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Jason Janning, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hilti North America’s U.S. Central Market Organization.

Worker Safety: Better Tools are Available Now  Jason Janning, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hilti North America’s U.S. Central Market Organization.

Regardless of your industry, there is nothing more important than employee safety. And when you are working on an active construction job site, the challenge can be intense.

According to OSHA, construction is one of the more dangerous industries for workers. So, when it comes to operator safety, minimizing risk through innovative solutions, including technology, is a necessary way forward. Injuries on the job site not only affect the livelihood and morale of your crew but also cause costly delays and downtime.

Hilti is devoted to making job sites safer. To accomplish this, we experience them firsthand. For example, Hilti is on the ground witnessing these potential safety hazards firsthand. Helping us better understand the risks associated with all parts of the construction process. What we learn in the field comes back to the lab and contributes to the ongoing development of products and services that help create a healthier and safer job site.

An Innovative Approach to Safety

We approach safety from multiple perspectives. This begins with our array of active and passive safety features that help prevent injuries during construction applications. But our deeper understanding allows us to go beyond the basics to design and enable tools and services with additional protections.

For example, we are expanding the range of applications that can be accomplished using battery tools, in turn removing unwieldy power cords to help reduce tripping and electrical risks. Some of our most powerful cordless tools even help eliminate the need for combustible fuels.

Our job site experience allows us to identify ways to minimize ladder time. We have also developed software to minimize inefficient job site hunts, looking for tools.

The Safety Benefits of Nuron

In 2022, we introduced Nuron, an all-on-one, high-performance cordless platform that helps deliver safety features, simplified setup, and maintenance in a lightweight, accessible design. 

Nuron came to market with a strong understanding of common hazards related to everyday construction tasks. In doing so, we developed active safety features like torque-control technology. This feature helps prevent stuck tools from uncontrolled spinning. Some Nuron tools integrate touch-activated switches that cut power when the user lets go or lose control of the tool.

We also studied other parts of job site safety, which can sometimes be overlooked, yet can be a contributing factor to accidents such as fatigue or imbalance. We developed the Nuron platform of tools to be lighter and more ergonomic to help reduce fatigue and go places previously only accessed by gas or electric tools. This allows more freedom of movement and helps eliminate the need to look for a power source or carry combustible fuel.

With this in mind, all of our tools, from concept to build, go through comprehensive testing to improve ergonomics, helping eliminate risks, injuries, and delays.

Safety: Top of Mind, Across the Jobsite

Nuron puts the health and safety of your crew top of your mind. From heavy-duty breakers to precision drills, Nuron brings it all to one connected platform. No one should have to rush to stay on schedule, which can lead to costly mistakes, downtime, and potential injuries. The benefit from high-performing tools that help increase operator safety and speed allows you a better opportunity to meet project demands and finish jobs on schedule.

Other active safety features include our tool-integrated dust removal systems which help reduce exposure to virtually all dust from the source. Adding hollow drill bits that better integrate with dust extraction systems provides more protection. Our standalone cordless vacuums produce the necessary power for a more convenient extraction and cleanup.

Active Vibration Reduction helps minimize vibration experienced by the user. Falling objects are also a known hazard on the job site, especially when working from height, such as, on scaffolding or a ladder. To help minimize those risks, we have developed tool tethering options across the entire platform. This simple, yet important feature helps mitigate the chance of workers being injured by tools falling from above. 

When it comes to Nuron, we have worked tirelessly to help create greater job site performance with productivity, safety, and technology in mind. With a Nuron cordless job site, there is no fumbling with unwieldy cords, gas, or fewer trips to the truck to change batteries. Nuron’s entire line helps eliminate downtime and offers a safer and more efficient solution for all your job site needs.

Looking At Safety with Open Eyes

With safety as our goal, we have also gone beyond the traditional definition of tool safety. That is evident in our EXO-O1 upper-body exoskeleton, which is a passive wearable that helps relieve strain on shoulders and arms during overhead installation work.

If you have ever done a task that requires overhead work, you know how strenuous it can be. On an active job site, overhead work is common, challenging, and time-consuming for construction workers. So, providing relief is extremely helpful to safety and productivity. With the industry experiencing a skilled labor shortage, finding ways to minimize at-risk job site behavior helps preserve the workforce's health and well-being.

"It is important for managers to model safety-appropriate job site behavior and demonstrate a company-wide commitment to creating a healthier and safer work environment.."

Some of our most powerful innovations remove the worker from a risker situation. Case in point, the Hilti Jaibot. This semi-autonomous drilling robot takes over error-prone tasks and helps remove risks associated with the strenuous task of overhead drilling. This helps limits worker exposure to silica dust, reduces time spent working at height, and eliminates repeated overhead tasks.

Software to Help Improve Safety and Avoid Penalties

Not all safety breakthroughs come in the form of products. To manage safety on the service side, the ON!Track asset management software is an invaluable tool to help manage your job site, tools, and workforce. It provides tool maintenance alerts, as well as transparency into PPE inventory. This helps keep your team compliant; when a tool requires testing, maintenance, or calibration, the system alerts those responsible.

Safety as an Employer Differentiator

Now, all these software and hardware innovations can only be successful in the right hands. Leaders who take an active role in safety, engage employees, and adopt safety innovations can measurably help reduce injuries and downtime. That is why it is important for managers to model safety-appropriate job site behavior and demonstrate a company-wide commitment to creating a healthier and safer work environment. This not only helps improve a worker’s willingness to engage in safer behavior but also indicates a commitment from the top that their workers are valued. And in the end, that is what anyone on your team wants, to feel safer and more valued.

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