Now, AI and analytics can improve safety at construction sites
The construction industry is one of the biggest drivers of the economy worldwide. Being a proper “physical” industry, it was among those impacted the most during the pandemic. But as economies try to get back on track, analysts expect construction to restart as infrastructure is at the core of economic growth.
But one of the major concerns that persist in the construction industry is the safety of workers. Reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 9.7 of every 100,000 construction workers suffer a fatal injury each year, which is the fourth-highest rate of fatal injuries in any industry. Falls accounts for 33 percent of all death that occurred in construction.
Statistics also show that in 2019, more than 130,000 US construction workers missed days of work due to job site injuries, leading to decreased productivity. Fatal construction injuries cost approximately $5 billion each year on health care, lost income, reduced quality of life, and lost production. Moreover, workers’ compensation claims for non-fatal falls account for $2.5 billion annually.
In this context, video analytics becomes an excellent tool for dealing with safety issues at construction sites.
Analytics for construction site safety
A startup that provides an AI monitoring integration platform for the construction industry is the Hong Kong-based viAct. Its proprietary vision technologies help detect and anticipate the potential risks in construction sites and trigger real-time warning signals and instant alerts to save workers’ lives.
Speaking to asmag.com recently, Gary Ng, CEO of viAct, explained that one of their USPs is to not just rely on “AI computer vision,” but provide construction surveillance insights through “scenario-based vision intelligence.”
“Adding to the advantages viAct’s smart monitoring system is a virtual assistant for managers of construction sites,” Ng said. “Other companies in this field use AI algorithms to just detect non-compliances in construction safety and productivity. viAct added a smarter touch to its surveillance
system by training it to acquire insights using vision technology and transform them to audio-visual alerts.”
What might attract customers even more, is that the solution requires no technical expertise to deploy. Any construction site with a 2MP or more resolution surveillance camera can simply use the RTSP link to connect to viAct’s smart cloud system to automate monitoring. The company’s solution
can even provide surveillance of critical and non-static construction sites like tunnels, roadways, etc., even in the absence of power supply and internet.
How does it work?
viAct’s AI-powered, computer-vision leveraged construction monitoring software can monitor safety issues in any construction site. Its features include PPE detection modules, anti-collision alert systems, free-fall detection modules, Danger Zone Alert Sensor System (DZASS), etc.
“All you need to do is simply connect the AI cameras to viAct’s smart AI cloud solution,” Ng explained. “The system will automatically and instantly alert the on-site and remote stakeholders if there are any workers without proper PPE, anyone approaches a machine or a danger zone, or if something important is neglected. viAct’s integrated dashboard records the visual proofs of all the non-compliances that can be used later to train the workers. The alert card in the dashboard allows selecting a specific date range to have a look at the overall safety compliances.”
The solution also has an Overview & Trend Card feature in its integrated dashboard that helps contractors and safety managers keep a watch of trends for better planning and progress.
Beyond safety to cost efficiency
From a financial perspective, accidents cost a lot to construction companies. But before they invest in a solution to prevent accidents, the critical question would be about its price.
Answering this, Ng pointed to a report from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that showed that penalties incurred by OSHA for safety violations could cost from $13,653 to $136,532.
“Compensation costs for fatal accidents and even non-fatal accidents are higher than the cost of deploying viAct’s smart construction monitoring solution,” Ng said. “Moreover, with growing mandates of occupational safety by governments across countries, the use of smart analytics platform to manage safety compliances are being promoted at a larger scale with monetary benefits.”
For example, Hong Kong has initiated efforts for technology adoption to boost productivity, quality, site safety, and reduce environmental concerns by leveraging automation and digitization.
Safety is of utmost importance to any work environment. But in the construction industry, ensuring employee safety is not easy. Construction sites are usually large and have many people handling dangerous machines in different locations. AI and analytics can be an excellent help for construction companies and safety managers.
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