating a safe
    working environment on construction sites.

    While HSE figures report a downward trend on
    non-fatal work related injuries, there were still 54,000 reported in 2019,
    which implies there is still work to be done in getting this figure down even
    further. In order to achieve this, construction site managers and workers need
    to continue to be vigilant in their daily operations, carrying out best
    practice to minimise potential hazards.

    Certainly, addressing any areas on site that
    could cause trips, slips or falls is a good place to start – these accounted
    for 29% of non-fatal injuries last year. This could entail ensuring walkways
    remain clear at all times, securely taping up any loose wires and cordoning off
    potential hazardous areas with high-visibility
    tapes and suitable warning signs.

    Other areas for consideration should also
    include frequent checks of personal protective equipment (PPE), making sure all
    workers’ safety gear is in good condition and appropriate for the jobs they’re
    undertaking. These small measures will all go far in cultivating a safer and
    healthier working environment for construction staff at every level.

    It’s fair to say that we’re set to see some
    significant progress in how construction companies operate in 2020 and beyond.
    While some of these trends may not be fully integrated right away, we can
    certainly expect to see more emphasis on technological advancements, worker
    wellbeing and continued vigilance with the day-to-day safety aspects to help
    bolster on site safety in the future.

    Author
    bio:

    Alex Jones is a content creator for No1 Packaging
    – one of the UK’s lowest cost packaging providers.

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