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Safety at Construction Sites

At a Glance

Successes and Actions

  • Exoskeleton EXO-O1 and Jaibot make work on construction sites easier
  • E-learning courses launched in different languages

User Health and Safety

There are still too many accidents on construction sites despite the numerous safety regulations that apply in the markets and the measures and strategies already taken by companies helping to prevent accidents. According to Eurostat, the construction sector has the highest number of occupational accidents among all sectors.

Thousands of injuries and nearly 20 percent of all annual deaths suffered by construction workers are caused by inadequate protective equipment or lack of user skills. We have been working for more than 75 years with our products and services to make work on construction sites safer. With technological innovations, we support the protection of users against dust, mechanical recoil, excessive machine vibrations and cutting injuries. This begins in the development process of our products and goes all the way to consulting and training to raise awareness in the area of user health and safety.

In the product development process, which incorporates standards such as the European Machinery Directive, we assess the ecological and health properties of a future product at an early stage. This assessment includes a variety of criteria, including vibration and dust generation. In addition, dedicated, internal consultation with the development team takes place in this phase, so that safety-relevant findings can also be incorporated from other areas of the Group. Product development only enters the next phase if all safety-relevant points have been satisfactorily clarified. This structured development approach enables products that go far beyond the legal safety requirements.

Photo: Hilti: Jahangir (Jan) Doongaji, Member of the Executive Board

We have been working for more than 75 years to make work on construction sites safer.

Jahangir (Jan) Doongaji,
Member of the Executive Board
Video: Hilti: Worker with percussion drill
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Organizational anchoring

The topic of user health and safety is on the agenda of all our business areas and is incorporated into their annual strategy processes. Using our application and ergonomics experience, we evaluate where we can improve existing products in the interests of users with regard to safety, whether we can extend existing safety solutions to new product groups and which new solutions are conceivable for greater health and safety in construction.

In addition to the business areas, our central research area “Corporate Research & Technology” in Schaan (Liechtenstein) and our “Competence Center for Health & Safety Technologies” in Kaufering (Germany) are driving user safety. For 25 years, we have been continuously examining how innovations can be implemented in this context as part of exploratory technology development.

In addition to the product monitoring obligation, our sales structure, with direct customer contact and feedback from our worldwide repair centers, enables us to collect user experiences in the handling of our products quickly, comprehensively and in a structured manner. We take this direct feedback from the market very seriously. If a complaint indicates that an injury has occurred or could potentially occur during the use of our products, the Executive Board is informed of these findings. If a product defect is detected, we communicate this to the relevant contact persons within our Group and take all necessary steps to remedy the defect. 

Even in such cases, the advantages of our quality standards and sales approach are evident: Since each Hilti product has its own serial number and is linked to the corresponding customer number, we can track almost completely which device is in use at which customer and possibly needs to be repaired or replaced.

Our goal is to meet the highest demands of users in terms of health and safety.

Photo: Hilti: Employees with helmet walking on a construction site and talking

How we specifically promote user safety

Graphic: Hilti: House with 3 Hilti dust management products as a solution for more health and safety of users on the construction site.

Our “Active Torque Control (ATC)” is an electronic solution based on the airbag system. We originally developed this for our combihammers and integrated it into a product for the first time in 2000. State-of-the-art sensors and a motor brake reduce the recoil risk by helping to prevent a device from rotating uncontrollably when jammed. With ATC, we go significantly beyond the requirements of the Machinery Directive, which only provides for a mechanical slip clutch.

Where there is construction, dust is omnipresent. Dust particles may stay in the air for a long time due to their small size and penetrate deep into the lungs. Our focus in developing solutions is to minimize user dust exposure while enabling maximum productivity.

As early as 1995, we launched the first tool on the market with an integrated “dust extraction system”. Today, 95 percent of our power tools can be used virtually dust-free. We design power tools, accessories and inserts, for example, drills, grinding wheels, cutting discs and chisels, as sophisticated systems with dust extraction, so-called Dust Removal Systems (DRS), helping to remove dust at the source and efficiently collect it with the help of powerful vacuum cleaners.

Dust management made by Hilti

Photo: Hilti: Employee applies a Hilti device to reduce dust exposure
With our system, dust is extracted directly from where it is generated: at the drilled hole. Subsequent cleaning is not necessary.

We continue to consider the effects of typical working postures and movements when using our tools, for example, overhead or above shoulder work. Preventive relief can help reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the shoulder area, one of the most common reasons for disability in the construction industry. We presented two possible solutions to this problem in 2020. Our Exoskeleton EXO-O1 may reduce the strain on the user, is easy to put on and maintains the natural range of motion in the upper body. The reduced fatigue of the muscles may enable an increase in safety, productivity and quality of work. In addition, our Jaibot semi-autonomous construction robot supports ceiling installations in particular and consequently helps to automate repetitive and physically demanding tasks. 

More information: Company Report

Photo: Hilti: Hilti device Active Torque Control

Our construction robot helps to automate
physically demanding tasks.

In addition to the various health and safety technologies, we have dedicated ourselves to raising awareness at construction sites since 2014. To this end, we have developed interactive training sessions specifically for users. The focus of all our training modules is on risk and accident reduction according to the STOP method. This means risk reduction through substitution as well as technical, organizational and personal protection measures. We currently offer more than ten different training modules, for example in the field of dust, working with angle grinders or flying sparks, and are constantly developing our portfolio further. Our wide range of training courses includes on-site training at a customer’s premises and virtual formats with our experts. Approximately 12,000 users were trained in 2020.

In addition, we launched our first e-learning courses in 2020. These flexible and fully digital formats are available in a wide variety of languages. New courses will be rolled out successively in our markets starting from 2021.

Photo: Hilti: Tablet view digital learning at Hilti
E-Learnings offer new opportunities for digital learning.