A Day in the Life - Construction Teams

Risk Assessment Walk-Through: Construction Industry

A day-in-the-life series based on construction teams

In this edition of our popular “Day in the Life” series, we’re following a construction team as they work on an active site while using R-Link to monitor their exposure to risk from various sources. 

As they carry out their operations, R-Link collects data about individual workers’ exposure to risk from vibration and alerts them when in real time - when their exposure thresholds are reached. Plus, R-Link’s proximity detection technology supports the team to work safely as they operate heavy machinery and equipment alongside pedestrians, and makes it possible for them to easily create and monitor safe zones and exclusion zones.

All of this data - including insight about their workers’ exposure to risk from noise and dust - can be overlaid, so that the team has an unprecedented 360-degree view into their risk environment. With this kind of information at their fingertips, duty holders and Safety Managers can take meaningful action to refine or implement controls, and better protect the health and safety of the team.

Below is an account of this team’s 1 activities throughout a typical working day on a busy construction site, including the role that R-Link plays in helping them to create a safer, more efficient working environment.

A day in the life of a connected construction crew:

A member of the team, Brian, arrives at work. He’s a pedestrian construction worker and won’t be operating any vehicles this morning. He signs out an R-Link watch at the start of his shift. When he signs out the watch, his specific credentials are identified by R-Link, which then monitors his personalised exposure thresholds throughout the day.

0700 → 0930:
Brian’s first task of the day is breaking up concrete using a hand-held breaker. Before he begins the task, he ensures that his Trolex XD1+ personal dust monitor is connected, and he also wears a pair of Smart Alert intelligent earplugs. This is standard procedure for Brian and other workers, who have been using these personal monitors and devices for several months, as part of an enhanced health and safety programme at work.

Since deploying these technologies, the crew has seen a range of benefits: workers are operating more confidently and more independently, and managers are gaining an incredible amount of valuable information. With the insight available to them, they’re able to not only identify potential hotspots, they can also flag concerns about operator competency early, before they cause more serious issues.

0900 → 1100:
As Brian continues his task, another worker, Mark, begins operating an excavator. Mark has signed out his own R-Link watch, with driver credentials, and paired it to the excavator beacon before starting work. By doing this, Mark is able to operate the excavator without triggering any unsafe proximity alerts. He can also control which workers are able to get close to the excavator by giving them a digital ‘thumbs-up,’ which allows them to work near the machine without triggering their own unsafe proximity alerts.

Before beginning his task, Mark works with a Health & Safety advisor to adjust the exclusion zone around the excavator. During the debrief, they decide to increase the exclusion zone from 8 metres (which is what it was previously set to) up to 10 metres. To do this, the advisor uses his R-Link watch, which has special credentials to allow for the adjustment of exclusion zones.

Shortly after getting in the excavator, Mark is alerted when Brian comes in close proximity to the vehicle. Mark decides that it’s safe to allow Brian access to the area near the excavator, so he quickly gives him a digital thumbs-up which allows Brian to continue his work near the excavator, uninterrupted, and without setting off any alerts.

1100 → 1200:
Mark decides to take an early lunch and so he parks the excavator and leaves the vehicle. Automatically, his R-Link credentials switch to ‘pedestrian’ to protect him as he moves away from the vehicle and walks through the construction site.

During lunch, Mark tags into a ‘safe zone’ at a fenced-in portacabin where most workers take their meals and breaks. After eating, Mark forgets to tag out of the safe zone, but the R-Link system automatically recognises that he’s left the area, which means Mark is protected as a pedestrian while he walks through the construction site and back to his vehicle.

Around this time, Brian receives an alert from R-Link that his personal vibration exposure threshold has been reached. Brian didn’t break for lunch, so he’s been working with the breaker for several hours. After receiving the alert, Brian downs tools and goes to the portacabin to have lunch.

Today, the crew is participating in a mandatory course, and so their workday is cut short as they head off site for training. At the end of their shift, Brian and Mark both dock their watches, triggering an automatic data upload.

Later that day, their supervisor logs into his Reactec Analytics dashboard. Shortly after logging on, the supervisor has a wealth of information about both Brian and Mark’s exposure to risk during their shift.

He can easily see that both workers made great progress during their shifts. He also notices that Brian’s vibration threshold was met: he’ll use this information to more efficiently allocate tasks in the future. In particular, he decides that next week, he’ll have two workers breaking up concrete, instead of just one. This, he thinks, should more evenly divide the workload, meaning no one individual worker will be exposed to vibration beyond their exposure threshold.

The supervisor also notices that this task is a hotspot for dust: the data overlaid with the Trolex XD1+ personal dust monitor shows that Brian was exposed to a potentially dangerous level of dust while he was breaking up the concrete. Brian wore a mask, but the supervisor will make a note of this hotspot and further investigate the dust suppression methods applied when workers are using breakers. He will relay any important information to his team during their next toolbox talk.

Fortunately, Brian’s Smart Alert intelligent earplugs also provided great insight during his shift: the supervisor notices that Brian wasn’t getting adequate protection in both ears. The supervisor can see that Brian’s left ear shows a daily exposure above the EAV (Exposure Action Value) but not as high as the ELV (Exposure Limit Value), while the right ear shows exposure below the EAV. This may mean that Brian is removing his left ear plug, or that his left ear plug isn’t the correct size. Armed with this information, the Supervisor makes a plan to speak with Brian to see what’s going on, and how it can be addressed.

The Reactec ecosystem: Connecting teams for a better approach to health & safety

The Reactec ecosystem of workplace wearable technology is a comprehensive solution for construction crews looking to level-up their approach to occupational risk monitoring and management. It’s a proven way to drive better health and safety outcomes for workers, and to enhance efficiency and productivity on worksites.

Powered by industry-defining Analytics, Reactec offers teams unprecedented insight into their workplace risk environment. By centralising insight and breaking down information silos, Reactec makes it possible for teams to gain easy, fast access to vital information that they can use to make better decisions and refine their controls.

Trusted by over 120,000 workers throughout the UK, Reactec offers a purpose-built solution for dynamic, busy teams that’s designed to provide greater visibility into the health and safety of your workforce, without additional workload. Information is collected automatically and insights are generated without the need for any IT dependency or involvement.

1. This team is fictional, and our assessment of their exposure to risk is based on a fictional account of a typical working day. To produce this timeline, we relied on our extensive real-life interactions with construction crews.

Get in touch

To learn more about how R-Link can support an improved health and safety approach for your team that delivers useful insight and actionable intelligence, get in touch with a member of our team

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