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Survey asks contractors how safety management in construction is evolving

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Hamilton, NJ — Contractors in the construction industry have pivoted their approach to safety management amid the COVID-19 pandemic, embracing online training and emerging technologies while placing added emphasis on implementing worker health and wellness measures.

That’s according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with Newmetrix and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. Those results are detailed in a corresponding report.

Researchers surveyed 282 contractors and found that 63% use online training. Within that group, 35% had accelerated the practice in the past year, while 41% expected to do so over the next three years.

Around a third of the contractors said wearable sensors and virtual reality (for training) are the technologies most likely to improve safety, followed by predictive analytics, remotely controlled equipment and visual monitoring with artificial intelligence.

“The fact that no technology was selected in the top three by more than 34% suggests that contractors are still figuring out exactly what will provide the greatest impact on safety,” the report states, “but certainly, [these] technologies … are likely candidates for having a major impact on improving safety in the future as they are more widely deployed in the industry.”

The survey results show that companies with at least 100 employees “consistently” provide more practices and types of training than their counterparts with fewer than 20 employees, while also experiencing benefits from safety programs more regularly.

 

“Given the large number of small companies in the U.S. construction industry, this is a critical gap that needs to be addressed by the industry as a whole,” the report states. “It is imperative to improve the well-being of all workers to address the challenges of skilled worker shortages and an aging workforce.”

CPWR Executive Director Chris Cain agrees.

“COVID-19 has emphasized that worker safety and health are crucial to successful construction,” Cain said in a press release. “This report shows that contractors of all sizes must continue addressing persistent concerns like falls and ergonomics at the same time they respond to COVID-19 through planning, training and advances in technology.”

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