Companies Use Drones to Limit Dangerous, Potentially Fatal Tasks for Workers

Companies Use Drones to Limit Dangerous, Potentially Fatal Tasks for Workers

With 166 deaths in confined spaces and 887 deaths from falls in the United States in 2017, drones are becoming a safer way to complete dangerous tasks.

Companies are increasingly beginning to use drones to performsome of the dangerous tasks that workers risk their lives executing. 


Jobs such as working in confined spaces to retrieve trash or fix machinery or working on tall scaffolding to paint a building can be fatal, but as technology develops, workers are beginning to have to perform these jobs less and less. 


Huge companies including Dow Inc., AT&T Inc., BASF SE and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have begun using drones to do dangerous jobs such as inspecting tanks and towers from hundreds of feet in the air, replacing faulty parts in small tunnels and looking into smokestacks. 


Christ Witte, manager of chemical giant BASF’s Freeport, Texas site said the site is using drones to keep workers off scaffolding and out of tanks where potential injuries lurk. 


“We look at these tasks and say, ‘Is there a better way that we can do this without exposing the worker to risk?’” Witte said. “The answer is yes. We can send a drone in.”


Research shows that even though drones are expensive, at costs ranging anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000, they not only save lives, but cut costs for companies. Many jobs that would’ve taken human workers days take drones only a few hours. 


In 2017, 166 U.S. workers died in confined spaces, and 887 died by falls, which is the second-biggest cause of workplace deaths after car accidents, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. 


Billy Bardin, Dow’s global technology director, said that even with all the safety equipment and PPE that workers use while entering dangerous situations, such as confined spaces, the risk is high for injuries and fatalities. 


He said that the company used robots for more than 1,000 confined-space entries in 2018, and for another 1,000 external inspections that involved high elevations. 


“Drones save us downtime, save cost, save on productivity for our maintenance personnel,” Bardin said. “They eliminate having to put a person in that potentially hazardous environment.”

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2020

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2020, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November / December 2019


      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue