How AI video analytics increase workplace safety in the construction industry

V3 Smart Technologies Pte Ltd.

Workplace safety violations are hard to control and a worrisome issue in high-risk industries, especially construction. No matter if you equip your workers with the best PPE head or body gear, it amounts to nothing if they are not properly wearing it to protect themselves. Fortunately, with the help of AI, we can reduce accident risks in a more proactive way than ever.

A look into the lack of workplace safety in the construction industry in Singapore

Just recently last year, there were 37 workplace deaths in Singapore, with over 600 injured workers. Construction is also the industry with the greatest number of workplace deaths, with slip, trip and fall injuries being the most. In the first half of 2022, the number of workplace deaths in construction has reached the highest, and has actually doubled in number over the last six months.

Many unsafe practices were found in the construction industry, which contributed to what is happening right now. Moreover, the manpower crunch following Covid-19 did not help either as workers rushed to complete construction work at the cost of safety measures.

Fortunately, the severity of injuries can be lessened by a lot, and even prevented, if companies can ensure all their staff are wearing PPE at all times. And amongst the measures taken to mitigate accidents, ensuring protection through PPE detection is one of them.

Why is it so important to ensure that PPE is properly worn, and why are workers neglecting safety?

One of the most common safety violations is not having appropriate PPE eye or face protection. There are also many incidents where training is not carried out correctly. This, plus the lack of PPE gear, makes work environments even more dangerous for construction staff to work in. In fact, many workers are injured or killed because of such oversights on PPE protection. These accidents will also impact your productivity, and end up costing a high sum in accident claims.

Despite the importance of wearing PPE, there will still be many cases where workers won’t equip themselves with it. Reasons listed for not wearing PPE include a lack of comfort and convenience. Workers also tend to disregard safety in favour of saving time on construction operations.

Limitations of the current video surveillance system and why AI is the solution

You can provide your workers with advanced and good quality PPE, make sure safety training is covered stringently, and remind your staff to follow PPE rules. However, it remains difficult to ensure your workers are truly following safety regulations. This is where video monitoring comes into play, and PPE detection via AI in particular will keep you informed about safety violations, so you can keep them to a minimum.

Before the rise of AI usage across industries, monitoring via surveillance cameras allowed us to watch over construction sites remotely, and also provided video proof or security or safety breaches when situations called for it. However, unless there’s someone constantly watching the video feed live 24-7, there is no way to know if the rules are properly followed.

How PPE detection works

Video surveillance cameras are connected to a video analytics solution on the cloud. The system then uses AI to detect if workers are wearing their PPE gear, which includes helmets, boots and vests correctly. In some PPE detection systems, even falls can be detected.

The moment the system identifies that a worker is not wearing their PPE gear, it will send an alert to notify construction supervisors immediately. With real-time PPE detection, construction managers can keep stringent measures on PPE regulations, which will then help to reduce accident costs and protect lives, and also increase productivity and prevent downtime due to accidents.

Benefits of AI-powered PPE detection

What incorporating AI in surveillance does is it goes one step further, eliminating the need for staff to keep watch over high-risk workplace environments, while providing construction supervisors with video intelligence at all times even when they are not viewing live video feed. As a result, construction supervisors can gain awareness on safety violations proactively, via real-time alerts. Below are the key benefits of PPE detection:

  • Construction supervisors and contractors can check site processes through the video surveillance to ascertain construction progress on top of safety, hence killing two birds with one stone.
  • Another upside to PPE detection technology is the lack of technical expertise needed to use it.
  • Construction managers can also remotely monitor different construction sites from the system.
  • Non-compliance of safety rules can in turn be recorded for training purposes, and can also be used when planning future projects.
  • In addition, AI-powered PPE detection will offer contractors and stakeholders more confidence about safety.

Overall, PPE detection solutions provide a way to proactively monitor and control workplace safety, answering the problem of safety violations which many companies are struggling with now in the construction industry.

The future is AI, and not just in the construction industry, but everywhere else

AI is changing the face of video surveillance in industries everywhere, ranging from building surveillance, to fall detection in healthcare, security enforcement, smart retail solutions, and many other such use cases. Besides detecting PPE violations, AI is a powerful tool which can be used to isolate and identify user-defined objects, events and situations, bringing attention to details which were otherwise lost in regular surveillance systems. Thanks to the power of AI, we can now achieve all-around, real-time monitoring in ways which were unheard of years ago.

In conclusion – AI is the answer to tighten workplace safety concerns in construction

By incorporating AI into video surveillance, we can eliminate the loophole of workers not following safety regulations. In high-risk environments such as the construction industry, AI in PPE detection reduces the likelihood of accidents by a large margin and saves lives and money at the same time.

Besides PPE detection via AI and video analytics, our team at V3 also develops AI solutions which are usable for crowd control, object or persons identification, driving risk analysis, and so forth. Check out our solutions to know more.