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AI improving safety, mitigating jobsite risks
May 22, 2020
Construction projects range widely in size, but they all have a major common problem: managing an increasing amount of data from jobsites and deriving insights to predict the future.
The amount of digital information on construction sites around the world is increasing. The challenge is, how can risk professionals and insurers use that data to improve safety, reduce risks and enhance productivity at the project, company and industry level?
Enter artificial intelligence and related technologies to identify and analyze indicators of risk. Smartvid.io is a technology collaborator in AXA XL’s digital ecosystem for construction risk management. The ecosystem is an interconnected set of services and products that lets AXA XL and our customers become partners and gain insights about their risks together. Smartvid.io enables construction companies and AXA XL risk engineers to focus on safety and loss control improvement through predictive analytics.
Vinnie is the nickname of Smartvid.io’s AI engine. The name, which officially stands for “Very Intelligent Neural Network for Insight and Evaluation,” came from a construction superintendent who had a knack for remembering details about which photos and videos had been taken on his project. Good as human memory may be – and Vinnie the superintendent was said to “remember where everything was” – AI and digital databases can go beyond organization and searchability to enable the identification of key risk factors in the images themselves.
Smartvid.io’s Vinnie system can analyze different data sets to offer insights on more than 50 risk indicators in construction, such as workers not wearing personal protective equipment, those standing above ground, water on the jobsite and, more recently, social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While few projects have real-time cameras set up to record jobsite activity, most do have photos showing progress during the various construction stages. Smartvid.io is able to use a statistical approach to combine real-time and historical data to deliver predictive analytics that show trends and comparisons.
Risks on jobsites
Construction remains one of the riskiest industries for worker fatalities and injuries, so there is ample room for improving safety and mitigating risk. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, calendar year 2018 had 1,008 deaths in construction, more than 21% of all deaths in private industry. Almost 59% of construction fatalities were attributable to four types of incidents:
- Falls. The single largest cause of construction deaths, falls accounted for 33.5% of fatal accidents on jobsites.
- Struck by object. More than 11% of fatal incidents involved workers getting struck by an object onsite.
- Electrocutions. About 8.5% of deaths were due to fatal shocks.
- Caught in or between equipment or other objects. Workers compressed, struck, caught or crushed in between site equipment or other material accounted for 5.5% of construction fatalities.
Notably, of the 10 most frequent construction industry OSHA violations in fiscal year 2018, four related to fall protection, scaffolding and ladders. Other frequent violations included: control of hazardous energy, such as lockouts and tagouts; and machinery and machine guarding; and eye and face protection.
With the proper tools, analyzing images of jobsites in real-time or by photographs can quickly show where workers may be violating safety standards. For example, not wearing a hard hat on a jobsite, failing to wear high-visibility safety vests or harnesses, or lacking eye protection can all increase the likelihood of injury, illness or death.
Integrating risk management
Technologies, processes, people and cultures all need to work together to reduce incidents on construction sites. Decades ago, contractors did not have all the resources they have today. Now there is much more and better data about site activities, as well as third-party auditors that can monitor compliance with applicable regulations and standards.
Technologies such as Smartvid.io’s Vinnie enables construction companies to benchmark against their peers as well as their own performance over time. All reputable construction firms view safety as a fundamental part of their business but seeing how each stacks up can sharpen their focus on safety and risk management. Not surprisingly, accidents have a negative effect on productivity. Safer companies not only have a lower cost of risk but also gain the benefits of being more productive.
AXA XL is proud to work with innovative technology collaborators to build stronger partnerships with our customers, empower risk managers to reduce risk and improve their businesses. For more information, please visit www.axaxl.com.
Josh Kanner is founder and chief executive officer of Smartvid.io, Inc. Prior to launching Smartvid.io, he co-founded Vela Systems, which pioneered the use of mobile technology in the architecture, engineering and construction sector before Autodesk acquired and rebranded it as BIM360 Field.
Justin Gress is Director of Strategic Operations, North America Insurance, for AXA XL. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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- Justin Gress and Josh Kanner