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There is risk involved in any construction job. With so many variables at play, so many hazards and potentially dangerous conditions, there is no realistic way to eliminate it. So, it is up to contractors and project managers to mitigate what risks they can through the means available to them.

No one wants to see disaster strike a jobsite. But being proactive with safety measures and documentation can help project leaders avoid the worst-case scenarios, cut down on jobsite injuries and theft, and protect their companies in the event of litigation. Leveraging modern technology to monitor the jobsite is a smart move that will provide plenty of return on investment and make jobsites safer for all involved.

Accident and Injury

Because human life is at stake, accidental injury or death are the absolute worst-case scenarios for construction sites. It is vital for project managers to take a firm stance about safety and be vigilant in enforcing safety procedures. But, since they can’t be everywhere at once, technology can help monitor jobsites and protect workers.

There are unique challenges present in today’s construction industry that make jobsite monitoring more important than ever. According to the American Society of Safety Professionals, the opioid epidemic is creating a vicious cycle of accident and injury on construction jobsites. Due to the physical nature of the work, some may turn to prescription painkillers to return to work faster, leading them to work with impaired judgement and creating an unsafe work environment.

In addition, the skilled trades and construction labor shortage is putting less experienced workers on-site with less experienced supervision than ever before. According to U.S. News and World Report, 91% of more than 2,700 construction professionals surveyed reported having a difficulty finding skilled workers. 

Jobsite cameras let project managers see worker activities remotely, helping them identify risky or suspicious activity and call a halt when things look unsafe. And the images captured are important documentation for workers’ compensation claims, insurance claims and possible lawsuits.

Theft

Another ongoing concern is construction site theft. Equipment, tools, materials and even copper wire already installed inside walls are targets of jobsite thieves. According to a study by National Equipment Register, the cost of equipment theft in the U.S. in 2016 was around $400 million. The rising cost of materials makes theft another worst-case scenario, as it can cause expensive delays or cause a project to run over budget.

To deter thieves, start by making the construction jobsite a poor target. If 24/7 security is not affordable, fencing and lighting will make thieves think twice. Visible security cameras will also serve as a deterrent and they can be monitored remotely less expensively than on-site security.

Geofencing technology can be coupled with tracking devices in equipment and valuable materials to send an alert when items leave the jobsite and they can aid in the recovery of stolen items.

Litigation

Construction projects are at the mercy of forces beyond anyone’s control, including the weather. And despite best efforts to vet subcontractors, sometimes their work quality and speed will be subpar. In construction, time is everything. Rework and delays can become very serious if the project goes over schedule due to cost and the possibility of contractual penalties, loss of reputation and even litigation.

In this case, documentation and communication is everything. Jobsite monitoring can keep stakeholders informed about weather conditions and other factors that impede a job’s progress, possibly preventing them from turning to lawsuits over missed deadlines.
Jobsite cameras can also keep an eye on subcontractors and document their work if it turns out to be poor quality and need reworking. In addition, the ability to view jobsites remotely and use the data to monitor workflows can help keep jobs running on time and within budget, keeping the job moving smoothly.

Prevention First

While all risk cannot be eliminated from construction projects, with careful planning and thoughtful use of technology, it is possible to lower the chances of a worst-case scenario. Safety training, implementing best practices and regular touch-base meetings with personnel and stakeholders are also vital to avoiding construction disaster. But, when implementing technology, make sure to research any solution thoroughly and make sure it’s not just the latest gadget to hit the market. This will ensure that the technology is proven effective and truly protects the company from the worst. 

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