When discussing technology and risk, the focus is often on the increased exposures a company faces when implementing or utilizing technology. Take for instance the liability that can come with a drone taking photos. Sure, those exposures exist, but the positive uses of today’s technology far outweigh the risks and when employed strategically, technology can play an integral role in your construction company’s risk management program.
There are many technologies that risk managers should consider using as part of both their risk management programs and accident investigation protocols on the worksite. For the purposes of this article, I’d like to focus on five specific technologies:
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles can keep a larger eye on worksites and get to hard to reach places, so construction companies don’t have to send workers into dangerous situations. Drones can also document existing and as-built conditions of sites and inspect hard-to-reach structures, like bridges and high vertical structures, for any inherent risks.
Tower crane cameras solve the problem of poor visibility in bad lighting or weather conditions, as well as minimize injury potential to the operator of the crane. Having a camera on a crane can also enhance productivity by cutting down on time spent trying to view poorly lit or dangerous areas.
Prevention thru Design has seen significant growth over the last decade. It is a new software developed for the construction industry that allows general contractors and architects to utilize advanced modeling software and engineer out safety issues before becoming a legitimate problem once construction has started. This software considers the safety of workers in the design of a project and permits the builders to make design decisions based on the project’s risk to workers.
Auto losses continue to be a growing exposure, especially in construction, where drivers are required to manipulate vehicles in live traffic or maneuver around barricades and fencing to access the construction site. Telematic devices record driver behavior and assist risk managers in identifying at risk driving habits, prior to having a loss. These devices access speed, distances driven, how quickily drivers break, as well as increase driver awareness just by knowing the vehicle is equipped with this type of tracking device..
Finally, social media
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets have become a great way to connect with friends, meet new people, voice opinions, and even market personal talents. As society accepts social media as an outlet to replace traditional methods of communication, an entirely new source of personalized data becomes available and a digital footprint is made. But it’s important not to forget what’s being said on social media can be reviewed, tracked, and investigated. This holds especially true when it comes to accident investigation and workers’ compensation claims.
Investigators perform Internet searches, social media checks, and receive information from co-workers who are connected or friends with the claimant on social media sites. How do investigators then capitalize on this information?
- By creating awareness and developing other avenues to investigate based on hobbies, recent activities, and the category of those sites
- From securing links, photographs, or video footage of the claimant
- By providing opportunities for surveillance
- Through the discovery of potential witnesses
Insurance companies, law firms, surveillance companies, and third-party administrators are all working with organizations to capitalize on these information-rich resources, but it’s not frequently enough.
If lowering costs while minimizing risk is the long-term goal, organizations should highly consider the benefits of implementing one or more of these technologies into their risk management efforts within the next few years. Not only can technology help prevent worksite accidents and reduce risk, but also make construction companies efficient and up-to-date.
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