While the COVID-19 pandemic continues through its third year, things have largely returned to normal for most Americans. Mask requirements – once a ubiquitous sign of pandemic life – have mostly disappeared as case numbers have decreased. Personal protective equipment of other sorts, however, isn’t going anywhere. Though you may no longer check for a mask before leaving the house, PPE remains vitally important for many businesses. With or without a pandemic underway, organizations in the construction, healthcare, and restaurant industries require employees to comply with PPE regulations. This promotes a safer workplace, helps ensure consumer confidence, and mitigates liability.
Vision AI for PPE Detection and Workplace Optimization
In the workplace, PPE comes in a number of forms and serves a number of functions. In general, this equipment serves to promote a safer and more efficient work environment.
- Hard hats, gloves, goggles, and protective footwear keep employees safe from injury in warehouses and on worksites.
- Ear coverings help protect the hearing of employees in especially loud workplaces like factories and construction sites.
- Specially marked uniforms (such as color-coded vests or badges) help employees quickly identify themselves in crowded workplaces like construction sites and hospitals.
- Respiratory protection keeps employees’ airways and lungs safe from irritating and potentially hazardous airborne particles.
- Hairnets and gloves ensure that restaurants adhere to hygiene regulations and that customers are kept safe.
Failing to maintain appropriate standards for both PPE and identifying equipment (like badges) leaves organizations vulnerable to financial, personnel, and reputational risk. Unfortunately, attempting to enforce regulations without the help of technology is often a challenge.
PPE Detection in Construction
Construction perennially ranks among the most dangerous industries for American workers. Despite strict safety standards, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports an average of 15 deaths per day across the industry. Death often results in part from safety violations like inappropriate use of machinery and inadequate or absent PPE. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that appropriate use of PPE reduces the occurrence and severity of injuries to the face, head, eyes, and feet.
Non-compliance with PPE regulations presents a serious concern for construction organizations of all sizes. A decade ago, a Kimberly-Clark survey found that a vast majority of workers (89%) had at least observed PPE non-compliance. The stats may be old, but concerns remain evergreen.
While education programs can help spread awareness and promote compliance, they don’t offer the certainty that computer vision-based monitoring can. What’s more, awareness campaigns don’t do anything to address factors like overcrowding and uncomfortable temperatures that may lead to non-compliance. By offering insights into environmental conditions, worker flow and space utilization, Plainsight can not only help track PPE compliance, but also establish a workplace that’s as safe and efficient as possible.
Additional use cases for construction industry businesses include:
- Worker Productivity Optimization: Monitor several job sites at once to ensure compliance, efficiency, and productivity.
- Process Monitoring: Keep a close eye on intricate processes like brickwork, flooring, concrete pouring, and more.
- Worker Count and Tracking: Automate the tracking and monitoring of large construction sites to prioritize tasks, optimize workflow, and reduce risks.
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