Jobs at construction sites come with their fair share of risks, just like in any other workplace. The most common risks being caused by the fatal four; falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught between two things. However, the dangers at construction sites are not limited to those that cause physical harm, as security and construction site theft has always been a significant concern.
Given the continuous application of technology in our daily lives, wireless network use has emerged as one way of tackling security concerns and improving safety at construction sites. Wi-Fi solutions at construction sites are cheaper and require less human intervention than most alternatives.
Construction Site Security
There are two main ways of maintaining construction site security – physical and operational measures. Physical measures entail infrastructure and include technical systems such as intruder detection, lighting, CCTV, construction site Wi-Fi, access control systems, and obstacles such as fences, gates, barriers, and bollards.
Operational measures are human activities that pertain to guarding and carrying out all security operations on site. Site policy should state the requirements of site security and to which extent the security people can enforce their powers. Guarding includes patrolling and static protecting, processing people and vehicles moving in and out of the construction site, working the technical systems, reporting incidents, and collaborating with the site manager.
Ways Wi-Fi Can Improve Site Safety and Security
Construction site WiFi solutions employ many improvements in technology to boost safety and increase security in a couple of ways such as:
Use of Wearables
Wearables could become essential to workers for dangerous jobs as their environment could be carefully tracked and monitored. These are devices that are worn by the construction site personnel and connect to the construction site Wi-Fi. Such wearables could detect red flags such as lack of movement, heat or gas build-up, etc. Close-by co-workers and management and even emergency services could automatically be alerted if a problem is detected. In the event of an accident, workers will be confident that the wearables will swiftly alert their superiors or co-workers, significantly reducing the time required to get medical attention, thus considerably increasing their recovery and survival chances.
Wi-Fi for construction sites combined with emerging localization technology, mobile devices, and wearables could play a vital role in improving on-site safety. When an accident happens, the ability to immediately locate all workers potentially impacted and identify safety resources is critical. Devices connected to the Wi-Fi could inform supervisors, close-by co-workers, and management immediately after an accident. Accident victims will be found quickly, and bystanders will access and follow emergency procedures. While this advancement is exciting and can improve safety, companies should ensure that tracking measures only apply during working hours.
Digitization of Safety Processes
Fully digitized safety processes are possible with the use of Wi-Fi combined with mobile devices and smartphones. Workers can complete checklists on mobile devices to acquire safety permits, and supervisors approve in real-time. All the processed information is shared digitally with co-workers, supervisors, and management. This innovation’s benefits include increased productivity, smarter output, and the ability to detect conflicting activities in real-time.
Having the physical presence of security personnel at a construction site has its advantages, but it comes with its costs. A viable replacement for some security detail is IP CCTV cameras that stream images using the construction site Wi-Fi to either the security team based in the head office or a contractor.
Other security features reliant on an internet connection include Wi-Fi-operated access systems, which can stream images from cameras at the gate or any other location to any smartphone and be remotely unlocked as required, again saving anyone having to operate the gate all day.
Other Applications of Wi-Fi on Construction Sites
The increasing dependence on digital and internet reliant applications and tools on construction sites means the need for connectivity is inescapable. Wi-Fi offers a solution to the internet need of construction sites in the following ways:
- On-site communications: Smartphones and other hand-held devices make communication a whole lot easier for construction workers who mostly have to be mobile. Voice calls on Wi-Fi are also possible, and these usually bear no cost.
- Cloud-based services: The speed and connectivity Wi-Fi offers allows for viewing CAD software on multiple devices with cloud-based services. In the past, these would only be possible having the CAD software installed on individual devices. This goes a long way in improving flexibility, ensuring that contractors and workers alike can share new designs and revisions quickly with everyone who needs to see them.
- IoT equipment: “Internet of Things” equipment refers to the smart machinery growing in popularity and use in the construction industry. These gadgets require stable internet connections to help drive performance and efficiency.