The entrepreneurial nature of innovation has driven technological advancements, and the continuous progression, in industries like agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, and mining. The construction industry as well, in recent years, has begun to embrace emerging technologies to improve quality and make work sites safer—from self-driven trucks and heavy equipment to drones, connected tools, VR, exoskeletons and wearables that can help detect an accident or injury before it occurs.
The application of these new and emerging technologies is mind-blowing. The traditional ways of monitoring work sites, planning procedures in remote locations, assessing and tracking hazards, training in high risk environments, and learning safer work techniques are experiencing a revolution of modernization.
This is certainly the case with both injury prevention and the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association. Technology has opened avenues where safety courses and other content can be delivered using mobile platforms such as tablets and smartphones. Where once, volumes of paper manuals collected dust on bookshelves, digital tools have taken that information and put it in the back pockets of business owners, safety professionals and workers alike. Apps like the SCSA Guide to OHS Legislation can be activated and searched by voice control and make finding and understanding critical Occupational Health and Safety regulations easier. Future updates of the app include other mobile tools like the mobile hazard assessment; a medical services locator for individuals working in unfamiliar rural or remote settings; and an automatic alert system for extreme weather or other event that may impact safety.
The SCSA is also exploring applications in immersive technology, like virtual reality, to not only demonstrate the principles of recognizing and dealing with major hazards but the next generation of these tools will also allow for fully equipped training walk-throughs in high risk environments and scenarios. Digital VR worlds take theory and concept to application and experiential learning where imprints in the mind allow for higher speed of learning and comprehension while minimizing language barriers.
In the past, safety has been largely compliance driven—reactive versus proactive. The SCSA is looking to change that with modern analytic programs and data science which will allow company decision makers to understand more deeply, the correlations between their own safety audits, culture, testing, training records, safety performance and compensation related costs. This type of data-driven reporting can both inform business leaders of their competitive position in their industry, as well as potentially provide predictive modelling to support decisions on the ground.
The application of new technology to traditional business models has opened a range of new and exciting opportunities for businesses and consumers alike and the fact is, innovation and technology in construction safety bring the SCSA one step closer to achieving its vision of the safest construction environment in Canada.
The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) is an industry-funded, membership-based, non-profit organization that provides cost-effective, accessible safety training and advice to employers and employees in the construction industry throughout the province to reduce the human and financial losses associated with injuries. Registered March 22, 1995 the SCSA is, and has been since inception, committed to injury prevention. Serving almost 10,000 member companies, the vision of the SCSA is to create the Safest Construction Environment in Canada through its mission of Constructing Safety Leadership. For more information, visit www.scsaonline.ca