Safety Blog: “Big Brother is watching your back and construction workers are safer as a result.”

15 May 2017

Evercam’s Marco Herbst tells us how CCTV is making sites safer

The presence of high quality CCTV Construction Cameras and time-lapse footage of major projects are becoming the norm for our industry.

However, on-site cameras provide more than an awesome visual record of a job or cool marketing tool to use when you are busy vying for the next project.

Construction Cameras are also making sites of all sizes across Ireland safer than ever before and employers are now using these tools to ensure personnel are safe at work.

So while Big Brother may be watching, he’s actually watching your back.

It may sound obvious, but with the very real possibility of a Project Manager or even client accessing the live on-site camera stream at any second of the day, safety standards are keenly adhered to.

Self-awareness can be a huge benefit in terms of increasing safety on-site. Have you ever walked into a supermarket and noticed yourself on the CCTV screen? I’m often horrified to see myself walking with a hunch, looking a bit a bit dishevelled and lost. The immediate effect is for me to straighten my back and consciously cheer myself up. The funny thing about this approach is, it works and having on-site CCTV has a somewhat similar effect. You don’t even need to see the TV screen just knowing that the whole site is being monitored has an impact on how people behave and care for themselves.

From a management point of view, the top priority is to avoid genuine accidents and safety incidents on site, but there is also the secondary concern to defend oneself against fraudulent claims. As we often tell clients, “If you own the evidence, you win the argument.” There’s nothing quite like having a high-resolution image of someone disregarding health and safety policy to get rid of a fraudulent claim fast.

Construction Camera footage is also increasingly used to provide teaching material. Over time, one gathers quite a few clips in the archive of things going wrong or near-misses on site and this material can be a very powerful reminder for people of just how quickly and easily a moment of oversight can lead to trouble.

When you are trying to spread this safety message among teams in particular, a couple of seconds of a clip containing someone they recognise or maybe even themselves narrowly avoiding a mishap can be a powerful tool.

Even the best of us can become a bit immune to the same old safety posters again and again, just like the safety announcement on an aeroplane, but when it’s a video in which you feature, I guarantee you will pay attention.

For me, it’s a mystery why there are any sites in Ireland that still don’t have an Evercam camera to record the whole process, the benefits in terms of improved operations are now so clear and the technology has progressed so much in terms of affordability and quality that there really is little excuse not to have a live and recorded stream on every project.

Marco Herbst is the co-founder of Evercam Construction Cameras.

Case Study: Stewart Construction

Initially motivated by the desire for to have a detailed view of the build and to be able to demonstrate this at the end of the project, Stewart Construction has also been using Evercam’s services to improve safety on sites.

“From a Safety perception, it has been good,” Gillian Gonoud, Health and Safety Officer with Stewart Construction said. “When I am not on site, as I have other sites to visit, I can access the site to oversee works being conducted and if I see an issue I can contact the Site Manager and explain why I think something might not look right and ask for his assistance to address this. It does make the workers more aware that someone is overseeing the works and can check in from time to time so they would be more conscious of this fact and more cautious in their actions. I find that the camera is good from the point of view that if we have an incident on site, we can review the events and what has occurred and then we can use this as a demonstration of what has happened and explain to operatives on site and also to put corrective action in place to prevent it occurring again.”

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