Construction Safety: How Machine Learning Improves Glove Compliance

March 22, 2018 Josh Kanner

Hand injuries cause 110,000 construction workers to miss work each year, and 1,000,000 of them to head to the ER, at a cost to employers of more than $10,000 per incident on average.

Astonishingly, almost all of these injuries would be completely preventable with better glove compliance. 70% of hand injuries are sustained by workers not wearing gloves, and 30% by workers with poorly fitting or inappropriate gloves.

That’s why more and more construction companies are focusing their attention on glove compliance this year, and why technology companies like Smartvid.io are giving them more tools to do it, using powerful machine learning to increase construction safety.

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What Causes Hand Injuries

The job site presents plenty of opportunities for hand injuries, from a slip of a hammer to a cut from a power tool. In almost all cases, these injuries could have been prevented by proper glove compliance. In many cases, workers are not wearing gloves for one of two reasons:

  • They don’t have them
  • They feel they constrict their ability to do their job

In other cases, they’re wearing the wrong gloves, either because they don’t have the right ones or because they don’t understand the importance of it.

Employers can improve compliance by providing their workers with access to the right gloves at all times, in the right size, for the specific job and the worker’s specific hands. Cotton, fabric, coated fabric, leather, kevlar, and specialty gloves all serve different purposes. It’s important that you and your workers understand which gloves are right for which job. And it’s critical that you make sure your workers have gloves that fit the size of their hands.

When equipped with appropriate gloves in the correct size, worker glove compliance will naturally increase, but there’s more you can do.

 

Challenges to Glove Compliance

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Even with the right gloves in the right size, some workers will resist compliance. It can be challenging for employers to enforce glove compliance due to the size and complexity of job sites. It’s impossible to stand over every worker every day to check that they have the right gloves and are using them, and easy for workers to discard unwieldy gloves partway through a job without anyone noticing.

 

Better Solutions for Greater Compliance

In addition to providing the right gloves in the right sizes to all workers on a job site, employers can do a better job of ensuring glove compliance in three key ways.

 

1: Worker Education

Until they experience a hand injury themselves, few construction workers understand the importance of this simple safety measure. Even fewer understand the importance of the right gloves for the job, or the factors involved in choosing the right gloves. Educate your workers in the statistics related to hand injuries so that they understand the risk and its impact on their lives, and then ensure they understand which gloves to use for which jobs. Empower them to communicate with their teams when their gloves don’t fit properly or they haven’t been given access to the right gloves.

 

2: Site Photo Monitoring

Today’s construction sites produce mountains of visual data on a daily basis, in the form of photos and videos. It’s now possible, with machine learning, to leverage that data to improve glove compliance.

Smartvid.io automatically scans all of your jobsite photos and videos, to identify workers who are missing appropriate work gloves. This information can be pushed back out to supervisors who can reinforce compliance directly with their teams. It also provides valuable data for measuring glove compliance improvement.

 

3: Integration With Existing Workflows

Smartvid.io integrates directly with BIM 360 to analyze all of the visual data your projects are already gathering every day, requiring no additional work, and requiring no new workflows.

Setup requires less than 90 seconds, and the result is a powerful, seamless monitoring application that substantially improves glove compliance with minimal effort.

“Our integration with Smartvid.io takes all of the existing visual info from a job site, and further enhances workflows, by decreasing review times,” says Josh Cheney, Industry Manager - Construction Technology at Autodesk. “Then it leverages AI to keep project stakeholders in the know.”

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The Role of AI in Glove Compliance

Smartvid.io’s technology uses machine learning, aka Artificial Intelligence (AI), to continually improve its ability to identify and tag glove compliance issues.

 

“On one recent project, our AI analyzed close to 30,000 images,” says Josh Kanner, founder and CEO of Smartvid.io. “It found roughly 17,000 people and 1,000 instances of PPE noncompliance like missing hard hats, gloves, and more. This information was used by the existing safety and risk management team to talk with their teams. This was a great example of how we’re not trying to replace people with machines, but rather augment safety managers’ effectiveness by extending their reach with automation.”

Worker safety is a top priority for most construction companies. Reducing injuries improves both your profits and the lives of your workers. We’re thrilled to be enabling new tools for protecting your people.

 


 

Ready to see how machine learning can increase construction safety on your site?

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