The construction industry continues its trend of being one of the hottest new growth areas in promotional products today. It’s a unique industry, with a laundry list of issues that run the gamut from simple dehydration, to multi-billion dollar technological gaffes, to high instances of workplace injuries and fatalities. What better place can there be for a promotional product to transcend the state of being a simple branding canvas, to being part of the solution for issues as large as life and death?
Health and Wellness – Hydration
Construction jobsites represent some of the most challenging working conditions on the planet. They can just as easily be blisteringly hot and humid, as they can be bone-shatteringly cold. The human body is in a constant struggle to maintain a balance and sustain a critical core temperature. Water makes up 60% of the entire body mass, so the connection between proper hydration could not be clearer. It can sweat only so much in an effort to evaporate excess heat away, before the reserves run dry. Fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea and confusion soon set in, often with consequences far beyond loss of productivity due to illness. The HRI (Heat Related Illnesses) spectrum ranges from heat rash to heat stroke and even death.
How much hydration is enough to stave off HRI? A general guideline for water intake is 40oz (1100ml) of water per active hour of work or exercise, for an average sized adult. It’s also suggested that – for effective hydration to take place – that consumption be distributed over a period of time, such as every fifteen or twenty minutes or so, from a container kept close at hand.
In the extreme cold, hypothermia rears its ugly head. It can happen any time the body is losing heat faster than it can generate it, a situation all too common in exposed worksites in the depth of winter. Below 95F (35C) the body’s organs can no longer function normally. Shivering, dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing, confusion and trouble speaking are all signs of hypothermia, along with a dangerously quickened pulse. Left long enough more serious consequences soon manifest, with the loss of feeling and utility of the extremities and, ultimately an ensuing state of unconsciousness. The intake of hot foods and drink – particularly those high in calories, like hot chocolate or strong broth – can help the body recover in two ways. Firstly and most immediately; the body can absorb the heat from them. Secondly, the energy replenishment and digestion will help the body fight its temperature back up again – particularly quickly in the case of hot sugary liquids.
Construction Technology – Support and Care
The construction industry has been one of the slowest to respond to the new wave of technology that surrounds it in every other facet of life, but there is a sudden trend to change that. Working off of paper blueprints and verbal instruction is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Digital schematics with precision GPS and cloud-based deficiency-list resolution software, delivered across mobile platforms that can be carried by every member of the team, are rapidly replacing them.
A single misplaced beam or support column can cost a construction project untold millions in time, resolution and productivity costs. Simple smartphone apps – powered by GPS – are helping avoid this issue, with battery power being the only barrier between success and failure. Microsoft is even experimenting with a new technology called HoloLens on the jobsite, bringing virtual reality into the fold.
Other innovators are bringing smart-tech solutions, too. Kitchener, Ontario’s Bridgit is bringing deficiency list (aka; punch list) resolution into the mobile spectrum with their Closeout software. It allows team members – often spread across various subcontractors – a common platform with which to communicate issues, assign work and record resolutions, in real-time and with automated follow-ups.
Bringing Safety into the Spotlight – High Visibility
The construction industry is no stranger to dangerous conditions. 6.5 million employees work hundreds of thousands of worksites across North America, and face more hazards than any other industry – with the possible exception of oil and gas workers. In addition, worksites can be one of the hardest places to police, with regards to safety compliance.
A recent industry inspection of random worksites in the Saskatchewan area found that only around 50% of its workers were complying with common injury-prevention procedures, showing an industry rife with lapses in workplace safety. Many these workers are tucked into various corners of the worksite, often in the dim recesses and difficult for foremen to spot. They are particularly susceptible to crushing injury from the assorted large machinery in motion about the site.
For many of these issues the addition of simple high-visibility items offers simple, cost-effective solutions, particularly in tandem with other safety equipment and procedures. Reflective vests and flashing LED bands are particularly useful here.
Hot growth area or not, the construction industry reveals opportunities for the right kind of promotional product to shine. They can certainly be used to grow brand awareness, as they have been proven to do all over the world for the past 100+ years. But the potential is even greater than that, whether it’s helping to support the technology that averts multi-million dollar mistakes, keeping the construction staff healthy and hydrated, or just maybe, helping to save a life.
Check out some more of our high visibility promotional products in our Marketing Minute on improving your visibility. Click below.