Improve Construction Safety with Wireless Communication
Sonetics | February 22, 2017

In general, the number one contributing factor for on-the-job accidents is communication breakdown. The construction industry is no different. Amid workers, other construction vehicles, building materials and other obstructions, you can’t afford to miss or misunderstand instructions, signals or warnings. When that happens, risk increases and productivity drops because you either have to stop what you’re doing to make sure you’re heard over the noise of your equipment, or stop to correct mistakes that happened during the communication breakdown. That leads to a duplication of effort and deadline drift.

Advances in wireless communication for challenging work environments can improve construction safety, while protecting hearing and boosting productivity and job satisfaction in the process.

Low Tech Disadvantages

Foam ear plugs and ear muffs protect your hearing, but they prevent effective communication. In order to talk to a spotter, flagger or other crew member on the work site, you have two choices:

  1. Leave your hearing protection in and use those hand signals you memorized ahead of time, as long as you can see each other clearly (and remember what they mean.)
  2. Stop working and turn off the equipment so you can understand each other.

With either option, nothing gets done while you talk. After you’ve interrupted your work a few dozen times, it quickly becomes frustrating.

Construction safety improves when equipment operators and support crews wear wireless headsets to communicate. Now you can talk and keep right on working. And when an “all-stop” is called, everyone hears it instantly. Those extra seconds of reaction time can mean the difference when lives and expensive equipment are at risk.

Productivity gets a boost, as well. You don’t have to stop working to discuss how you’re going to solve a problem or make your next maneuver. You just talk while you’re doing the work, and make adjustments as you go.

Communication + Hearing Protection

Wireless headsets not only help improve communication, they also protect your ears from dangerous construction site noise. The many pieces of construction equipment on job sites combine to create significant noise levels, which over time can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

To help prevent this type of injury, Sonetics headsets include 20 decibels of hearing protection and noise cancelling microphones. When your sitting your cab, you’ll find the noise is greatly reduced and you can clearly hear and understand the other members of your crew.

Don’t Let Noise Stress Interfere

Constant exposure to loud noises can be stressful on the body and the mind. Lowering sound levels makes work sites less hectic, which improves both precision and accuracy. It also provides much-needed stress relief. Your frustration and stress levels escalate when you can’t clearly hear instructions or interpret hand signals. Wireless headsets keep you in real-time communication with your crew at all times, reduce loud noises and remove the need for shouting. As a result, the work environment becomes calmer, more productive and more enjoyable.

Two-way Radios Are a One-way Street

Many heavy equipment operators depend on two-way radios on the job site. Often you can’t hear the radio when it’s clipped to your vest—especially if you’re wearing ear plugs or earmuffs—leading to missed communications. If you do hear it, then you have to push a button to respond. That can be risky when your hands are busy trying to operate equipment.

That last piece is essential, since if you and a coworker press the push-to-talk button on a two-way radio at the same time, you can lock up the channel. When that happens, no one can hear you and if that’s when an “all-stop” happens, it can be dangerous.

How Sonetics Wireless Headsets Work

Technological advances make wireless headsets easier to use than ever before. Sonetics’ proprietary DECT7® wireless technology delivers clear audio that is “full-duplex,” meaning you can talk to other workers on the jobsite as if you were on a conference call. There are no buttons to push. Just put on the headsets and talk to each other. And they’re truly wireless; no belt packs or dangling cords to get snagged as you work.

Sonetics headsets pair to a wireless base station that connects up to five headsets. You can use separate channels on the base to hold secure conversations as needed. It’s completely secure and encrypted, so you won’t be picking up frequencies from other technologies or be overheard on someone else’s channel.

Improve the Safety of Your Construction Site

Wireless headsets have become the gold standard for safe and effective team communication. Add in the boosts to productivity and advanced hearing protection, and you have a recipe for improved construction safety.