10 safety innovations from the past decade

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that fatal injuries have been reduced to 12 per day in comparison to the 38 per day we saw 43 years ago when OSHA was first created. Below are 10 safety innovations from the past decade that are contributing to this decline. 

01.  Building Information Modeling (BIM) has made us better designers, engineers and builders, and it has also made us safer. The visualization of both 3D and 4D models allow project teams to pre-plan for safety conditions and potential hazards earlier in the process. 4D scheduling

02.  Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), provide safer inspections in highly-elevated areas, where workers would typically use a crane man-basket or scaffolding to reach. Aerial photography captured with the drones offers different vantage points in real-time, which helps address safety concerns that would have gone un-noticed otherwise.

03.  Smart Phone Safety Apps have made safety resources accessible in the field. From apps that identify chemical safety, to decibel and heat stress readers and ladder angle, workers have more information at their fingertips. Emergency preparedness and alert apps, such as Zinc, promote better communication and accountability at every level of the organization.

04.  Video Conferencing allows safety professionals to assess concerns remotely, be available when needed and respond faster to urgent situations.

05.  On-line training has extended the reach of safety training across the industry. Particularly with OSHA’s on-line OSHA 10 & 30-hour courses, certifications are more convenient than ever.

06.  Prefabrication improves both quality and safety conditions on site. Off-site prefabrication reduces the amount of trades working around each other, construction traffic and laydown area and debris on the jobsite. All these benefits also make it safer for the public that travel near and throughout the construction area.

07.  QuickFrames is quickly replacing the typical method of installing roof frames. Since ironwork injuries are one of the highest injury rates in construction, Quickframes set out to create a pre-engineered roof opening frame that only requires a simple wrench to install. 

Source: Quickframes.us

08.  QR codes are used to label safety hazards on site. A quick scan of the QR code will tell workers what the safety hazard is and what they should look out for while working in that area.

09.  Back-up cameras are now being installed on heavy construction equipment. This improves visibility for operators and increases safety for everyone working on-site.

10.  Wearable smart sensors, though not quite to our jobsites yet, will enhance safety initiatives, blending safety with technologies that are greatly increasing efficiency on jobsites. From smart helmets, to safety vests with built-in GPS technology, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology with proximity sensors and smart glasses – these products are sure to take the safety industry by storm.

One day, we hope to see the number of incidents at zero, and until then, we will continue to try new ideas that make us safer.


Mark Sheehan
Safety Engineer

With over 20 years in the industry, Mark’s experience includes both sides of the contract - owner and contractor – and a range of project types and sizes. Notable regional clients include DOE, Eli-Lilly, IU Health, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Franklin County Hilton Columbus Downtown, Convention Center & Parking Garage, OSU Medical Center, and Genesis Healthcare System. His workplace experience totals more than $8.5 billion in project value and includes nuclear decontamination/demolition/ remediation and ground-up construction of airports, hotels, hospitals, labs and office buildings.

Mark holds a degree in Occupational Health & Safety, CHSP accreditation and is an OSHA 500 Authorized Trainer. In his spare time, Mark likes to golf, fish and does his best to prevent his kids from getting injured.

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