Virtual reality makes construction site safer
The risk of accidents for workers on construction sites is more than twice as high as for employees of other economic sectors. In 2015, over 102,300 work accidents were reported to the German “Berufsgenossenschaft für Bau.” Of these incidents, 86 were fatal. We will point out the background of the most common work accidents on construction sites. Learn more about the usage of virtual reality and augmented reality to support accident prevention.
Accidents on construction sites
Before dealing with the exciting developments of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), we would like to offer you a brief overview of the most common causes of work accidents in the construction sector.
1. Falls from heights
The highest risks for accidents on construction sites are injuries caused by falls from heights. In 80% of the reported accidents employees fell from a height less than two meters – the consequences can be minor injuries as well as long term disabilities.
2. Stumble/ slide/ traffic
Weather conditions and messy surroundings facilitate accidents. Next, to stumbling and sliding, workers repeatedly get injured in construction traffic incidents by construction vehicles.
3. Hand-held machines
Every year, around 27,000 people get injured by hand-held machines at work. Negligence and convenience facilitate this trend as 37% of the fuses on machines are changed to save time and money.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
Construction sites contain danger and a high risk of accidents. Employing VR and AR will reduce the risk of accidents in the long term. Training that once was theoretical can now become far more engaging and effective.
1. Virtual reality as a training tool
Definition: Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment. This technique is already heavily used in areas of training and education (use of flight simulators or operating simulators).
With virtual reality, the coaching of construction workers will be enhanced. VR glasses transfer the user into another reality. Accessories such as special gloves or a remote change the environment depending on the user’s interaction. Headphones ensure that the illusion of the construction site is as real as possible. The immersion in the computer-generated world enables to depict falling objects, a fire outburst, or various weather conditions realistically. Security experts use the information obtained to take work safety measures into account from the outset.
2. On-site with augmented reality
Definition: Augmented reality (AR) is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment. Video game players already use AR to transform a digital game in a real-world environment.
Apps for smartphone and tablet as well as AR-glasses will pave the way for the implementation of AR in the construction sector. AR enables construction planner to evaluate what’s concealed behind the already plastered wall, floor or ceiling. Construction workers receive an immediate warning if they are approaching a dangerous area on the site.
The smart helmet of the company DAQRI provides information about construction plans and safety risks on location. 72% of all accidents can be traced back to a moment of inattention – the helmet brings back the attention to the safety hazard and will prevent the construction worker from accidents.
VR and AR reached the construction industry. With the introduction of Building Information Modeling, each building is digitally planned and created. The necessary data to create a virtual construction site does already exist. The application of VR and AR will facilitate the work on construction sites and support accident prevention.