C+S August 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 8 (web)

Tech & Software

Technology is the key to revolutionizing the jobsite — and making it safer

By Troy Dahlin

So many people talk about how technology is reimagining the jobsite. Whether drones, reality capture, or machine control, there’s little debate about technology’s role in the modern jobsite in enabling efficiencies in time, materials, and resources. The discussion, however, should also center on the larger role technology should play to keep the jobsite—and everyone on it—safe. The industry is at a turning point as the next generation of workers takes leadership roles within companies. Undoubtedly, younger generations have a different relationship with technology — we see the conversation in our daily lives; civil and structural engineers need to proactively bring that same discussion into their professional lives. The tendency in any profession is to rely on what’s worked previously, rather than rocking the boat. While approaching the jobsite “the way it’s always been done” works to a point, civil and structural engineers have an opportunity to reimagine the job site and make it safer for everyone in the process. The only certainty is uncertainty. Whether it’s the shortage of skilled workers or the onset of new technologies, a new job site has emerged over the past few years. These changes have led to some level of uncertainty. That sentiment is borne out in the latest data from The Civil Quarterly (TCQ) from Dodge Construction Network, produced in partnership with Infotech and Hexagon. Respondents identified various factors contributing to feelings of uncertainty, including shortages of skilled workers and increased regulations.

To tackle these concerns, roughly half of the civil contractors and civil engineers surveyed said they would allocate more resources toward recruitment. However, only a small proportion mentioned investing in technology. The widespread deployment of technology on the jobsite can fundamentally change operations for the better — and in the process, make the jobsite safer. While there are multiple ways to achieve a safer jobsite, having technology as the enabler allows teams to chart the solutions they want to deploy on the jobsite. Addressing safety today doesn’t only mean physical safety; it’s expanded to include mental health. The seen and the unseen. Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal an often-overlooked threat facing the industries: suicide and, by extension, declining mental health. CDC numbers reveal the construction industry’s suicide rate is one of the highest of any industry. However, the official numbers may not fully capture the scope of the crisis. In 2016, the suicide rate of 49.4 per 100,000 for men in the “construction and extraction occupations” was roughly double the suicide rate for civilian working men between 16 and 64 years old in 32 states (27.4/100,000). It was also five times more than the construction industry’s fatal work-related injuries rate of 9.5/100,000 in 2018. It is difficult to say what is causing the elevated suicide rate, and the CDC suggested additional research to understand why the rate is higher




Made with FlippingBook Annual report