A “Smart Hat” to Improve Safety at Construction Sites

Source: Dmitry Kalinovsky/123RF

According to OSHA, as of 2019, “one in five worker deaths in the US last year was in construction.”

OSHA goes on to state that, “[the] “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6%) the construction worker deaths:

  • Falls (accountable for 33.5% of construction worker deaths);
  • Struck-by object (accountable for 11.1% of construction worker deaths);
  • Electrocutions (accountable for 8.5% of construction worker deaths); and
  • Caught in/between (accountable for 5.5% of construction worker deaths)

WakeCap has developed a smart hard-hat monitoring device that tracks the proximity of construction workers to each other with the goal of improving efficiency and safety.

The company got its start solving a specific safety concern: detecting nodding behavior for drivers who are falling asleep—hence its name—but soon pivoted to technology for construction sites and similar applications.

According to Redshift, when the COVID-19 pandemic presented a global public-health crisis and brought the economy to a halt, these simple data points turned out to be heroes for contact tracing on construction sites, adding a layer of safety for workers as the virus lingers.

Further afield, in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reports that SmarTone, the telecom arm of SHKP, has designed a new system called SmartWorks aimed at enhancing construction workers’ safety, health, and operational efficiency.

The technology includes facial recognition for access control and “smart helmets” that can trigger an alert if workers wear them improperly, track their locations and vital signs. They can also call for help using the built-in SOS button in case of mishaps.

In January, Sun Hung Kai Properties deployed the technology for the first time at its commercial development in Kwun Tong. About 250 smart helmets are in use now, and by the end of 2020, the site will have some 1,000 workers all using the helmets.

According to reports, there have been no accidents at the site since the system came into use.