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New Technology Helps Monitor and Control Construction Equipment Operator Fatigue

Construction equipment operators have one of the toughest, and most dangerous, jobs in the nation. These highly-skilled individuals must be diligently focused on the task at hand to avoid accidents and injury. However, long hours, physically-demanding tasks, and unconventional schedules can lead to fatigue, which increases the rate at which incidents occur. Often, fatigue is not detected until after a problem occurs, that is, until now. A new, wearable device helps monitor operator fatigue, and predicts when an accident is most likely to occur.

The Device

Most people are familiar with the wristwatch-like devices worn by athletes that measure their activity levels. This same technology is behind a wearable monitoring device created by Fatigue Science called the Readiband. It measures the quality and amount of sleep the wearer has gotten and predicts when they will become too fatigued to perform their duties safely. That means operators and managers can see, at a glance, when the highest potential for accidents will occur at the beginning of each shift. Adjustments can then be made to the worker's schedule to ensure the highest level of safety is achieved and maintained on the job site.

The Science

Scientists have long held that the average person requires somewhere between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep per night to function properly. Individuals that consistently sleep for shorter periods of time have a higher propensity for accidents, illnesses and an overall decrease in mental capacity. Conversely, those that maintain a regular sleep schedule are more alert, healthier and have fewer accidents. Actigraphy, the science behind this device, which is the continuous study of movement, allows companies to identify employees with poor sleep habits so their level of fatigue can be managed. It also gives operators valuable input about their alertness level and the risks they face when they are sleep deprived.

The Benefits

Shift-work, overtime hours, and high-pressure environments all have an impact on the ability of a construction equipment operator to perform at his, or her, best. By monitoring sleep rhythms, and providing feedback about the individual's status and potential for fatigue, companies can reduce the number of accidents, increase productivity and, ultimately, increase the company’s bottom line. Workers that use a device, such as the Readiband, are better able to understand and manage their own sleep cycles by identifying times that they are not sleeping properly. Correcting sleep issues also has an impact on the individual's overall health and happiness, which helps them live better.

While seeing into the future may sound like a science fiction concept, with the use of this innovative wearable device, companies can do just that. Therefore, they are better equipped to manage worker's fatigue and mitigate accidents and injuries, thus, creating a safer workplace for all. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about construction equipment safety technology, or anything else related to the construction industry.

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