Safety in Construction: Wearables

Safety in Construction

Construction is the second most dangerous industry in the UK to work in.
Despite this, the construction industry is an early adopter and innovator of new safety practices and this has meant that the sector has much improved over the past few decades.

The difficulty of the nature of the industry that touches every person in one way or another and is undertaken by a mostly contractual and self-employed workforce, has not stopped the industry from leading the way on health and safety measures. I believe that many industries can learn from the construction industry’s invention and early adoption of many practices now used by wider industry.

A top-down approach of innovative safety and compliance practices from the principle contractor down, has been key to the rollout of many safety practices that have been eventually implemented by wider industry.

A lot of health and safety practices that have the most positive effects are not necessarily complicated or technological in nature. Project-specific training and safety meetings, frequent worksite inspections, and safety and health orientation and training are three commonly adopted safety innovations and have a positive effect on safety.

However, some simple technologies have had a helpful impact by improving site safety and control, such as drones, hard hats that detect carbon monoxide, site sensors, and most recently, wearables.



In this new era, wearables that have the capacity to measure and record body temperature and alert when people are too close together can enable a confident, healthy workforce and remove uncertainty about your workers’ health. Reports can help site managers to understand their workforce and site, giving the ability to coordinate projects more intelligently.


In addition, wearables can help workers and site managers to develop an awareness of any potential COVID risks with daily self-monitoring and recording, making it easier to alert workers of possible exposure. This can increase worker’s trust that their site and main contractor prioritises their health and safety. Further, worker awareness of a commitment to safety can actually decrease the amount of sick leave taken by workers. The business case for productivity is clear – perception of a safe work culture can help to create a workforce with less sick leave!


Cultivating a culture of ‘safety first’ by encouraging behaviour such as observing, identifying, and managing health and safety risks, influences perceptions that drive outcomes, and this is key to determining the safety performance of a site or organisation. Engaging the workforce in promoting and achieving safe and health conditions including practices such as daily self-monitoring can positively impact culture and perception, underpinning a cycle of belief – behaviour – outcome. When individuals are encouraged to look out for others as well as themselves, they act as promoters of a long-lasting and strong safety culture.

Wearable technology to track workers and alert site managers about clusters could be a good strategy for your site. Beable™, an award-winning technology created by EMS is an easy-to-use system using self-monitoring and wearable devices (no phones) and simple on-site beacon self-installation. Contact EMS today to find out more.