Three Ways Cameras Make Things Safer

John Craig

Introducing the horror story high schoolers fear: “I heard one time that Krista’s older brother, Jordan, was caught on camera smoking a cigarette before his 18th birthday and the cops showed the footage to his mom and he got grounded and then the principal didn’t let him graduate and then he went to jail. For like a long time.”

The moral they take away from this hyperbolic tale: Cameras steal our freedom, and we should avoid them at all costs.

I’m sure there’s some futuristic Big Brother scary 1984 Orwell stuff in here if you want to dig deep enough. But really, there are a lot of ways cameras make things safer. Today, I’m going to share three of them with you.

I’m Chris Machut, CEO at Netarus, manufacturer of the HoistCam system. And I’ve got actual experience with cameras, unlike our fabled Jordan from the high school horror tale.

In all seriousness, the fear that cameras are there to control workers is widespread and, unfortunately, based in fact. Remember in March when I told you about a competitor’s new project that measures thousands of data points? The fancy new tech that will record every time a worker takes a sip of coffee or stops for more than a few seconds? Yeah, in my opinion, that’s bad news, and a step in the direction of the Orwellian future we fear.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: technology for technology’s sake is not the answer. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Remember Frankenstein’s monster?

Let’s imagine you’re the CEO of a big construction firm – maybe you are the CEO of a construction firm – and to you I say oh hi there, welcome! A construction firm CEO is always looking for ways to streamline productivity and to make sure their workforce and production methods are performing at a high level.

Sure, you can get the expensive spy gear with the bells and whistles. OR…

You can focus on safety rather than productivity. Because in the long run, focusing on safety actually improves productivity. The truth is that accidents are not only unsafe, but also a HUGE time waster. Plus, they do no favors for team morale, which can slow down production after an event.

Truthfully, safety is not spying. Safety has everyone’s best interest at heart.

Let’s get more specific with three ways cameras can improve safety at your next job site.

See in the Blind

First, cameras help operators see their blind spots. And these cameras don’t even need audio to operate safely. See, all those bells and whistles ARE NOT necessary. But SEEING IN THE BLIND is absolutely necessary to avoid a huge percentage of safety issues.

OSHA’s analysis of crane incidents identified nearly 45% of accidents as the boom or crane coming into contact with energized power lines. FORTY FIVE PERCENT – almost half of all accidents occur because of something the operator couldn’t clearly see. Imagine if that operator had clear, 360-degree vision. You and I both know that percentage would drop.

Aid Managers

Cameras allow managers to see the entire site at a glance. It’s much quicker than walking the whole site repeatedly throughout the day, and much more efficient – especially if they’re managing multiple sites. Managers can review camera footage and identify individuals not following safety protocols. Not following protocols poses significant safety risks for an entire team. Plus, reviewing footage helps management find areas for improvement, and discover areas where teams may require additional training.

Also, cameras allow managers to oversee several sites at once, without having to leave their home. These days, having fewer people onsite is a safety issue as well. Being able to offer remote work options, especially for busy parents with kids who may still be out of school, allows you a larger pool of applicants for new positions.

Prevent Theft of Assets

Finally, cameras help you track assets and deter crime when the site isn’t operating (or even when it is). Arriving onsite at the start of a workday to discover a theft has occurred overnight is a major blow to both productivity and safety. And trying to meet deadlines without equipment or the proper materials can be detrimental to safety as well. Potential thieves are far less likely to enter a site with conspicuously placed security cameras, so your assets (and your workers) are protected.

Honestly, I could go on and on about how cameras can improve safety without invading privacy, because you know, I’m obsessed with tech making things safer – not scarier. But don’t worry, I’ll go ahead and wrap this up for today and I’ll save the longer list for a future episode.