Happy World Day for Health and Safety at Work!
Here’s an international notable day that we rarely pay much attention to: World Day for Health and Safety at Work. Funny how we make a big deal about days like Valentine’s (where we’re technically “remembering” the martyrdom of two guys named Valentine who were executed by the Romans) and Hallowe’en (which began with us honouring the “faithfully departed”), while bypassing awareness-raising days around topics that impact our everyday lives. In the construction industry, health and safety at work can make the immediate difference between a satisfying day on the job and serious, life-threatening injury. Here are three tech innovations with the potential to make a meaningful difference in terms of occupational safety for people in the construction industry:
The DEWALT MD501 Rugged Android Smartphone
In addition to being a life-saver in terms of saving money on phones broken on site – it boasts dust protection, ability to be safely submerged in water (and dropped from a two-metre height) and five-inch Bright View Gorilla Toughened Glass – the DEWALT MD501 has a pre-installed Lone Worker Protection App, which uses GPS function to provide the worker’s exact location to a colleague or manager when activated. A side-mounted function button can be programmed to make Push-to-Talk calls, allowing one-to-one or one-to-many communication during emergencies. Workers can also set an accelerometre, which triggers an alarm when the user suffers a fall. Overall, people working in harsh or precarious conditions may want to opt for the MD501 the next time they’re looking for a new mobile.
Let’s be honest. Occupational health and safety isn’t just about staying in-tact physically. People across all industries need to be mindful of their mental health and it’s high-time we started discussing this in the construction industry. Being in a difficult headspace on site can have physical consequences, whether you’re operating heavy machinery, or just needing to communicate efficiently with team members to get a job done right. Starling is an online preventative mental health program which helps workers manage stress-related issues like depression and anxiety. It allows workers to do some basic assessments and tracking around their mental health, train using evidence-based cognitive behavioural tools and learn more about how the mind works. While it shouldn’t be a substitution for getting help from a professional in times of crisis, it can be a helpful tool to add to the mix.
Faber’s online profile of health considerations
Several months after Faber launched its platform, we did some research into what businesses in the construction sector were doing to have health documentation ready and available in times of emergencies. Spoiler alert: not much. In B.C., where Faber was founded, it’s illegal to refuse to hire a worker (or to give them less work than their peers) based on their health conditions, as long as accommodations can be made that don’t put an overwhelming burden on the employer. This means that in some cases, site managers need to know about a worker’s health conditions to accommodate them properly. At the same time, we’re all entitled to a degree of privacy around our personal health. Some companies tried to address both these issues by requiring workers to wear a sticker on their hard hat, which would indicate their health condition to a manager in emergency situations. Here’s the problem: It’s not just managers that can see a sticker on your hard hat. Your entire team can see it, too. At Faber, we thought there had to be a more private and more effective solution. That’s why our platform allows contractors to pull up workers’ relevant health and safety information with the tap of a finger in times of emergency, without requiring workers to “out” their conditions to other team members.
Do you have a health and safety tech innovation that you’re excited about? Tell us about it. Connect with us on Twitter @faberconnect or on Instagram @faberapp.