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Why Drones are Essential for Improving Workplace Safety?

Drones are increasingly popular in industries such as construction, land development, utilities, and disaster response.


They can be equipped with various advanced technologies such as 3D cameras, thermal imaging cameras, X-ray technology, LiDAR, and 4K cameras, as well as sensors and transducers for measuring different types of testing. As a result, drones are proving to be extremely useful in improving workplace safety in these industries.





Eliminating Dangerous Practices & Reducing Risks


With the ongoing advancement of drones and the discovery of new uses, there is a likelihood that they could mitigate the dangers typically faced by workers. In certain industries, drones can completely eradicate dangerous working conditions, which will essentially eradicate any hazards posed to the workers.

Key Industries Where Drones Improve Worker Safety

As drone technology advances, more industries are discovering ways to utilize them for improving worker safety. Certain industries such as construction, railroads, utilities, and search and rescue have been quicker to adopt drones due to the high level of risk involved for human workers.


The areas most identified where drones can be utilised are:

  • Falls from heights – ladders, rooftops, structures

  • Managing normal daily Operations & Maintenance (O&M)

  • Post-disaster response

  • Project monitoring

  • On-site inspections

  • Survey power lines

  • Managing large structure maintenance

  • Data collection

  • Communication

  • Underwater inspections – using underwater drones

  • Perimeter security

  • Access difficult-to-reach or hazardous areas

  • Monitor worker safety in real-time

  • Observing traffic patterns

  • Observing public spaces


Construction


The construction industry poses a significant risk of harm to workers, with a relatively high number of reported incidents resulting in injury or death. In the fiscal year 2022, Safe Work Australia recorded 169 fatalities in the workplace, with "falls from heights" being among the most common causes.


However, the use of drones has had a positive impact on worker safety, with the potential to reduce the risk of injury in safety-sensitive industries. According to the Serious Claims Statistics survey conducted by Safe Work Australia in 2020-21, 23% of workers in safety-sensitive industries reported exposure to dangerous work environments, where drones could be used to minimise risk.


As the construction industry has a high level of risk, investing in drones can be particularly beneficial in reducing risks and ensuring the safety of workers.


Utilities: Photovoltaics, Wind, and Power Lines


Due to the high levels of energy produced by utility companies and the risks involved with handling this energy, safety is a top priority for these companies. Drones are being increasingly utilized in the inspection of oil and gas, power lines, solar farms, wind turbines, and hydropower plants to address safety concerns.


For example, oil and gas companies are now using drones to inspect chimneys, tanks, refineries, and offshore oil rigs, including small drones for inspecting tight spaces inside chimney stacks. Drones can also be equipped with gas detectors to detect methane leaks and other hazardous materials.


Inspecting power lines is traditionally a difficult and hazardous task, often requiring technicians to dangle beneath helicopters and climb poles using ropes. However, drones have significantly reduced work time and labour costs while increasing worker safety. Drones allow for more frequent and accurate inspections, eliminating the need for technicians to put themselves at risk.

In the utility industry, drones are beneficial for any area that requires technicians to work at heights. The use of drones in photovoltaics and wind turbine inspections has significantly reduced the risk to technicians. Wind turbine inspections are particularly challenging, often taking place at heights of 800 feet or more, and many turbines are offshore where conditions can be extremely dangerous.


Emergency, Disaster, Search and Rescue Response


Drones have the potential to be used for emergency response in the workplace, enabling quick and safe assessment of accidents or injuries. In such situations, a drone can be deployed to gather crucial information about the incident, such as the location, number of individuals involved, and severity of injuries, and transmit it to first responders. This allows for a rapid and safe assessment of the situation. Drones are now being used in a variety of hazardous scenarios that first responders can’t safely access, including locating missing individuals, delivering medical aid such as defibrillators and supplies, and assisting with the rescue of people in perilous situations.




The Future of Job Site Safety


Drone technology is expected to play a growing role in protecting workers from harm, leading to a reduction in workplace injuries and fatalities. Advances in drone technology will allow for real-time monitoring of workplaces using sensors and cameras, enabling safety managers to intervene quickly if a worker is in danger, especially in hazardous environments like construction sites and mines.


Drones are set to become more commonplace on job sites as their use enhances worker safety, improves job site efficiency, and lowers costs for contractors. The Sky Legends Team can help businesses integrate drone solutions specific to their projects, with a team of licensed professionals ready to provide consultations and document projects. Get started now!

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