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Koweit : how a drone is being used to monitor Health & Safety at the construction site

Smart buildings
17/06/2015

Innovation Week 2015 presents Az-Zour, a gas-fired combined cycle Power and Water desalination plant currently under construction, located approximately 100km south of Kuwait City. What is HSE Monitoring on construction sites with drones? By Brian Jones, Regional HSE Manager (Construction), responsible for coordinating HSE on the construction projects within South Asia, Middle East & Africa.

What is HSE Monitoring on construction sites with drones? 

Health, Safety and Environment. Power Station construction projects are often large sites with complex structures, access for HSE inspections is not always easy and/or available. The HSE inspections are required to ensure that all work is in full compliance with HSE controls e.g. wearing safety harnesses, attaching to safety lines and where required that there is suitable edge protection. Whilst members of the HSE teams perform regular inspections of the work being carried out, the observations made can only be very localised, hence there may be many other activities taking place at different locations or levels, that cannot be seen. This is where the drone makes a big difference. You can get a “birds eye” view of most if not all locations, to observe the activities taking place. The images that are captured by the camera fitted to the drone are of such good quality they can be used to provide evidence of violations and be retained for future reference. The drone gives you the ability to carry out live monitoring of activities or developing situations such as emergency events, for example a fire, where it is too dangerous for people to enter the area. The drone can be used and a decision made on, which is the best way to address observation and/or event such a mobilising HSE staff to correct any violations or a fire team to approach a fire from a specific direction or route. There are many possibilities for using a drone for HSE as suggested already where access is limited or difficult, it can also be used in environments where there are additional risks for people such as poor air quality, environmental monitoring and where there is a time and resource issue – the drone can cover much more area in a fraction of the time a person will take.

What is particularly at stake in Health & Safety monitoring by drones on giant construction sites? 

Whilst most people believe that they are working safely, very often they are not. The potential to be seriously injured or worse is greatly increased when working at height. The drone can be flown over structures and buildings to observe if all safety systems are in place and being complied with. The drone has a dual role, the first being the ability to have an overview of work taking place in a very short period and much quicker than a person having to access all levels to check on compliance. The second role is as a deterrent, similar to a speed camera, once people are aware that they are or can be monitored they are more likely to comply with the control measures that need to be implemented.

Source: Hugo Whitemore