Historically, the mining and construction industries have been slow to adopt new technologies for the safety of their workers. That trend has started to change in recent years, not only because of the better implementation and standard/quality of PPE, but also because many companies are fully integrating into Industry 4.0, incorporating more connected devices into their workplace. One of the most promising aspects of this digital revolution is wearable technology.
A connected PPE
One of the reasons why mining and construction is perfect for portable devices is because the industry already includes mandatory equipment to carry out its activities safely.
High-visibility vests are becoming an increasing standard in the industry, so tech companies can make "smart" versions of them instead of pushing new items.
Sensors within these PPE items can detect if workers are tired or overworked and in need of a break. Alternatively, they could provide location data so managers can know where workers are at any given time. These resources improve safety in the workplace, company communication and the level of PPE, adding a lot of value to the most important asset of companies: their workers. Teams will be able to achieve higher levels of efficiency.
In their most basic form, these technologies provide workers with a "hands-free" communication tool. However, they can offer more than that, including health services such as blood oxygen sensors and heart rate monitors. As technology improves, they may even allow workers to connect to and control other IoT devices like drones or automated machinery.
Exoskeletons, or wearable robotics, are one of the newest, but most promising, wearable technologies for construction. These machines provide muscular and skeletal support for workers who need to lift or carry heavy objects. This not only allows workers to perform the same tasks with less risk of injury, but can also help them further improve their productivity.
Overexertion and other similar causes generate the most frequent injuries in workers and lead to the loss of work days. Using exoskeletons for support would substantially reduce a worker's risk of one of these heavy lifting injuries. As a result, construction workers can be safer and more efficient for longer periods of time.
Wearables are transforming the high-standard security industry
Wearable technology has already revolutionized the consumer market and is now starting to make its way into construction. In an industry where small errors can have dire consequences, both for safety and efficiency, the precision of portable devices is essential. These technologies will transform the industry because the industry cannot afford not to transform.
With these tools, construction is finally entering the modern age and may even take a step into the future.