Construction Amid COVID-19: The Path Forward

We are almost one full year into the COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, many of us thought we would stay home for a few short weeks, and then go back to life as it used to be. After months of the rampant spread of the virus, hospitals overrun with COVID patients, and a much-politicized response to the pandemic, we are still, a year later, adjusting to a new “normal”. 

Many businesses have learned to adjust to working from home. That luxury is not afforded to essential workers or those whose daily tasks require a more hands-on approach. Industry leaders find themselves stretched thin having to continue managing day-to-day operations while navigating CDC guidelines, which can seem to be ever-changing. Many construction sites simply aren’t set up to handle the pressures of this crisis. There seems to be a general lack of effective means to create a healthy, safe work environment for all employees, not to mention dealing with the added pressures of ensuring compliance to safety policy, guidelines, and best practices. The impact and potential risk of not wearing PPE, in particular a mask, on the Jobsite now poses a risk to everyone, not just the individual. 

Construction Safety and Mitigating Risk

Today across many job sites, the lack of solid metrics based on automated continuous monitoring is hampering general contractors and superintendents from easily tracking safety policy violations on-site at all times. Without a solution like the one INDUS.AI provides, companies would only catch individuals violating policy by having an employee walk around the site continuously and manually enter violations onto a clipboard or sheet of paper. This more manual method of tracking violations lacks efficiency and leaves a lot of room for error.

Leaving room for error in health and safety precautions does not communicate value to your employees. Furthermore, there are many risks and liabilities associated with COVID-related claims. Having proper procedures and monitoring systems in place closes the gap on any potential spreading of disease and lets people know you are taking the issue seriously. 

How AI-powered Construction Management Software Can Help

Computer Vision and AI  are emerging technologies.  Advanced AI technology minimizes exposure of COVID-19 on construction sites by proactively and continuously making sure everyone on these sites is adhering to the recommended CDC guidelines. Every day, INDUS.AI uses advanced computer vision to monitor over 100 million square feet of construction sites, detecting both anomalies and progress. 

This cloud-based AI solution monitors your site and then sends a daily summary of any potential safety issues, as well as an overview of monthly trends. It automatically captures, interprets, and analyzes video streams and time-lapse images and turns them into actionable insights. Managers get these risk insights as soon as possible so they can know how to pivot their strategy to combat COVID-19. INDUS.AI will also help you identify high-traffic areas where risks are higher and monitoring will be most effective, such as entrances and waiting areas. 

Improving Safety On Construction Sites 

While this technology is helpful for identifying many types of unsafe behavior, as it relates to COVID-19, it can monitor your construction site so you can rest assured that your employees are wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. The facial covering and mask recognition engine is based on OSHA recommendations for ensuring a healthy work environment. 

The solid metrics INDUS.AI provides helps general contractors and Superintendents easily track safety policy violations at all times. They can use the data to discuss trends and factual issues related to wearing masks or PPE, and more with subcontractors at daily standup meetings. General contractors and developers are now able to provide hard evidence and proof of incidents in order to help improve training, thereby changing the culture to improve site safety overall. This significantly reduces liability for your company. 

Encouraging COVID-19 Safety At Work and At Home 

Monitoring employee’s compliance with required safety guidelines and maintaining PPE standards is only one part of a well-integrated strategy to create a safer workplace. In addition to wearing masks at work and maintaining social distancing, employers should encourage everyone at construction sites to:

  • Call out from work if they have a fever, are exhibiting COVID-symptoms, or have been around anyone experiencing COVID-symptoms. 
  • Properly train their employees on how to effectively use PPE equipment.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette and hygiene, such as covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze. 
  • Promote hand hygiene by advising employees to wash their hands with soap and water for a minimum of thirty seconds. If there is no access to soap and water, provide an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Provide alcohol-based wipes to clean the equipment after use.
  • Keep in-person meetings to a minimum, and require everyone to maintain social distancing standards during said meetings.

To see a full list of OSHA’s COVID-19 guidelines for the construction workforce, click here

Artificial Intelligence in the Construction Market

Larger-scale projects require a lot of oversight, and AI technologies can assist already weary construction managers with more menial day-to-day tasks so they can focus on the bigger picture. AI also helps developers and contractors protect construction workers and projects.

Making sure your employees are safe is as important as your profit margins. AI-powered monitoring for health, safety, and compliance help your employees practice safe social distancing by complying with CDC social distancing guidelines.  This compliance will help to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to alert you when on-site staff or visitors are not following the social distancing guidelines, including not wearing masks. This helps you gain daily insights to potential health risks on your sites and view monthly trends or benchmarks across projects. Companies can even use archived data, video, and reports for health and safety training or new staff onboarding.

Employees who feel like their company is looking out for their best interests have higher profit margins and better business results overall. This cannot be overlooked – employee satisfaction and safety has to become a bottom line for your business operations. INDUS.AI can help you establish a sense of trust and safety at all of your construction sites. Schedule a demo today to see how you can take advantage of AI for protecting your construction workforce and projects.

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