Here’s How Drones Improve Workplace Safety

There is often an understandable hesitation in moving from established methods towards adopting new technologies.

A Pew Research Center study found that only 28% of Americans liked to be early adopters of new innovations. Many organizations tend to wait for technology to prove itself before moving away from their current methods of addressing a problem or need.

One of the more recent technological advancements some people are hesitant to adopt are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones. Common reasons for the hesitation are privacy concerns, a lack of confidence in the technology, and perceived costs.

Additionally, there are concerns over regulatory conditions and legal variations from country to country.

Unlike other newer technologies, drones have already proven themselves. The list of successful use cases across many industries continues to grow every day. It is a fact that drones are a sustainable and economical solution for many applications.

For those looking for an additional reason to consider implementing drones into their operations, one of the most convincing arguments is related to safety.

Dangerous Conditions

Collectively, mankind has made incredible advancements.

From landing on the moon to harnessing the atom’s power, humans have accomplished much in the last 100 years alone. And yet, although we continue to discover and innovate, some of the most well-developed nations in the world still suffer from workplace fatalities.

Between 2018 and 2019, the United Kingdom reported workplace 147 fatalities. The number one cause of death in these cases was listed as falls from a height.

During the same period in the United States, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration reported a staggering 5,250 fatalities occurring in the workplace. Falls were again the largest cause of death (highway collisions were excluded from this count).

Many of these fatalities involved dangerous work tasks, such as utility inspections, that could have been accomplished by drones.

Part 107 Drone Pilot Training - Drone solutions - Consortiq
Improving Safety with Drones - Man flying a drone over a job site.

Drones, A Safer Solution

With so many fatalities, leaders and decision-makers must do everything they can to keep their employees out of harm’s way.

Safety discussions and personal protective equipment help mitigate situations like falls from a height. However, they cannot prevent them.

The only way to ensure some of these fatalities will not occur is to completely remove people from dangerous environments.

Drones are ideally suited to complete many of the tasks that place humans at dangerous heights.

Visual inspections of wind turbines, for example, put people hundreds of feet in the air. Inspection personnel are suspended with ropes as they methodically search for defects in the rotor, nacelle, tower, foundation, and electrical system of each wind turbine.

During the entire process, people are in danger of falling. Drones, on the other hand, can complete much of the inspection process without ever placing people in danger. Additionally, the versatility of payload options can allow for much more detailed data collection during the process.

Heights are not the only situations where drones can keep people out of harm’s way. UAVs can operate in smoke, high temperatures, toxic gas, confined spaces, dust, and radiation.

Another example of drones keeping people safe can be found in how we combat fires. Firefighters are often placed in burning buildings where flames, toxic smoke, and falling debris can quickly cause injury or death. Fire departments around the world are finding UAVs as a solution to keeping their teams safe.

Drones can assess the hot spots of a building and provide firefighters with situational awareness before they even approach a burning structure. They can then monitor the situation and keep track of individual firefighter locations, avoiding potential disaster if a team member is in danger. Drones provide an extra layer of safety between firefighters and flames.

Drones, A Safer Solution

With the ability to operate in the austere conditions, drones can easily help to lower workplace injuries and fatalities. In many cases, the technology eliminates the need to place people in dangerous environments all together.

Any loss of life or injury to people in the workplace is a tragedy. It is especially challenging to understand and process the loss when other options could have prevented the fatality. 

If your organization has yet to investigate how drones can improve your operations, ask if they can make your operation safer. You may find the return on invest in UAV technology is in keeping your people safe.

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

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