Until recently, biometrics technology has been restricted to projects requiring the highest levels of security. This has mainly been down to cost, but is now much more widely available and becoming part of our daily lives.
Each day there could be hundreds or thousands of workers on a construction site at any given time, and this means both security and safety need to be ensured. A company that uses biometric technology can monitor each individual to check their staff is clocked in, safe and accounted for.
What are biometrics?
Biometrics is the measurement and analysis of people’s unique physical characteristics. The technology is mainly used for identification and access control as every person can be specifically identified by certain physical characteristics and traits such as facial, voice, and fingerprint recognition, and now, even DNA matching.
Each person’s unique biometric identity can be used to replace or at least augment password systems for computers, phones, and restricted access rooms and buildings. And biometrics scanners are the hardware that is then used to capture the data for verification. These scans match against the saved database to approve or deny access. In other words, biometric security means your body can now become the key to unlocking and accessing.
To manage a workforce, construction companies can now use biometric technology to verify if workers are on or off-site. Staff can simply scan their faces or their fingerprints upon entry to the site to authenticate their identity.
Using a biometric profile is more reliable than clocking in or signing a timesheet as it can more accurately manage attendance times due to the unique nature of an individual’s biometrics. Having staff use their face or finger to sign in to the site means no more lost key fobs or colleagues clocking in for each other, resulting in a more precise picture of how the staff work.
Companies within the construction sector can receive real-time insights such as excess lateness, habitual sick days or if staff are exceeding working hours regulations. Being able to access this information via the cloud at any time can help identify problems and optimize how the business operates.
These tools and information can be used and accessed by all departments within the company to produce detailed reports without the mountain of unreliable and often misplaced paperwork.
Health, safety and security
Every construction company must adhere to the standard health and safety regulations as well as keep up to date on any new legal requirements that may come through. Intelligent biometric systems can be updated at any time, meaning that as circumstances change, they can be easily communicated down the assembly line.
Using this technology, construction companies can set up permission-based entry, ensuring only authorized operatives can sign into the site, as well as ‘red listing’ that prevents banned workers from accessing authorized areas, keeping the right people in the right place. We can even incorporate biometric technology further. For example, instead of wasting time rounding up or chasing employees to sign papers, the worker can be prompted to sign and accept certain site or policy changes with just a scan of their finger.
It is now possible to set up alerts for critical situations, meaning management will be more aware of instances such as a lack of first aid trained operatives on-site, enabling them to rectify this as quickly as possible and prevent a health and safety breach. They can also further notify staff with specific reminders for upcoming events, last-minute site changes, or to remember to bring the correct PPE.
Many construction sites contain high-value tools, machinery and materials, and sometimes just keeping them under lock and key isn’t enough. Integrating a combination of biometric access control, monitored CCTV and security lighting can give you great peace of mind. And if the unthinkable does happen, you’ll have easy access to a record of the proceedings that can be taken to the police or used for insurance purposes.
As biometrics continues to improve, technologies such as retina scanning could come into play and offer the construction industry much more than time and attendance tracking. Many companies are working on the diagnosis of serious medical conditions through retina scanning.
So, it may be that in future, employees clocking in will also receive a quick health check in the process. This way, workers can get an early warning of potential health problems, and the employer can decide whether this presents a risk if they’re admitted on site.
Producing and analyzing a retinal scan is much quicker and safer than a traditional blood test. It’s just as accurate and can be conducted almost anywhere, retinal scanning is set to become an important diagnostic technique.
Using the information generated by biometrics, and spotting certain trends early within the workforce, companies can ensure that legal standards are always being followed, helping to raise not just the standards on site, but for the construction industry as a whole.