Droning: The use of technology to remove risks

In the last decade, drones have become very useful tools in helping deliver many tasks.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are widely used in aerial photography and journalism, in the offshore industry to survey oil/gas rigs and windfarms, in agriculture to monitor crop, in geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations, in express shipping and delivery.

The most obvious advantages of using remote technology are:

  • SAFER– no need to send personnel in dangerous environments or perform hazardous tasks.

  • FASTER – generally 8X faster than traditional inspection techniques

  • CHEAPER – up to 85% more cost effective by reducing time and operating costs

  • BETTER DATA – high quality data.

Thanks to data output and imaging improvements, drones are now employed in the construction and public services sectors minimising the use staff in difficult environments and therefore reducing health and safety risks.

The London Fire Brigade utilised drones to survey and assess the structural stability of the Grenfell Tower before sending firemen into the building.

Crossrail use drones in their H&S Induction to show where different works are taking place (such as lifts and excavations) whilst ensuring that operatives stay safe.

Examples of drone

use in the construction industry include:

  • monitoring structures under demolition to identify areas subject to collapse,

  • maintenance inspection of structures such as bridges and towers or railway lines,

  • access to confined or contaminated spaces,

  • topographic and lasers surveys, and thermal imaging to identify buildings defects.

  • crane/tower/scaffolding inspections – to spot anomalies and mitigate risks of personnel having to work at height

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