The benefits of visualising incident data to improve safety on construction sites
Leica Geosystems' Safety Awareness Module in ConX brings construction site safety to the next level.
Author: Olga Papandreou
Heavy construction is one of the world’s most dangerous industries. So it is with good reason that safety is top-of-mind for everyone on site – from directors and business owners to project managers to the machine operators themselves. Project delays, increased costs and lost revenue are the least of it. No one wants to be the cause or recipient of a workplace injury.
Leica Geosystems understands the safety risks that everyone faces while working on heavy construction sites. That is why we strive to safeguard people and other construction assets against unfortunate incidents by developing new technologies and innovative solutions that make it easier to keep everyone safe on site.
We recently chatted with Brad Mullis - Product Manager, Safety Awareness – and Michele Costa – Product Manager, ConX – to better understand Leica Geosystems’ new Safety Awareness Module in ConX and its value to it our customers.
Leica Geosystems have developed some pretty innovative safety products for the construction industry. Can you give us an overview of the latest and greatest developments?
Brad: In 2021, Leica released a new generation of safety-awareness solutions, which includes Leica iCON PA10, iCON PA80, iCON VA80 and CAS. After a year on the market, we can see that these solutions have, in fact, improved on-site safety. We’re seeing fewer incidents like accidents and infrastructure damage and a reduction in fees and fines. Machine operators tell us that these products give them a better visual overview of their surroundings, and we’re also hearing that management is spending less time and money on things like workers’ compensation, insurance and repairing machine damage.
I think the key to this success is that these solutions have significantly improved communication and information sharing between workers and machine operators. This has prevented many near-incidents, which makes people safer at work while reducing overall costs. This year, we’re introducing a fifth product to the portfolio – the ConX Safety Awareness Module.
That sounds interesting. What is it?
Michele: I think it’s a very interesting product! It has two main components. Let’s first talk about the integration with our existing safety products. The new module uses the existing Leica ConX cloud infrastructure to collect data and alerts generated from the Leica iCON PA10, iCON PA80 and CAS solutions. Users can filter and export data by event, equipment type, specific machine and event danger level. But what really sets it apart is that the module visualises the selected data on a heatmap, which makes it easy for safety managers to identify elevated risk areas – or even specific machines that are at substantial risk. It’s the first cloud-based solution on the market to collect and visualise safety-related data. It’s a big step forwards for construction site safety!
Second is the module’s brilliant office-to-field communication capabilities. Up until now, there’s always been a risk of important safety information not being received. With this new module, office personnel can send SOS alerts to inform all MC1 software users of on-site emergencies, like fires, chemical spills and severe weather. There’s also a function to notify selected users or specific machine operators of anticipated events that might affect their work. These could be things like upcoming blasting activity, open trenches, unstable material that should be avoided, or ground personnel entering the machine’s vicinity.
These messages are in addition to the traditional airhorn system. With these advanced messaging capabilities, operators receive visual warnings directly on their monitors. All of these notifications pop up on the Leica MC1 software on the MCP80 panel and must be acknowledged by the operator. This helps the office identify units that might still be in danger.
I should also mention that there’s a dashboard, which makes it easy to track safety-related KPIs and keep an eye on how new safety measures are performing. I think this module is an excellent complement to our existing portfolio.
What do you see as the main benefits of the ConX Safety Awareness Module?
Brad: I think the ability to combine incident data from this module with the data generated from PA10, PA80 and CAS is extremely important. It gives complete overview view of incidents and potential incidents. Now site managers have the best possible chance to avoid similar situations in the future. The incident data can be interpreted directly within ConX or through established API to preferred third-party systems.
I also think that the office-to-field messaging capabilities from ConX are groundbreaking in the industry. This is quite a step forwards in terms of traceability and clarity.
Who do you think will benefit the most from this new module?
Michele: One of the fantastic things about all of Leica’s safety-awareness solutions is that they benefit pretty much everyone on site in one way or another. It’s an easy choice for purchasing managers because users are already familiar with the platform, and it’s a simple, one-licence integration with the existing MC1 systems.
The data collected by the module gives complete transparency into site incidents, which allows management to make data-driven decisions about new safety measures. Foremen and construction surveyors will be glad that the burden of incident reporting no longer rests 100% on their shoulders because the module can and will provide comprehensive incident-related data if needed.
Site crews are well aware of the dangers they face every day. I hope that the new Safety Awareness Module will give them peace of mind that they’re working on a site where incident risks are as low as they can be.
How will customers buy the Safety Awareness Module in ConX?
Michele: Customers who already have the iCON PA10, iCON PA80 and CAS systems simply purchase a Leica ConX Safety Awareness Module licence before activating the module in the web interface.
The licences are divided into four groups based on the number of machines with awareness sensors linked to a Leica ConX project. We have 0–9, 10–29, 30–49, and unlimited unit licences. The licences are time-limited and can be ordered in whole-week increments between 2 and 52 weeks. We chose this model because it’s flexible and scalable to projects of any size and duration.
Where could someone find more information about these solutions?
Brad: The product website is a great source of information! Additionally, we have developed a safety awareness solutions info sheet that provides more technical details on the different solutions, their required components and how everything is coming together to assist our customers in protecting their people and other assets on site.
Brad, Michele, thank you both for your time explaining this significant-to-safety solution. It’s true that you can only improve on things you can measure, and safety is now one of them!