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Contractors are turning to wearable devices to monitor safety on construction sites

Among the various technologies used by the construction sector to help improve worker safety, so-called wearables have attracted considerable interest.

“We have a lot of customers and prospects who are trying to experiment with some of these things,” said Tom Grandmaison, executive vice president and head of construction at Willis Towers Watson PLC, based in Boston.

Examples of wearables include uniform-mounted cameras and protective helmets designed to warn workers of workplace hazards and to track employee movements.

Another example are devices called “exoskeletons,” which are used by workers to increase physical strength and support.

Some of the latest products in the wearables sphere include safety gear that is sewn right into reflective vests and hard hats to warn of different workplace hazards such as heavy equipment moving around the workplace.

“They’re getting pretty sophisticated,” said Dwayne Hartman, manager of construction loss control for brokerage firm Lockton Cos. LLC based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The construction industry has seen an increase in the use of wearables in recent years, Grandmaison said, as more insurers and contractors look to the devices to “give them an edge in monitoring what’s happening on their projects.”

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