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How Embedded Telematics Enhances Safety Across the Construction Industry

IoT Solutions

Embedded telematics is an ideal technology for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seeking to bolster safety across the construction industry. With high speed, reliable cellular connections, telematic devices can relay information back to the appropriate safety personnel from almost anywhere in the world. OEMs who embrace embedded telematics will have significant opportunities to shape the future of construction safety.

From the time construction equipment arrives for a project to the very last day a piece of equipment is used, worker safety is at stake. 200,000 construction industry injuries occur yearly in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and OSHA reports that one in ten construction workers are injured each year. According to OSHA and the BLS, falls are the greatest hazard for construction workers. However, heavy equipment also accounts for many injuries.

By becoming vocal proponents and adopters of embedded telematics, OEMs can improve safety in the industry and serve rental companies, general contractors, construction site employees, and the communities they build.

Addressing Construction Safety Challenges with OEM Embedded Telematics

Construction sites are especially perilous for laborers and technicians. Employees and equipment work long hours against tight deadlines and are exposed to the elements. In extreme conditions, almost anything can go wrong during construction projects: toppled equipment, damaged property, dropped loads, concussions, injuries, and even deaths. These outcomes are bad enough on their own, but they also have the added downside of bringing projects to a grinding halt and potentially endangering lives.

Fortunately, embedded telematics can serve to prevent or reduce risks for teams by analyzing and reporting mistakes or malfunctions. Data derived from onboard telematics can tell the story of an individual piece of broken equipment or paint a larger, holistic picture when a crew or fleet is struggling with pervasive problems.

High-level functions of OEM embedded telematics devices include:

  • Fast, accurate, and trackable malfunction alerts
  • Predictive maintenance suggestions
  • User data
  • Security alerts
  • Full fleet tracking
  • Opportunities for collaborative monitoring
  • A digital paper trail of well-organized information for legal documentation or incident response

Monitoring the Safety of Construction Teams

Safe construction culture depends on transparency, fluid access to information, and open communication between decision-makers and employees. Telematic data is a great starting point for needed safety conversations and growth.

Often, workers may feel the demands of a project make it necessary to go against safety requirements or best practices. A scissor lift operator hoping to wrap up a task list at the end of the week might continue working overtime past the legal cap on hours. The worker might interpret their actions as industrious or proactive, but in reality the decision endangers them and their peers. Delaying a task for a day is better than risking the safety of the people working on the project and causing an even longer delay because of a safety incident.

When safety culture is emphasized, worker habits improve, resulting in better outcomes for everyone involved.

Trackable operator behaviors include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Braking habits
  • Speeding
  • Hours-of-service violations
  • Idling habits
  • Erratic and distracted driving
  • Operation of vehicles outside of authorized work hours
  • Turn executions
  • Seatbelt use
  • Compliant or noncompliant equipment usage
  • Equipment tampering
  • Handbrake use
  • Gear-shifting habits in manual transmission vehicles

On an effective cellular network, thousands of pieces of data may be relayed back and forth daily from construction sites to project managers. Connections must be reliable, secure, and robust to ensure an accurate and up-to-date picture of the situation at the worksite.

For instance, remote worksites may have rented equipment several states away from the contractors’ headquarters, meaning that hands-on diagnosis and repairs will need to be conducted by team members on the ground. With onboard telematics continuously relaying extensive data back to headquarters, equipment owners can give actionable direction to worksite operators to solve problems or malfunctions with equipment. If the cellular connection is unstable or fails, teams have to work from incomplete, false, or potentially outdated data.

Addressing Equipment Operator Behaviors with Telematic Data to Prevent Mishaps

The proactive nature of telematics ultimately translates to fewer injuries and mistakes on the construction site. Just as malfunctions can be quickly spotted with telematics, negative behavior can be addressed quickly and early on, and positive behavior can be incentivized.

If data shows that a worker consistently speeds, they may be placed on a 90-day plan to break their bad habit with regular progress reports, training, and one-on-one peer mentoring from model drivers on the team. Likewise, consistent high performance could be recognized and rewarded with comp time opportunities, bonuses, or awards.

Because embedded telematics are cellularly connected, behavioral safety issues can also be addressed immediately—at least in theory. Connectivity and coverage must be stable and strong enough to prevent lag time, dropped data, and outages.

If safety leadership has instant access to their fleet’s performance and notices a sudden change from one of the vehicles, they can assess whether the change is due to user error or vehicle malfunction. A fast, reliable connection decreases the time between the worker’s mistake and the moment they are advised to change their behavior.

Set Your Customers Up for Success with Aeris

Aeris makes it easy to manage telematics connectivity costs, security, and coverage by providing a secure global network, flexible rate plans, and dedicated support. With Aeris, your vehicles can connect to overlapping coverage from 600 carriers in 190 countries—all managed on a single robust platform tailored with the unique needs of OEM telematics users in mind.

Download our IoT Connectivity Buyers Guide for Equipment Telematics to learn how we can help with telematics solutions for maximum control and optimization.