Connected Helmet, the outcome of the work of experts and engineers from Cybercom, Intel, and Skanska, has revolutionised the construction industry. For years, a construction site is considered to be one of the most dangerous workplaces in the world. Construction companies have been actively looking for solutions that will change this situation. Dynamic and quickly developing modern technologies, especially the solutions from the area of the Internet of Things, can be helpful.
Connected Helmet is a solution from the field of the Internet of Things, which will minimize the risk of accidents at the construction site.
The Service Design method helps to create innovative and creative solutions to enhance comfort and working conditions.
Connected Helmet supports the eighth goal of sustainable development: decent work and economic growth. It makes the working environment of construction workers safer.
The numbers motivate to action
The data collected by the CSO indicates that 58 people died and 100 suffered heavy injuries as a result of accidents at work in the construction industry in 2017 in Poland.
The most common accidents that occur at the construction site:
- stumbling, falling at the same level (approx. 15%)
- a falling object, improper use of tools (13%),
- fall from height (11%),
- being buried, pulled down into the excavation (3%).
The accidents related to the careless behaviour of workers constitute 70% of cases and the ones resulting from negligence in the scope of the general organisation of work at the construction site or organisation of workstations – approx. 17%.
The problem does not refer only to Poland, but it has a global dimension. Eurostat confirms that construction work carries a huge risk also in other European countries.
The numbers are worrying. This is why the issue of ensuring safety at construction sites has become one of the most important challenges that construction companies have to face. Skanska, a leader in the construction industry, has decided to prevent the accidents actively. Specialists from the Innovation Department focused on the modern technology – they used the support of IT experts in the field of the Internet of Things.
Service Design – human-centred design
Together with Intel, we offered our client the Service Design workshop. We had an interdisciplinary meeting of experts from various areas – business, technology, health and safety, innovation and construction managers, the goal of which was to develop a coherent vision to solve the problem.
Service Design is a workshop combining the knowledge of different experts, which usually lasts one day or more, depending on the complexity of the problem. Through discussion and a 360-degree view, it is possible to precisely determine the perspective of the project recipients, eliminate problem areas and seek innovation. It is important to develop the most effective solution for your organisation as well as ensure a positive experience for its customers or, in this case, the workers.
This method assumes that the end user is at the centre (so-called human centred design).
How did it look in practice?
– We sat together, and we started to wonder how to improve safety at the construction site. We had many ideas; however, whether the worker is wearing the helmet and whether he has been just hit by a falling object are the basic Health and Safety issues in this industry – Jacek Fischbach, Head of Business Unit in Cybercom Poland.
Through the analysis of the current situation, brainstorming and due to the strong need to solve this problem we gradually came up with a solution and eventually defined it. Our goal was to design a helmet which would be more than protective headwear. The helmet to be designed was supposed to monitor the vital functions of construction workers and save their life in case of an accident.
This way, a prototype was prepared, which was introduced after the testing phase as a real, well-functioning product. The helmet was designed using the agile way of working and start-up sprints. The first version of the solution was delivered to the client shortly after the end of the Service Design workshop.
A sensor that saves lives
Connected Helmet has a specially installed sensor, which allows for measuring and monitoring many parameters. This small microcontroller is integrated with GPS, an accelerometer, a temperature sensor and a wireless connection module, creating a supervisory system accessible for construction site management. It makes it possible to check the current situation at the construction site and react immediately, if a life is threatened.
The sensors can detect sudden change in the position of a worker. They also check if the worker is at an allowed height as well as monitor the temperature under the helmet.
It is possible to record the moment of putting the helmet on and taking it off as well as to switch on the alarm in the case of strong impact or a fall. This smart tool is integrated with a dedicated computer or a tablet, allows the site management to verify the worker’s eligibility to execute the current work and use the machines and tools. It also verifies the validity of medical certificate and controls working time at the construction site.
The helmet is supported by a mobile application. All data is instantly sent to the people managing safety at the construction site. A simple router (based on Intel NUC technology) connects the helmets via LoRa wireless network with a cloud application.
Safe construction sites
Undoubtedly, the safety of workers and minimizing accidents at the construction site are the paramount benefits of the Connected Helmet.
The Connected Helmet is the beginning of a revolution in the construction industry. It allows for:
- better personnel management,
- monitoring of health and safety of workers in real time,
- better control of workers and equipment used,
- tracking the location of workers,
- electronic recording of working time,
- online reporting.
The Internet of Things, and its effect in a form of the Connected Helmet, is also the answer to the question of how to raise the competitiveness of the company and how to help the construction industry to rise to a whole new level of modernity.