Being a construction machine operator used to carry a long list of hazards. Many of the hazards were obvious, but some were subtle issues that escalated throughout the day. The job of a crane operator or any machine operator requires precision focus all day long, and old machines made that part of the job extremely difficult. The spartan accommodations in the control cabs and the repetitive movements made it difficult for operators to maintain focus, especially after working a long shift in hot weather.
There have been many advances in construction equipment that make the job easier for operators, which makes the job site safer for everyone. As time goes by, construction equipment manufacturers are constantly finding new ways to keep operators sharp and avoid operator fatigue.
More Comfortable Accommodations
Old construction equipment was very simplistic in its cab accommodations, and that lack of comfort helped to add to operator fatigue. The old machines had a steering wheel, controls, and a metal seat to allow the operator to do their job. Today, the newer equipment has contoured and padded seats, satellite radio systems, ways for operators to plug in their own music devices, LED touchscreens to make the controls easier to access, and environmental controls inside a closed cab to significantly improve the working environment.
Construction equipment manufacturers have done a lot of research over the years on what causes operator fatigue, and one of the biggest culprits they found was repetitive motions. To combat the biggest source of repetitive motions, most new pieces of equipment come with joystick steering controls.
With joystick controls, the constant and repetitive motions made with the steering wheel are eliminated and the operator can stay focused on the job at hand. Removing the steering wheel also frees up a lot of windshield space that makes it much easier for operators to see what they are doing.
Monitoring the Operator
Monitoring equipment for construction workers is evolving at a rapid pace, and that is especially true for operators. There are hard hats that have bands built in to monitor how many times an operator closes his or her eyes in a fixed period of time. If the eyes are closing too often, the site supervisor is notified.
There is also monitoring equipment in development that can sense brain fatigue based on brain activity. This is another part of a monitoring band that goes into a hard hat, and it can alert the site supervisor when the operator’s brain functions are showing noticeable signs of fatigue.
In the end, it is up to the construction company to decide on whether or not to invest in this new life-saving equipment. But it should be noted that significantly improving operator productivity and working conditions will put a lot more money on the company’s bottom line.
You can learn about new technological advances and how they can help your company by regularly visiting the PDH Contractors website. You can also browse courses by state to update or renew your contractor license, or expand your business by getting licensed in different states.