Safety has always been the first priority and a core value of the construction industry. Now, the world is facing a new industrial safety revolution marked by the rise of digital technology.
Introducing digital safety technology such as 5G enabled smart infrastructures and Digital Work Supervision Systems (DWSS) to ensure smooth construction processes that minimise site safety risks have thus become major trends for the future.
5G is the fifth generation mobile network that links everyone and everything together, including machines, objects and devices. Now with the help of AI enabled CCTV monitoring systems, site managers can get information for real-time inspections from the front-line and react to site safety at anytime from anywhere. This allows them to take immediate action from wherever they may be to reduce the risk of harm.
There are two types of digital systems, cloud based and camera-based. Both can use AI to automatically detect and alert workers through predefined algorithms, and even sense when workers are entering restricted areas, or are not wearing the necessary protective equipment to enhance their safety.
The same technology has also been used during the COVID-19 pandemic for face mask detection. CCTV can also be implemented with a thermal Camera and temperature screening system to detect Fire and Smoke to eliminate fire risks and provide immediate response to events on the construction site. The current maturity of AI and 5G will support greater utilisation of technology advances in the future and help to accelerate the process of digital transformation in the industry.
The Digital Works Supervision System (DWSS) is a construction management system included in the Technical Circular (Works) No. 3/2020 from the Development Bureau to enhance the standard and the efficiency of work supervision as well as the quality and safety of work.
It digitises inspection processes including RISC management, Site Diaries, Site Safety Records, Site Cleansing and Labour Return Records. This innovative solution connects customers, contractors, and consultants together on the same platform, and serves as a centralised document library which can be accessed through any PC or mobile device.
Eventually it will help to communicate and address safety related issues in real-time to enforce standards across projects. It will also help to comply with strict regulations, and predict dangerous scenarios to ensure that all site tasks comply with health and safety regulations.
Working as safety professionals, we have to equip ourselves with the knowledge of traditional site safety management, as well as empower ourselves with an open mind to adopt new technologies that streamline our daily management work.
On the one hand there is a challenge to introduce new concepts to the profession, but on the other hand, being a safety professional nowadays also contributes to evolving the traditional construction industry into the digital era, and transforming site safety management.
By Ir TSE Wing Fung Victor from the Safety Specialist Committee of the HKIE