Drones have proven their potential to make a huge cultural impact by surveying farm land, limiting the spread of forest fires, strengthening security protocols and — preventing construction accidents?
Yes, the remote controlled, or otherwise self-operating, flying devices known as drones are making a reputation for improving working conditions at construction sites.
In 2016, 21 percent of worker fatalities were in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Here are a few ways new drone technology is able to identify and minimize safety risks at construction sites before workers are put in harm’s way.
Perform high up inspections
Drones, sometimes called unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAVs), have the advantage of surveying high up locations for potential safety risks. Drones that are used to conduct a pre-inspection of dangerously high areas, such as on scaffolding, rooftops or industrial chimneys can help assure that workers are on safe structures.
Detect heat issues
Drones may also help prevent faulty wiring, gas and machine hazards in the construction industry. If the drone is equipped with thermal sensors, it can detect causes for concern, such as hotspots, delamination, spalling and moist areas.
Forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors can also be used to spot overheating in electrical joints or faulty insulation. If these conditions are pre-existing to the construction site, workers can discover the hazards by using the drones to inspect the scene first.
Ground-based LiDAR surveying systems are traditionally used to detect the stability of an outdoor worksite. However, for a more affordable cost, construction companies may be able to survey areas for potential falls, rock slides, falling debris and other dangers using drones.
Increase amount of safety inspections
Drones can be programmed to conduct inspections regularly, meaning risks may be identified before they become more hazardous or cause an injury. Workers, meanwhile, can focus on assuming their responsibilities.
Relay safety info
Information from these inspections may also be clearer coming from a drone. Supervisors and employers can see images of exactly what issues are present on the site, improving the accountability of the information. Drones are also able to collect and transmit the data more quickly, allowing workers to spend more time completing the project.
As drones rise in popularity, the construction industry may become a safer place to work. In the event that an accident does happen to you or a co-worker, remember to contact a workers' compensation attorney for help. A lawyer can help you determine whether you may be eligible for compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, transportation and other costs.