Physical construction work is hard, tiring, and at times dangerous, but can wearable tech that monitors staff health help to minimise work-related injuries and fatalities?
Wearable construction technology is steadily gaining traction globally, but it may have to work harder to find takers in the Middle East’s construction sectors. New York-based scientific, technical, and medical information publisher Elsevier this year released a report that reviewed the burgeoning number of so-called ‘smart’ technologies and wearable devices that could bring construction up to speed with all the transformative technology. Smart gadgets can collect and analyse data on a broad range of metrics, and this information can be a useful element in the measurement and improvement of health and safety standards on construction sites.
In the Middle East, examples of contractors using wearable technology are even scarcer. However, the lack of publicly available information about the number of construction companies in the Middle East that may be using wearable technology does not mean the industry has turned a blind eye to it.
From exoskeletons to augmented reality, there is a burgeoning catalogue of health-related wearables available on the market, all of which promise to improve safety, efficiency, and morale on local construction sites.
One area that could be potentially important for workers in the industry is physiological monitoring. Workers on building sites may encounter various health risks due to the very nature of the environment in which they operate, and this can impact the safety performance of construction workers. But physiological status monitoring systems can collect information about heart rate, breathing rate, body posture, body speed, and body acceleration. Using this with a GPS tracker, a construction worker’s health can be analysed and monitored throughout the day.
A proximity avoidance system could prove useful in such situations. The most commonly available system on the market incorporates radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track things, in this case, workers. The system can provide a warning signal to workers when they are close to heavy equipment, potentially preventing accidents and injuries on site, thus improving overall site safety as well.
Talk of RFID and PSM systems may seem presumptive at the moment as there is little research to date on the use of wearable technology in the industry. However, the Middle East’s construction sector must focus on adopting its effectiveness.
In this episode of Construction Week In Focus, Neha Bhatia and Oscar Rousseau, editor and deputy editor of Construction Week, explore how wearable technology can impact the Middle East’s construction, real estate, and facilities management communities.
This video is sponsored by Almoe.
* Are the Middle East’s construction chiefs ready for wearable tech?
* Khansaheb FM unveils wellness programme focused on fitness wearables:
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