In a study done last 2013 on Construction Safety and Health Performance in Dubai by Michael Zekri, several statistics were generated concerning the safety and security of workers and laborers on the job sites.
Some of the notable figures to quote are as follows:
According to The National UAE, in 2010, 101 deaths were due to occupational hazards. 75 of those were due to work hazards. In 2011, 29 people died in 29 construction accidents in Abu Dhabi. Main causes of death were falling and unsafe scaffolding, together with being hit by foreign objects. Both numbers are a noted 14% increase from statistics in 2007.
We have not yet even given the amount for worker’s compensation related to these incidents. And just to refresh your memory, the minimum coverage for worker’s compensation in the UAE is 18,000 AED and not more than 35,000 AED. You do the math.
Quite staggering figures, yes? For the management body of companies, it is quite disturbing to see that some of the figures here are for things that should be set as standards for any company. Safety of workers should be prioritized above all else yet this seems to be overlooked by some.
As of 2018, there are no indicators of the current or previous year’s performance but we are hopeful that the numbers have improved. The reality though is that these numbers are not dropping down to zero because like was mentioned, the need for workers and laborers are only increasing.
Increasing Safety In Job Sites Using Drones
Job safety is paramount to the success of any project. Not only will it ensure that your workforce is delegated efficiently but it also contributes to the productivity and morale of your team. Who would want to work in an obviously unsafe environment? Where is the incentive in that?
Everything is about safety especially in the industrial sector.
As demands increase, so does the danger. Companies today are continuously trying to develop methods to identify hazards in the workplace and prevent them from becoming dangerous. They are also trying to harness technology to see if certain tasks can be handled remotely.
This is where unmanned aerial vehicle services, or UAV services, enter. Yes, drone services.
What Can Drones Do To Increase Safety?
One of the most notable characteristics of drone services is the remote capability. This immediately opens up possibilities for companies and already increases safety: the person just controls the object and views data through the screen in an office or a tent or an open area free from hazard.
We highlight the ways on how drone services can increase job safety to keep your workers happy… and cuts project completion rates in almost half.
1. Progress Tracking and Hazard Detection
Site inspections are not a walk in a park. For one, sites are often much larger than parks. And second, it is definitely not an easy task especially under the Middle Eastern sun.
Engineers and companies would argue that they have golf caddies to use to drive around or perhaps a 4×4 to run through the desert sand. But what if there are unpredicted weather disturbances like sandstorms that give almost zero visibility and respiratory hazards?
Can a golf caddy let you see a leaking pipe 50 meters in the air? Can the latest 4×4 show you that one of the towers is leaning ever so slightly to the right as compared to the others? Can a worker climbing up the scaffold spot a gas leak before it reaches a hazardous rate?
Drones give you the bird’s eye view. High rise projects and industrial sites are better to be monitored from above. Utilizing drone services for your site in the UAE gives you the edge of seeing all sides and elements of your project and gives you the advantage of making quick decisions based on the data. This also protects your workers from hazardous tasks like climbing up a scaffold or being too close to a flare stack.
Additionally, drone mapping services from the air and reporting this to your clients is a sure way of telling them that you care about this project and you will do all it takes run things more efficiently and safely. Less time on the project, safer environment = lower overall project cost.
2. Reduction of Manual On-Site Monitoring AKA Walking on the Site
At the start of this article, we mentioned that one of the causes of accidents were being hit by foreign objects.
Engineers would say that’s the reason why they wear hard hats and steel-toed boots. But high school Physics has taught us that the force of a heavy free-falling object will be too great for even for the most expensive hard hat or boot.
Drone services reduces the need for manual inspection on the site. Personnel can simply be trained to control these drones and inspect them via a screen and some mapping software while in a safe area. This reduces the need to deploy manpower to unsafe areas because let’s be realistic here, we do not know and we will never know when disaster will strike. It’s not paranoia thinking that anywhere can be safe: that’s just the truth especially for industrial and constructions sites.
3. Investigations of Accidents
So here we are, the accident already happened and for insurance and investigation purposes, somebody needs to check what happened. And when it happens, who do we turn to? The eye witnesses. This can result in two things: there were no eyewitnesses or the eyewitnesses are not reliable sources of information.
Deploying a drone to the accident site can reveal useful information that cannot be simply observed by a bystander. The drone can investigate the source of the problem especially if it is a hard to reach area, say something way up high. You surely won’t risk somebody’s life again to find the cause of an accident, right? Time is also of the essence. In the amount of time it takes somebody to get ready to investigate, a drone is already up in the air capturing precious data.
4. Shorter Exposure to Hazards
Do you know what flare stacks do? They burn off hazardous gases before they create a toxic breathing ground. These flare stacks run high anywhere from 32ft to 320ft. Before aerial inspections were done, people would climb up these stacks carrying equipment to measure what they need.
Do you see the bigger picture? It’s a human climbing a very high structure which at the top has toxic fumes coming out. That’s a disaster waiting to happen, if you ask us.
Aerial services have then come into the picture to significantly reduce the need for these types of inspections. A drone can fly carrying a thermal camera that can feed data into a software so the experts on the ground can interpret the data. That’s detailed information in much less time it takes to climb the stack.
This simply translates to faster data gathering, faster disaster mitigation, lesser exposure to hazards and more efficient operations.
5. Centralized Data Gathering
Inspections can be done by one person or a whole team depending on the area to be inspected.
If you have a team of 10 people inspecting a particular area, that would be 10 pairs of eyes and 10 different viewpoints. Once the data is gathered, it needs to be interpreted and averaged to come up with a full report. That would take days especially if there are a thousands of data points and a hoping that data won’t be skewed by outliers in the data gathered.
But with drone services? A 15-minute flight can gather a hundred thousand data points and can be interpreted in a few hours, to say the least. Some companies utilized helicopters to do these before but that can set you back and add up to project costs significantly.
This eliminates the 10-man team solely for inspection but at the same time generates opportunities for them to do something more productive to the project itself. With the rate of construction projects in the Middle East, the answer is not to hire more people but to work smarter with the resources.