Drones and Gamification to Help Improve Construction Site Safety

Balfour Beatty's forward thinking Chief Information Officer, Danny Reeves, recently revealed that the firm is looking into the use of drones, typically associated with military surveillance, on high-risk sites such as motorways to improve safety.

According to the UK's Highways Agency, in 2010, there were four fatal incidents involving road and construction workers. Instead of having people working in the central reservation of a motorway, Danny suggests deploying a drone to scan a whole central reservation, reducing the risk to road workers.

He also mentions the possibility of using "body area networks" on work-sites, which includes wearable tech devices, to measure an individual's heart rate, stress levels, and hydration to predict when they might become less effective, and put themselves or others at risk.

Reeves comments:

We have people working up pylons and we need to know those guys are able to think straight and that they're not overly stressed... The environments we have people working in can be quite harsh so we have to monitor them and monitor the individual to be able to predict when they may become less effective or even potentially dangerous to themselves and others.

Balfour's is also exploring applying game design or "gamification" to make safety and audit compliance more engaging, for instance more safety checks, giving them points for identifying and mitigating risks.

Reeves is keen to get a better understanding of how technologies can help the firm, and has said he will be visiting Fujitsu in Japan to explore some of these "pie in the sky" ideas.

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