Working with heavy machines has always been dangerous. In the earlier twentieth century, poor working conditions led to high rates of injury and even death among people working with heavy machinery.
Today, there are federal and state restrictions to make working with heavy machinery safer. Workers are much more protected now than they were previously. However, there’s no way to fully eliminate the risk of working with construction machines. People are still injured and killed on the job do to malfunctions, negligence, and bad luck.
While eliminating risk from heavy machinery may be science fiction, technological improvements in today’s world have made workers significantly safer. Equipment is built and serviced with better materials — but that’s not all. There are other advancements in technology that make working conditions safer in ways you might not have predicted.
Smartphones continue to grow in popularity. Today, over 60% of internet traffic is on mobile devices. As these devices become more affordable, common, and user-friendly, this number is likely to climb. This explosion in smartphone usage has led to the creation of numerous apps of all kinds. Some apps are specifically for construction worker safety.
Ladders are used at most construction sites, and even in most homes. Using a ladder improperly is extremely dangerous. Even if you’ve climbed a ladder many times, one careless mistake can lead to a big fall — meaning injury or even death. For people working construction, an injury can mean being permanently out of a job.
The app Ladder Safety, available for free by NIOSH, is designed to combat this problem. The app facilitates setting an extension ladder at the correct angle of 75.5 degrees. This means workers are much less likely to misjudge a ladder’s angle, making ladder usage significantly safer.
First Aid: American Red Cross is another app useful for anybody working in risky conditions. This app offers step by step instructions for several common first aid scenarios. It also gives emergency preparedness tips. Being prepared for an incident can be the difference between life and death. This free app can be extremely helpful for workers.
These are only two of the many apps available for improving safety.
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Wearable technology is in its infancy. Many people associate it with Google Glass and other similar products, which tend to be considered novelties (due to their expense and flashiness). However, wearable technology may be taking a turn to a more practical direction — construction worker safety.
“Smart” safety vests can allow for monitoring a worker’s vitals, location, and more. With the data sent from this wearable technology, more information will be available on the conditions leading to workplace accidents. The data may also shed light on the causes of repetitive motion injuries and how to prevent them.
Safety technology continues to advance. Construction workers and other people working with heavy machinery can look forward to a safer tomorrow in the workplace.