Global construction is expected to grow 70% by 2025, according to Global Construction Perspectives, www.globalconstruction2025.com, London, England, and Oxford Economics, www.oxfordeconomics.com, Oxford, England. With this growth comes a need to focus on jobsite safety and efficiency. The good news? Safety change is now sweeping the construction industry.

According to a survey by the Human Condition Institute, www.humanconditionglobal.com, Brooklyn, N.Y., conducted in 2013, both workers and managers responded favorably to taking active roles in wearing technology that would promote jobsite safety.

Human Condition looked at the ecosystem of modern jobsites and applied biometric and location-based sensor technology to the rethinking of safety clothing for construction workers. The clothing items up first? A safety vest and hardhat. At the core of this technology is low-cost wearable computers, worn seamlessly and powered by the motion of the worker. With Intel’s, www.intel.com, Santa Clara, Calif., announcement of Edison, an SD-card-sized computer that integrates a miniature computer with wireless radios, these products can be easily brought to market.

The benefits delivered by wearable technology on a jobsite including safety, management, and cost savings, will influence construction jobsite culture globally. The “enhanced” reflector vest, for example, has GPS and location capabilities, airbag fall protection system, and vital stat monitor. The hardhat detects biometric signals coupled with force detection to report an impact or a fall. It can also report when it is not being worn in a specified area of a jobsite. Additionally, an integrated LED work light and safety beacon has been implemented to help with visual alerting of a hazard and enable visual identification of a worker who may be in a compromised location. The smart safety clothing connects to a cloud-based processing and a mobile dashboard interface to indicate: vitals, body temperature, repetitive motion (which can possibly lead to injuries), and location. The sensor-embedded outerwear provides realtime data.

The wearable construction clothing can be integrated with BIM (building information modeling) software to provide a five-dimensional view of a construction project. Time, space, climate, materials, and workers are all able to be tracked and used for predictions and modeling. How does this improve safety? This streaming data on site can increase employee safety by analyzing information such as: hoist use, task-orientated location monitoring, proximity to hazards/heavy machinery on the move, and specific body functions to predict injuries, site specific dangers, and climate impact on the workers and jobsite.