“Wearables” has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the construction industry over the past several years, as contractors and owners alike see this sort of technology as a means of significantly improving safety records and positively impacting overall project site conditions.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated that only about 6 percent of all construction firms were deploying wearable technology for their workers in 2018. However, that number is expected to significantly increase to more than 20 percent by this year, a sign that this type of technology has a future in the market. Furthermore, the same report indicates that an overwhelming number of contractors – 83 percent – believe that wearables will improve on-site safety.
Wearables do have some obstacles in the industry. While there’s certainly a cost component that firms need to budget for, perhaps the biggest obstacle is worker hesitancy. Some wearables have the ability to track location and other advanced data that some may see as invasive. Even so, trials and implementation of wearable technology is only likely to continue on jobsites. In this post, we’ll take a look at several wearable technologies to look out for in 2022.
Wearables in 2022: Three Technologies to Watch For
The Smart Hardhat
One wearable that’s already been implemented on various jobsites throughout the country is the smart hardhat. Hardhats are pieces of PPE that already must be worn on the jobsite, and the addition of “smart” technology is simply designed to make them more functional. Some smart hardhats are able to sense vital signs to warn workers of things like overexertion, heat stroke and microsleep, among others. Others use GPS technology to track where workers are on a jobsite so they can be reached faster in the event of an emergency. Some even allow workers to communicate hands-free with supervisors and other workers.
Robotic Assist Suits
No, we’re not talking about workers stepping into Robocop-like armor on the jobsite. Robotic assist suits are exoskeleton-like and worn on a certain part of the body to help make manual tasks easier and safer. For instance, a worker that’s installing ceilings might wear a robotic assist suit over their shoulders that uses hydraulic technology to help with overhead lifting. There are also assist suits for the legs and arms to help with manual activity that strains these areas of the body. These suits are designed to limit worker fatigue and reduce on-site injuries.
Smart Monitoring Devices
These are among the most minimally invasive of all wearables currently used on jobsites today. These are small devices that simply clip onto a safety vest, can be worn as a wristband or even clipped onto a belt loop. They work to improve contact tracing and can also detect any harmful gases that may be present in a certain area of the site. Some monitors are also able to track health metrics like heart rate, body temperature and more.
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