Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

Supporting Jobsite Safety with Location Intelligence

The 45th anniversary of the deadliest construction incident in U.S. history was observed last Thursday, in which 51 workers lost their lives within seconds due to the collapse of a 170-foot-tall scaffolding inside a cooling tower.

The construction of 36 other cooling towers had safely utilized the same process and methods. However, the final report identified a multitude of contributing factors that led to the May 1st tragedy, which prompted changes to OSHA regulations.

This serves as stark reminder that tragedies often necessitate regulatory changes.

As we commence this year’s Construction Safety Week, the discussions will revolve around leading and lagging indicators, preventive measures, and the Fatal Four. The theme for this year is “Strong Voices, Safe Choices,” emphasizing that safety is the responsibility of every individual at all times. Speaking up for safety can make a significant difference in ensuring that every worker returns home safely at the end of the day. 

Situational awareness is paramount to a field worker’s safety.

Although new regulations can enhance construction safety, waiting for the next tragedy to occur before implementing safety improvements should be avoided. It is crucial to provide the right information to the appropriate individuals at the right time to establish a secure worksite.

Here are three ways to support construction safety:

1. Provide clear instructions to team members

ArcGIS Dashboards can be configured to display site safety statistics in real-time

2. Have an emergency response plan

3. Report issues immediately

Dangerous conditions can be reported from the field back to the office with ArcGIS Quick Capture or Survey123
Survey123 is a mobile data collection application that can be configured to report safety issues

Although the goal is to have zero incidents, accidents can happen, as anyone who has ever broken a glass knows. It is important to work together to prevent, prepare for, and reduce the severity of accidents. Most importantly, the focus should be on ensuring that everyone returns home safely.

About the authors

Matthew Park is an Account Executive for Esri focused on Construction Solutions.  He both grew up and worked for many years in the construction industry, working on some of LA's largest projects before making the switch to focus on construction technology in 2016.  He is a licensed Part 107 drone pilot and is passionate about making construction safer for everyone.  

Shiori Sasaki is an AEC industry consultant and advisor at Esri Professional Services. Prior to joining Esri, Shiori worked for transportation infrastructure owner-builders, supporting the implementation of GIS at a major maritime port to facilitate capital planning, maintenance dredging, and asset management, and on the design and delivery of subway station rehabilitation projects in New York City. He is a licensed architect in New York and Colorado and holds a Master of Science in Construction Management.

Brett Heist is an AEC Solution Engineer. Prior to working at Esri, he worked in both the Civil and Environmental Engineering sectors. Brett is a licensed Part107 Drone Pilot and currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife and 2 kids. 

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