‘Living together’ with drones: Advice for easing worker concerns


Photo: ilze79/iStockphoto

Bilbao, Spain — As on-the-job use of drones expands, workers should be trained on the technology’s capabilities – including communication basics – to ensure safe workplaces, a new report states.

Published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the report bases its conclusions on an analysis of best practices and existing studies related to drones – also known as unmanned aircraft systems or unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The perception of danger in people standing in the proximity of an active UAV is often amplified by propellers rotating at high speeds and enabling the UAV to make complex maneuvers,” the report states. “This naturally raises safety concerns.”

To alleviate those concerns, EU-OSHA recommends that workers be trained on “generic and specific capabilities” of drones. This might entail reading a manual/workplace sign or obtaining certification should the worker be required to operate in an environment with UAVs.

It adds that “even workers not directly related” to drone operation must understand how to give basic commands to drones in their vicinity, such as to “move away.” The report authors suggest employing a human supervisor who can:

  • Ensure drones maintain safe distances from workers.
  • Manage communication with workers.
  • Assess workers’ comfort levels, perhaps via questionnaires.

Employers also should consider workers “at the center of the concern” when implementing and communicating drone operations and not take for granted that workers will “adjust” to drones on the fly, EU-OSHA says.

“Workers must feel comfortable ‘living’ together with UAV in shared workplaces,” the report states. “This means that special attention must be given to designing forms of communication that do not overload the workers.”

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration regulates the commercial use of drones under 14 CFR Part 107.

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email info@mccrarencompliance.com or visit our website www.mccrarencompliance.com

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Drone Safety Day set for April 29

Original article published by Federal Aviation Administration
Photo: Federal Aviation Administration

FAA invites interested drone operators and stakeholders to register for Drone Safety Day events through the National Center for Autonomous Technology, as the agency aims to build a “central, virtual library” of information.

FAA asks participants to use the hashtag #DroneSafetyDay when posting about the event on social media. Those on Facebook and Twitter can tag the agency using @FAADroneZone.

Drones are the fastest growing segment of aviation in the United States. As of January, there are over 871,000 drones registered with the FAA, and over 307,000 certified Remote Pilots. These numbers are projected to continue to grow and we want everyone who operates drones to have fun and be safe!

Drone Safety Day (DSD) is an annual campaign dedicated to educating the drone community of the importance of flying safely. DSD will highlight the societal, economic, and safety benefits of safe drone operations with in-person, virtual, and hybrid events in focus areas such as EducationEconomicsEquityEnvironment, and Emergencies.

Download the 2023 Drone Safety Day Playbook  and 2023 Drone Safety Day Flyer  to learn more on how you can participate. These materials will give you an outline of what Drone Safety Day is all about and ideas for how to put together your DSD event. You can also visit our Drone@Home page to find fun ideas to participate at home.

When you’re ready, register your event. And don’t forget to “Fly Right”:

  • Register your drone – DroneZone
  • Interact with others
  • Gain knowledge
  • Have a safety plan
  • TRUST and Train

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Drone use in construction can distract workers and increase risk of falls: CPWR

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: Courtesy of 3D Robotics 

Silver Spring, MD — As the use of drone technology in the construction industry expands, so too do safety concerns related to worker distraction and potential collisions while operating at height.

That’s the conclusion of researchers from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, who in a recent study analyzed the behaviors of 153 participants “with varying construction experience” in a virtual construction site.

Findings show that working with or near drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, “reduces the attention workers devote to the task at hand, which could result in falls when they are at height.” Workers operating while drones were 12 and 25 feet away looked away from job tasks more frequently than when drones were 1.5 and 4 feet away.

Additionally, working with drones at any distance contributes to “significant” psychological or emotional distress. Workers may feel as though they’re constantly being monitored. They also might be fearful of being struck by a drone, as they already operate in high-risk environments at height.

2021 survey conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with CPWR, among other organizations, found that 37% of construction contractors use drones on worksites, while an additional 6% anticipated future use. Still, the study concluded that construction workers “generally have a negative attitude” toward working with or near drones.

To help ensure safe integration of drones in construction, CPWR advises employers to:

  • Train workers. “There are currently no specific OSHA standards or guidelines regarding UAVs on construction sites, so training workers is even more critical. The training content needs to be developed to not only educate workers about UAVs, but also help familiarize them with working alongside UAVs.” CPWR says virtual reality training carries multiple benefits and may help workers view drones “less negatively.”
  • Design drones to “limit the frequency and severity of risks” they pose to workers and minimize crash impact.
  • Prepare worksites to ensure drones “work efficiently and safely around workers,” accounting for factors that include drone size and shape, flight path, and weather conditions.

CPWR also suggests using the Hierarchy of Controls to assist with hazard prevention. When possible, schedule work so employees aren’t present in areas in which drones are operating. Use drones only for operations that provide “significant benefits” over traditional work methods, and isolate workers from drones when no substitute for drone use exists.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Construction safety report looks at hazard prevention for human-robot interactions

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: CPWR

Silver Spring, MD — To help assess and quantify human-robot interaction safety hazards on construction worksites, a recently published report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training details a newly developed practical process and tools for practitioners.

CPWR researchers looked at hazards linked to the use of robotics and automation, such as drones, exoskeletons and “single-task” construction robots. They identified 40 such hazards and classified them into seven groups, including unauthorized access or operational situation awareness, mechanical concerns, power systems, and improper installation.

The researchers developed safety risk ratings for three kinds of robotics and automation – wearable robots, remote-operated robots and automated robots onsite – for three kinds of construction tasks (bricklaying, drywall installation, and concrete grinding and polishing).

From there, the researchers developed 22 preventive strategies and created a process for assessing and controlling hazards related to human-robot interaction. The process includes Safety Data Sheets on the use of exoskeletons, remote-operated robots and onsite automated robots, such as those involved in bricklaying. Also included are Job Hazard Analysis protocols for different tasks.

The report features descriptions of available robotics and automation technologies, applications of those technologies, factors that influence the use of those technologies, and current standards and procedures.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.