Scaffolding at construction sites has been inspected for decades to ensure occupational safety. In the past, this was done using a paper based system. When something bad happened, it was hard to prove that the scaffolding was without fault, because the notes may have been lost. Large construction sites contain numerous scaffoldings, and they also disappear without a trace sometimes. It has even happened that a lost scaffolding has been found years later in a silo during maintenance work.
Joni Mäkelä, who is responsible for the Cronos’ HSE supervisor service, had an idea about making scaffolding inspections digital at the construction site. Managing Director Jarkko Tiihonen presented the idea to us at Microteam, says Patrik Ljungqvist, who is in charge of IoT Systems.
“We planned to deliver the digital scaffolding card system with its devices as a turnkey package.”
“The planning phase involved the device’s mechanical, electrical and production design. In addition, the project included the development of an Android-based mobile application, a cloud service and a browser interface for it. The delivery consisted of the device and software, delivered to the customer as a complete product.”
“The cooperation with Microteam has been very pleasant, and it’s been great to build a unique product with them. The system is easily transformed to almost anything, and we are able to develop similar devices and systems for dozens of different sites. The customer’s imagination is practically the only limit. In our work up to this point, Cronos and Microteam have been able to tackle any obstacle that we come across,” Jarkko Tiihonen concludes.
The inspector opens the application on his phone at the worksite and logs in with his credentials. This is done to identify the inspector. The inspector uses the application to scan the NFC tag on the digital card attached to the scaffolding. This works in the same way as a contactless payment does in shops. Scaffolding must be inspected at seven day intervals. The digital scaffolding card’s numeric display shows how many days there are until the next inspection. When the time is exceeded, the device blinks to signal that the use of the scaffolding is prohibited.
The inspector can approve, reject or comment on the information. All the data is stored in the cloud, and it is easy to read later by pressing a button in the browser interface. The cloud provides detailed information about the performer of the inspection, the inspection time and the scaffolding, including its type, weight category, photographs and location. The location is obtained by positioning. This way, the scaffolding will no longer be misplaced.
The digital scaffolding card system improves occupational safety by removing chances of malpractice. Responsibility issues are unambiguous, because the identities of the perpetrators and the timing of events are stored in one verified system. Work monitoring becomes more efficient, and all actions relating to occupational safety and invoicing leave a trace in the real-time system.
“The device is able to verify the inspection data with an accuracy of one percent, which is why insurance companies have been very interested in the device,” Jarkko Tiihonen says.
“We have received many inquiries about the device, even from abroad. We are already designing the next device for a large publicly listed Swedish company.
For companies renting out scaffolding, there are new business opportunities in invoicing and other applications, when invoices can be created according to use. In addition, losses are reduced as the location of the scaffolding is known. Contractors can easily track what scaffolding has been built, what is in the warehouse and how much has been charged for built scaffolding.”
TEXT: Taina Syrjänen