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How AI Is Making Construction Safer

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Construction sites are dangerous places. There are plenty of risks for the workers, and if they’re not careful, things could end badly. Of course, this doesn’t suit anyone, so decision-makers are focused on bringing the number of workplace injuries down. But to do it, they need all the help they can get. They must explore all options and find new ways for mitigating risks. Luckily, with the rapid development of artificial intelligence, they’ve got another great tool on their side. It’s a powerful ally, and it might be the thing that will turn everything around. If you want to learn more, dive in and discover how AI is making construction safer.

Advancements in AI

If you’ve watched Terminator and Matrix too many times, you might not feel too good about AI. However, modern AI is nothing like the sci-fi tales depict it. On the contrary, it’s based on its ability to support humans in what they do, and it offers levels of efficiency we couldn’t even dream about a decade ago.

The reality is that AI is one of the technological innovations influencing the AEC industry, and it’ll stick with us for sure. It brings much more benefits than negatives to the niche, as experts see it. As a matter of fact, AI is becoming vital for coordinating a safe construction site in this day and age. And here’s why.

Artificial intelligence can do a lot. People use it to go through large-scale data sets faster, monitor workflow, and get insights into possible workplace solutions. Now, you can take the data you collect, let AI analyze it in real-time, and create worker safety solutions that weren’t possible in the past.

Let’s look at the improvements in AI that make all this possible.

Robotic Process Automation

RPA is software’s capability to interact with and guide machines through tasks. In other words, it allows you to program devices to do the work on their own. You don’t have to be around to operate them, so it’s clear how RPA can eliminate construction site dangers.

A robot on a construction site
Caption: AI is making construction safer through RPA, as it makes possible for robots to do all the hard and dangerous work.

Predictive Analysis

Predictive analysis is one of the most widely used features of AI. It means that the software will take a massive data set into consideration and form intelligent conclusions from it. As you can assume, it’s a very versatile tool. You can use it in digital marketing to get some help with your campaigns or take it a step further and apply it to machinery, work orders, and supply chains. As a result, you’ll end up with more comprehensive insights into your operations, which will allow you to make changes where needed to create a safer environment for your employees.

Internet of Things (IoT) Monitoring

The Internet of Things is made out of smart devices connected to each other. The more of them you have, the easier it will be to monitor data across your construction site. And if you add smart data collection to it, you’ll get great safety insights sooner than you might think. 

Of course, there are many more advancements in AI, but these three hold the most value for us. If you know how to use them, they can save lives, which makes them invaluable in our book. 

How AI Is Making Construction Safer

Although construction sites have changed a lot in the last few decades, they still have inherent risks. Naturally, people know about these risks, and they’re one of the main reasons young Americans don’t want to go into construction. If they don’t feel safe in it, they won’t go anywhere near the construction site.

Luckily, AI is making construction safer, and there are three areas it shines. These are:

  • Mitigating risks
  • Communicating hazards
  • Streamlining on-site transparency

Let’s go over each of them. 

A robotic hand giving a flower to a woman.
AI can help your company, and you shouldn’t throw away all the benefits it could bring you.

Mitigating Risks

In social media marketing, mitigating risks is easy. You simply A/B test your social ad campaigns before running them for real, and you have nothing to worry about. However, in construction safety, this looks a bit different.

In essence, you rely on AI and robotics to take risks and physically demanding labor out of construction sites, so your human employees do less dangerous parts of the job. Prefabrication and 3D printing are the most often chosen ways to do it. And they work like a charm. You create all your parts in a factory and then transport and assemble them on-site. 

If you want to take it further, you can also invest in on-site robotics. Plenty of robots on the market can take the strain off of your workers’ backs. Get one of them, and you’ll make things easier for your workers and increase site safety and productivity. 

Communicating Hazards

AI systems are very good at observing, assessing, and communicating on-site hazards in real-time. As a matter of fact, they can do it much faster and much better than any human could. The system will monitor real-time footage and look for warning signs. As soon as it spots them, it’ll put them in a comprehensive dashboard that site managers can read and take action to prevent accidents. 

If you’re sure that your managers don’t need software to pinpoint all the dangers for them, we’d like to bring your attention to the 2016 ENR photo competition. Scientists put a skilled team versus AI tool to see who can assess 1,080 pictures for risks. Who do you think won? The AI did it in under five minutes, while the human team took more than five hours to get it done. It’s clear who’s got the edge here. 

Streamlining On-Site Transparency

If you want to keep your costs down and the integrity of the work intact, you need absolute transparency. AI can help you with it as it can collect insights for IoT cameras, monitors, and sensors into one source of information. Then, your managers can assess this data and use it to catch problems before they become big. 

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more and more companies using drones to scan their construction sites for risk factors. And it makes sense when you think about it. They can get anywhere, and you can pack them with gear. Thus, a drone equipped with infrared and standard imaging cameras may be the missing member of your AEC company’s dream team.

A man holding a drone.
Drones might be the future of on-site safety.

The Bottom Line

The times are rough for the construction industry, and it needs all the help it can get to draw in new talent and keep the costs down. AI should be seen as a gateway to this new, better time. Now that you know how AI is making construction safer — use that knowledge. Invest in systems that will make a difference, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits they’ll bring. 

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Dorothy is a Bizop guest author and outreach coordinator who specializes in sharing digital marketing insights, strategy, and education.

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