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At the end of September, the National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) tested a new way of conducting inspections on construction sites. Working conditions at the construction site of the Central Office of Measures campus in Kielce were checked using a drone. In the future, such a method of inspection will help increase the safety of workers, but before drones become a frequently used tool, changes in legislation are needed. In the future, such a method of inspection is to help increase the safety of workers, but before drones become a frequently used tool, changes in legislation will be needed.
Soon, the National Labour Inspectorate will have different types of drones at its disposal: large, small and those for special tasks. The new tools will help assess the actual work conditions on the construction sites, and that in turn will make it easier to detect irregularities. As Katarzyna Łażewska-Hrycko, Chief Labour Inspector, explains, often when inspectors appear, workers disappear from the construction site, and this contributes to a more difficult assessment of the safety levels. The drones are to show working conditions at the moment when the construction process is in progress. Moreover, the devices will allow inspectors to reach places that are difficult to access, which so far required the installation of complicated scaffolding. Similar solutions are already used by representatives of the Office of Technical Inspection, who emphasise that the use of drones helps reach places that were previously inaccessible to inspectors.
PIP will control construction sites from the air
The first PIP inspection with the use of a drone was carried out in Kielce, in the Świętokrzyskie voivodship, where a laboratory campus of the Central Office of Measures is under construction. Although this innovative solution is only being tested, in the future it will make the work of inspectors more efficient and will also improve the safety of construction workers.
For the PIP to be able to use drones during its inspections, changes in regulations are needed. Currently, work on amending the act is underway.
The use of drones for regular inspections may mean changes in the construction companies’ approach to regulatory compliance. As it was shown during the action “Inspections on small construction sites 2021“, in as many as 61% of cases there was a threat to the health and life of people working at height, and during 57% of inspections it turned out that the companies used working scaffolding which was incomplete and not assembled in accordance with the instructions. It is worth reminding that every third fatal accident at work happens during construction works and the main reason is the failure to observe occupational health and safety regulations. Although most risks occur on small construction sites, the use of drones will allow, above all, to control larger investments.