5 Practical applications for Computer Vision AI in construction

We look at the top 5 ways in which Computer Vision AI can improve workplace safety for building and construction companies:
  1. Improve H&S

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the majority of construction sites had to be locked down (the Federation of Master Builders reported that 96% of its members had to stop some or all of their work, whilst larger contractors were left in limbo by lack of clarity from the Government on whether they could continue working; many sites took the decision to close whilst others struggled to maintain the required 2m social distancing). The result was significant delays to the schedule. Even when lockdown eased, construction firms struggled to return to work due to the continued difficulties of monitoring social distancing and mask wearing, which also generated worker concerns about safety. The lack of management insight into where workplace safety violations were occurring exacerbated difficulties in meeting the schedule.

CV AI tackles these issues by automatically monitoring social distancing and face mask usage on site. It does it via CCTV cameras, which is usually deployed on site, anyway. Take a recent customer we supplied with WorkSafe Analytics; who recorded a multi-fold improvement in monitoring (spot checks vs computer vision) and witnessed more than 80% reduction in social distancing violations and up to 90% reduction in mask noncompliance within the first 6 weeks. They have now rolled out the technology to other areas of the business.

Being prepared for the next lockdown through investing in CV AI can protect your business from delays. And, according to Christopher Chadwick, Technical Officer for Influenza Preparedness and Response at the World Health Organization (WHO) it is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’, the next flu pandemic will hit.

Beyond the pandemic, Computer Vision AI is able to carry out real-time monitoring and detecting of any non-compliance of PPE, such as safety helmet usage, gloves, goggles, footwear, or safety harnesses being worn when working at height. Immediate, configurable notifications and email alerts on any type of safety violation on site are built into system such as our WorkSafe Analytics, allowing prompt actions on ensuring the well-being of the workforce.

  1. Reducing compliance cost and risks

Making sure that your business is compliant with relevant H&S legislation through CV AI saves a significant amount of time and resource. That’s because our WorkSafe Analytics solution automates many repetitive tasks usually carried out by people, without the need to walk the site and manually record observations on a spreadsheet. CV AI then analyses these vast amounts of data to identify anomalies resulting in comprehensive analytics and trends for management,  – all done automatically.

WorkSafe Analytics can also automatically monitor of skills cards, which can often be a burden for site management teams with multiple sub-contractors and temporary labour.

  1. Reduce theft and vandalism

The ability of CV AI to ‘see’ objects more comprehensively than humans means that it can be an effective way to monitor moveable assets on site such as equipment, power tools and lead that isn’t locked in a secure area. Any unauthorised movements can trigger an alarm, allowing verification by site security personnel. That means CV AI can support manned guarding operations, providing a highly effective 24/7 monitoring of critical aspects on site.

CV AI can pinpoint exactly where objects or assets are on site and is capable of tracking the status of many thousands of objects several times a week.  It can also be configured to identify movement on site during out of hours times. Again, this can be a valuable support to guarding. In addition, CV AI can identify license plates, preventing unauthorised vehicle access.

  1. Better stock management to free up working capital

Computer vision AI can be used in stock counting, keeping an accurate record of products available on site.  The process could be carried out autonomously using CCTV. When items such as pallets of bricks, blocks etc are depleted on site below a pre-defined inventory level, an email alert can be sent to procurement for replenish. The fact that CV AI recognised objects wherever they are via multiple CCTV inputs avoids having to make a manual count.

WorkSafe Analytics has just been deployed by a company that uses it to carry out product count when loading for dispatch. It provides them with an automated, highly accurate method of tracking products to customers that can be reconciled against customer PODs (proof of delivery). That means building product manufacturers can also use it to track deliveries to site.

  1. Heatmap of worker density

Large construction sites can employ thousands of workers and moving these people to and from their workplace can result in significant time and expense. CV AI can create people density heatmaps, identifying where bottle necks are occurring for management to introduce better routes, or optimise storage of materials.

CV AI is already starting to change the face of construction. Until now, most of the applications discussed in this blog relied on visual observation, an approach that was prone to human error, inconsistencies, distraction and lack of dedicated staff. Computer Vision AI platforms such as WorkSafe Analytics overcomes this because they ‘see, decide, act’ 24/7 and are taught to recognise hazards, non-compliance, objects and anomalies from many single images.

Find out more about WorkSafe Analytics

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