5 ways drones are improving workplace safety standards
A site safety inspection often entails proximity to dangerous sites, working at great heights, and operating in confined spaces. This may cause wo rker health and safety risks across industries such as manufacturing, construction, mining, and roof inspections due to slips, trips, falls, electrocutions, and other injuries.
In such circumstances, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have emerged as workplace safety heroes as they can capture and provide visual insights on a site’s physical condition before an operator decides to send their team up a roof or close to a perilous site.
Want to know how exactly these small flying machines can reduce workplace hazards and save hundreds of lives every year? Read on to find out.
Secure inspection and monitoring at construction sites
Drones in construction have come a long way. For example, before the actual construction starts, drone inspection for the entire site, using near- and farinfrared cameras, 3D mapping software, and laser range finders to ensure that the next project phase can proceed smoothly. As opposed to a human-led site survey, drones can complete the pre-construction site inspection in a short period.
Drones for construction sites can make all the tasks easier and safer such as monitoring workers laying the foundation or atop scaffoldings, site security surveillance, and generating progress reports. Field workers can get real-time video footage using UAVs without venturing into dangerous areas on the site. Thus, commercial drones can eliminate the risk of falling from heights while performing structural maintenance inspections.
Reduction in workplace fatality rate
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), there were 4,764 fatal work injuries recorded in the U.S alone in 2020. Almost half of them were in construction and transportation operations.
Why waste precious lives when you can get drones to do all the treacherous work? Not only do drones capture images of job sites and access areas with hazardous materials, but they also ensure that projects stay on track in terms of budget and deadlines.
Improved safety at mining sites
It is unsafe for a human inspector to enter every part of the mine given how small, dark, and dangerous it could be. Therefore, drones are an excellent solution as they can produce digital terrain models that give operators a better perspective of the site. Today, UAVs come with advanced technologies like AI and VR which allows operators to take a virtual tour of the site remotely. GPS may not be available underground, in which case, the SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) system in drones comes in handy.
Protection from hazardous substances and radiation
Drones can alleviate workplace injury and illnesses by reducing exposure to toxins and radiation. A great example of this is when drones were used to explore the disaster site at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. The task of collecting vital information for managing the disaster would have been too dangerous for humans due to high radiation levels. Enter UAVs that helped the first responders in creating disaster maps from a safe distance and also delivering essential supplies to people in need of assistance.
Low-risk surveillance of power lines
Maintenance of the lines that transmit electricity to our homes and businesses requires a crew to check for possible damage, branching, or vegetation that could knock the lines down. Using drones to perform this task eliminates the risk of working with high voltages and heights. Drones can also reduce the time and cost required to do the job.
Prioritizing work health and safety involves protecting the employees from workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Using drones not only creates a safe workplace, but also reduces costs, downtimes, and absenteeism which in turn boosts productivity and employee morale.
With these advantages, drones are sure to become as common as cranes and backhoe loaders in the future!