An Inside Job: Use Indoor Construction Cameras to Monitor Workflow and Safety
By Ken Pittman, Construction Executive
Managing jobsites can be challenging enough, but once interior work begins and crews are out of sight, busy construction supervisors can be at a disadvantage. Keeping track of workflow means time-consuming walkthroughs.
Indoor construction cameras can give project managers the ability to remotely monitor interior construction on multiple jobsites. They can provide the immediate benefit of helping managers discover chokepoints in the workflow and where improvements can be made in safety and security.
WORK AREA MONITORING
The construction industry continues to struggle to recruit skilled workers. More than 60 percent of construction firms were having trouble recruiting for hourly craft labor positions as of late 2016, according to trade associations.
Faced with doing more with smaller crews, project managers must achieve the best results with the least effort. Remote monitoring with cameras allows managers to document the construction process and monitor the performance of crews. Being able to provide marked-up photos or time-lapse videos of issues allows supervisors to provide detailed feedback on needed improvements.
Keeping workers safe is a moral obligation for construction firms. Proper safety procedures also protect businesses from liability claims and the ever-present threat of financial penalties from OSHA for violating safety standards. With the maximum OSHA penalty of $126,749 per willful or repeat violation, construction firms have a lot to lose if safety isn’t emphasized.
Using indoor camera systems on the jobsite lets project managers discover safety issues before they turn into real problems. Is the jobsite being properly maintained? Is lighting adequate? Are employees engaging in required safety practices? All these questions can be answered and documented through remote monitoring. If safety violations do occur, the footage from the indoor cameras can be reviewed and managers can tweak the workflow to avoid similar problems from recurring.
The use of indoor cameras also can reduce insurance costs, as many insurance companies offer discounts if they are used on the jobsite. Indoor camera systems also may prove beneficial in the case of any workers’ compensation claims or litigation.
The construction industry loses $1 billion per year from theft and vandalism, according to estimates. Using indoor and outdoor construction cameras for remote monitoring can help deter theft. With the majority of jobsite theft happening on weekends or at night, when no employees are present, construction cameras provide 24/7 coverage. The presence of cameras can also give would-be thieves second thoughts about whether the jobsite is an easy target. If a crime does occur, the footage can be used to provide evidence to law enforcement authorities.
Not all indoor construction cameras are equal. Before making a purchase, it pays to evaluate the camera’s capabilities. Some of the features required for maximum usefulness include time-lapse video functionality, recording and web-enabled remote control.
Indoor construction cameras provide a cost-effective means of increasing production and preventing liability. They are an option worth investigating for any construction firm hoping to remain competitive in a continually changing market.