Technology taking safety to new heights in construction

Work health and safety regulators, alongside technology leaders joined a range of government and private sector organisations recently to discuss the introduction and embedding of drones, apps, computer simulations and social media tools to enhance work health and safety on construction sites.

The breakfast seminar held on the 27 July 2017, was co-hosted by WorkSafe ACT, SafeWork NSW and the Safety Institute of Australia and showcased progress to date and foreshadowed emerging technologies and its uses.

Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said industry was always looking to make improvements in supporting safety in the workplace and identified technology as one way to increase opportunities to achieve this.

“We’ve already seen the power of social media and video as a medium to spread and share safety messages and information in an engaging and relatable way in the ACT,” Jones said.

“The series of safety videos produced through the partnership with WorkSafe ACT, Safe Work Australia, the Construction Industry Training Council have been viewed up to 10,000 times.” 

SafeWork NSW group director, Regional Operations and Response, Tony Williams said digital technology now had a vital role to play in preventing workplace incidents.

“Safety starts with you and through our digital platforms we aim to make safety as simple as possible for businesses and workers,” Williams said.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, it can be as simple as downloading our ‘Safe’ app on your phone or iPad and getting your staff and subbies to watch a video about working safely at heights.”

Apps are becoming increasingly used across construction sites to support the monitoring of personal safety for lone or remote workers, providing automatic site recording of attendance at sites and also in the delivery of safety messages.

“We have also seen the emergence of drone technology in supporting investigations,” Jones said.

“Drones are effective in providing visibility and access to areas that may be difficult or unsafe to reach or cannot be accessed as part of an investigation.

Practically they are also supporting companies to check progress on sites and assess work that is underway.”

Jones said any technology that could support safety was welcomed.

“It may be as simple as seeing on a tablet or smart phone who’s present on a site at any time including automatic capture of log in’s, or sharing videos and messages with colleagues on important issues around safety. Our focus is on supporting all workers to get home safely.”

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