Data-Driven Safety is “Still Emerging” in Construction Industry

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Robison Wells
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A report issued by Dodge Data & Analytics and The Blue Book Network cites movement in the construction industry toward data-driven safety and digital record keeping. However, the report also uncovers holes in the adoption of this technology.

The report, titled Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021, developed by The Center for Construction Research and Training and several other groups, surveyed 282 contractors in May and June. Only one-quarter of the respondents recognized the use of observational data from job site imagery (digital recording tools) as a necessary safety program component.

21% (only 19% listed) felt that predictive analytics “made better use of safety data” to improve their job site safety programs.

“It is clear that the concept of data-driven safety is still emerging in the industry,” the report states. “It will be critical to track whether these types of practices gain in importance as more contractors become familiar with the tools that allow them to capitalize on data to improve safety.”

Wearable sensors lead the commonly used data-driven safety technologies. 34% of contractors cite these devices as positively impacting safety and health. Worn sensors track worker locations on the job site; contractors can monitor criteria such as extreme heat conditions and on-the-job falls, two of the industry’s highest causes of injury.

The report also mentions virtual reality training (32%), predictive analytics (28%), remote-controlled equipment (26%), and virtual monitoring with artificial intelligence.

Although data-driven safety and digital record-keeping have a distance to go before finding a place in most construction safety programs, Dodge Data & Analytics and The Blue Book Network’s report shows that adoption of such technology continues to increase.

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