While you might view technology in the construction industry primarily from an efficiency standpoint, some of today’s technology also offers major health and safety benefits. Among these is a smart vest developed to alert wearers to the signs of heat illness before their health suffers.
Heat Illness: An Increasingly Common Threat
Unusually high summer temperatures have become more frequent across the country and with them, the risk of heat-related illnesses also rises. This growing threat prompted the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to launch their annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.
Construction workers are at high risk for heat illness due to the physical labor, protective clothing, and heat-generating equipment involved in the work. Providing your workers with plenty of water, shade and rest time doesn’t eliminate the risk. Workers don’t always realize when their discomfort has reached dangerous levels.
Heat stress causes excessive thirst, weakness, clumsiness, dizziness and nausea. A worker may write these symptoms off as normal fatigue and fail to seek help until they’ve suffered more serious health consequences. In severe cases, the worker may collapse before reaching help.
A new smart vest developed by Ruwini Edirisinghe, a researcher with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, prevents this situation by alerting the wearer to danger. The vest is thought to be the first of this kind of technology in the construction industry.
How the Smart Vest Protects Your Workers
The smart vest looks like an ordinary yellow safety vest. Built into the fabric are sensors that collect data on the temperature of the working environment, as well as the worker’s body temperature and heart rate. The sensors send the data wirelessly in real time to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. If the app detects any abnormalities, it immediately alerts both the wearer and the site supervisor.
The early warning lets the worker stop and rest before suffering any adverse health effects. Because the supervisor is also alerted, there’s little chance the worker will simply ignore the warning.
To learn more about how technology in the construction industry can benefit you, visit the construction leads experts at Construction Monitor.