3 Ways AI and Machine Learning Are Keeping Construction Workers Safer
April 16, 2019      
Matt Man

The secret is out: working in construction is dangerous. Construction workers are killed on the job five times more often than any other workers, with an average of 14 workers dying on the job every day.

In addition, struck-by deaths have risen by 34% over the past decade, bringing more urgency to site managers and workers to find ways to limit workplace injuries and deaths. Artificial intelligence solutions are providing construction managers more control over their job sites to reduce workplace hazards.

Here are three ways that AI is helping to keep construction safer for workers:

1) Increased visibility to prevent surprises

Increased visibility is crucial to improving on-site safety. Surprise injuries, such as falls, account for nearly 40% of construction deaths. Granted, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of falling on a construction site, but increasing on-site visibility and awareness with AI software can help reduce these surprises.

AI-supported cameras provide real-time footage while also gathering and analyzing all inbound data concerning the job site. From the materials to the vehicles to the workers, everything on a job site is accounted for in real-time. The data gathered by the AI gives construction managers insights into the sites to anticipate anything that may prove dangerous via interactive dashboards, and allows them to make better decisions with regard to employee safety.

Construction managers can be proactive to better understand where to focus their planning, training, and instruction when they do their safety walk.

In a 2016 photo competition, humans were pitted against AI software to review photo submissions for potential job-site safety risks. The AI processed all 1,080 images in under five minutes, while the human experts took more than five hours to complete the same task.

AI construction safety

2) AI can simplify tasks before the work begins

Construction sites are especially risky due to the number of variables involved. One way to mitigate the dangers on a construction site is to do as little as possible at the site – or move the construction site altogether. A combination of AI and robotics can produce prefabricated construction, which allows building elements to be built in a controlled factory and then transported to a construction site. This process controls many of the would-be hazards on a standard construction site, and completes the most dangerous tasks without risking human injury.

Thanks to AI and prefabricated construction, site managers can ensure the safest construction sites possible. Improvements in safety lead many to anticipate that there will be a 6% increase in modular construction by 2022.

3) Increased transparency and accountability

The introduction of AI-supported equipment on a construction site holds every stakeholder accountable in unprecedented ways. Lost paperwork, communication breakdowns, and misunderstandings are no longer acceptable excuses, with AI working to correct such mishaps. With AI software tracking and analyzing every piece of inbound data in real-time around-the-clock, all stakeholders are kept in the know regarding all progress or setbacks. Additionally, all stakeholders can see why problems arise and why workers are getting injured.

This level of workplace transparency goes a long way in keeping site managers accountable for the success of their job sites. With all stakeholders having an eye on the site, construction managers must go above and beyond to ensure that workers are kept safe.

Conclusion – going beyond ‘Be careful out there’

Construction sites are inherently dangerous, but construction managers and designers owe it to their workers to ensure the sites they work on are as safe as possible. “Being careful” is no longer an acceptable safety technique, and has proved to be woefully ineffective as the rate of workers hurt or killed on-site continues to skyrocket. AI can give construction managers the ability to protect their workers like never before, and ensure the sites are as safe as possible.