The construction industry employs over 7 million workers in the United States – and will represent one of the fastest growing industries into 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For individuals seeking employment in this industry, job growth is projected to continue to trend upward.
But will there be enough skilled labor to support this industry boom? In a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, construction companies are reporting increasingly alarming labor shortages. This seems to be a trend across every sector of construction, from residential to large-scale infrastructure.
Technology as an Opportunity
How can companies in the construction industry fill labor gaps to meet rising demand? Not surprisingly, all signs are pointing to innovations in technology to minimize risk and create security for this sector. Integrating cutting-edge technology into construction has potential to attract young professionals to the industry – while increasing efficiency and saving lives. Here are 3 technologies revitalizing the construction industry:
Robotics has a clear application to the manufacturing industry, where machinery is taking on traditionally “human” positions to create products more efficiently. But where do robots fit into construction?
Drones can act as aerial assistants, giving site leads a bird’s eye view. Falls are the leading cause of construction-related fatalities, but utilizing drones to survey jobsites, report progress and inspect hazardous areas enables construction workers to spend more time on the ground.
3D printing the infrastructure. Although manufacturing of construction materials represents a separate sector, automation and 3D printing offer shorter supply chains and opportunities for construction companies. Today, robotic arms enable 3D printers to create larger surfaces and structures using concrete. Although the construction industry is slow to adopt this technology, this will likely revolutionize the industry.
Construction sites currently lack real-time visibility and the ability to instantly communicate time-sensitive information onsite. Wearables offer construction companies the ability to tackle these challenges head-on – by outfitting commonly worn protective clothing with smarter sensors.
1 in 5 worker fatalities in the U.S. takes place on a construction site. GPS capabilities enable employers to define geo-fenced zones for jobsites, enabling real-time location data for every employee. For workers operating heavy machinery, these GPS sensors can provide proximity alerts – minimizing the potential for accidents.
Slips, Trips & Falls contribute to 1/3 of reportable injuries. Biometric sensors embedded in PPEs can monitor vitals, detect fatigue and risk for heat-related overexertion. In addition to preventing injuries and illness, wearables can measure slips, trips & falls to send instant notifications to site leads when an accident happens.
Communication is key. Smart glasses enable workers to retrieve jobsite data, project rendering overlays, and allow remote inspections and repairs. When implemented with augmented reality technology, smart glasses become an educational resource, means of communication, and recordkeeping device.
The construction industry offers less data than manufacturing or governmental agencies – pointing to late adoption of big data & predictive analytics. The construction industry can benefit from collecting and analyzing data relating to equipment tracking, risk management and organizational efficiency – among others.
Insights & analytics can offer key performance indicators, highlight areas for improvement and enable employers to manage risk more effectively. The data collected from a digitized EHS management system tells a story – and predictive analytics create a roadmap for improvement.
Streamlined contractor management allows employers to hire the best talent and minimize the risks of new hires. A digitized solution offers enhanced safety through ease of contractor assignment, enables employers to organize training records and measures performance through auto-generated reports.
Gensuite works with construction companies every day to streamline safety and compliance, and our integrations in frontier technology are enabling us to create safer worksites every day. These technologies offer the opportunity to eliminate workplace accidents and fatalities every year. Join the movement. Invest in safety today.