Using sensors to detect injury risks

Undertaking labour-intensive work without proper health and safety precautions poses a grave risk to the worker. Particularly in construction, where workers handle heavy objects and do repetitive tasks, employees could develop musculoskeletal problems. In this case, the project involved laying Pavement Quality Concrete (PQC), a heavy-duty surface for roads and runways.

The examples below show how one site addressed the health risks of this work:

  • Operatives were fitted with eight sensors on their back, shoulders and arms, which were monitored during their shift.
  • During the shift the workers undertook 22 tasks – seven machine laying tasks and 15 hand lay tasks.
  • The sensors monitored their muscle and bone movements to identify areas of strain which posed a health risk.
  • The detailed results were used to devise a number of recommendations for workers conducting PQC works – these included job task rotation, reducing repetition, improving work position, redesigning tools, and reducing the amount of force.

This innovative use of technology has allowed the site to measure the physical impact of PQC work on operatives. Prevention is better than cure, and implementing the sensors’ findings will, hopefully, reduce the risk of injury as a result of construction work.

Footer Reference

Monitor report. Ferrovial Agroman. London. December 2016.


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