Are Drones the Secret to Jobsite Safety?

It is no surprise that construction jobsites can be dangerous places to work. In 2016, 21 percent of workplace fatalities were in the construction industry. The risks of slipping, falling or getting sandwiched by a 10-ton backhoe are very real. Ask any site supervisor and they will tell you keeping employees safe is his or her No. 1 priority. Although jobsite accidents will never be eliminated, many of them are avoidable as more and more construction companies around the world turn to drones to improve jobsite safety.

Keep Workers Out of Harm’s Way

Although some situations require human inspection, many workplace injuries can be eliminated by simply keeping people out of harm’s way. Scaling a roof to check for damage or climbing a scaffold to complete vertical inspections on the face of a newly built project are inherently risky activities. The good news? These can now be done more safely and efficiently with drones. By giving workers a better way to access hard-to-reach or accessible-but-dangerous locations, these flying robots are ideal for assessing building envelopes or investigating roof damage without the need for a worker to put himself or herself in dangerous situations.

For instance, recent roof inspections at the University of Texas were performed using a series of thermal drone maps. Not only were workers operating safely on the ground, but the drone data also provided a more detailed and accurate picture of the site than other methods, such as helicopters, at a fraction of the cost. The thermal imagery showed inspectors precisely where to look for problem areas, making the whole operation more efficient without the need to put boots on the roof at night, when these inspections typically occur.

New Technology Means Safer Operations

Advances in virtual reality (VR) combined with cutting-edge drone software make for safer site visits and inspections. Aerial data from drones are being used to facilitate virtual walkthroughs of jobsites. Why step foot on a busy site, when you can explore a project in 3-D from virtually anywhere? VR makes it easy to focus on areas of concern and in many cases can eliminate the need for clients to walk through hazardous areas. This cuts down on the chances of an accident occurring and that’s what jobsite safety is all about.

Prevent the Next Accident

Sometimes accidents happen, but drones can be a resource in making jobsites themselves safer. One company, RTI Forensics, uses drone data to map and image past accident sites. Through DroneDeploy‘s software, company representatives can create 3-D image models and computer simulations that investigators use in their site analysis and reports. These tools provide important clues about how the accident occurred and facilitate fixes that can prevent the next accident from ever happening at all.

Companies that are serious about reducing worksite hazards should actively be considering the use of drones and drone mapping software. By keeping workers out of harm’s way, drone mapping can ensure companies small and large alike focus on safety first. Drone mapping is an innovative and cost-efficient way to capture information from dangerous areas without the need to put personnel into compromising situations to complete their jobs.

If drones aren’t on your technology roadmap, it might be time to ask yourself why.

About the Author

Mike Winn
Mike Winn is CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy.

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