The rise of smart technology is changing the reputation of construction, as the sector embraces innovative solutions to some of its more traditional challenges.
Health and safety are obvious concerns across all of the UK’s industries, but it’s of particular importance within construction as the rate of fatal injury is around four times as high as the average rate across all industries.
Smart technology company, Eave, has developed a unique hearing conservation system to protect against hazardous noise and the solution is spreading rapidly across the construction industry, with recent subscribers to the technology including Galliford Try, Ferrovial and Costain Skanska.
The investment in innovation by the construction industry is beginning to be recognised beyond the sector, with Eave CEO and founder, Dr David Greenberg, being awarded this year’s prestigious MIT Technology Review ‘Innovators Under 35’ accolade for Eave’s work with the construction sector.
The ‘MIT Innovators Under 35’ list celebrates outstanding innovators who are younger than 35 years of age, whose ingenious technical work promises to shape the coming decades and impacts the world at large. Dr David Greenberg, a former NHS audiologist with a PhD in auditory neuroscience whose clinical practise left him appalled at the state of the UK’s hearing health, has been selected as one of 35 pioneers to receive the European award.
Dr Greenberg focussed his attention on the construction industry because it is a high risk area for noise exposure: “All aspects of construction, including demolition, building, refurbishment and roadworks, present risks beyond most other industry workplaces. Whilst no workplace has zero risk, there is an obvious and major difference between the risks presented at a construction worker’s place of work and more conventional office based places of work. One of the key risks relates to noise exposure – employers have a legal duty to protect the hearing of operatives under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, yet it remains an ongoing challenge as noise induced hearing loss is still the most commonly reported occupational disease in the EU.”
Convinced that something more needed to be done to prevent noise exposure at work, Dr Greenberg developed the Eave solution: a digital headset that monitors and maps noise exposure, displaying it via a cloud based software platform. The data is automatically analysed to produce accurate information about each worker’s noise exposure across a workplace or site. The use of smart technology to accurately measure and pinpoint noise on a construction site is game-changing, meaning employers have transparency when it comes to addressing health risks on site.
Eave headsets also use revolutionary ‘hear through’ technology, allowing wearers to continue to hear environmental sound, vastly improving the safety of workers.The Innovators Under 35 panel of judges praised the high level of innovation in the technology’s ability to “reduce loud background noise while improving conversations, allowing easy communication without overriding important audible signals such as alarms or sirens.”
“I am delighted to receive this award and to be part of a growing culture of innovation within the construction industry. These are exciting times for the sector and I believe we will see IoT technology bring about a much needed revolution in the UK’s health and safety culture,” said Dr Greenberg.