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  • Writer's pictureNafasi Za Angani South Africa

How Drones Have Made Strides To Enhance Health and Safety.

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Due to the negative connotation associated with them, it is no surprise that people react negatively/ find themselves uncomfortable in the presence of a drone- especially in instances where they have not been afforded the liberty of being notified of the hovering UAVs. It is widely known that drones were, originally, built for military purposes; used as weapons. Apart from these known properties possessed by drones, there is also an issue of violation of privacy- which people have responded to by attacking/ shooting at drones, because of the negativity previously tied to them.

In a positive turn of events, drones have made their way into an extensive amount of civilian use (one such use is the delivery/ transportation of medical supplies achieved through drones during the Covid 19 pandemic) - they are used for a vast number of functions, such as the monitoring of climate change, assisting in search and resuscitation operations, and they are highly favoured in the filming and photography industry. This article will, however, focus on drones from a health and safety point of view, particularly where site inspections are concerned. One sector that took the lead in taking advantage of the benefits of drone technology is the construction industry/ sector. It is this move that has cemented drones as a vital tool for the improvement of construction site safe

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Traditional construction methods made use of extensive labour for inspections and supervisions. These meant heightened risks/ safety hazards for workers, as they were prone to accidents and/ or injuries encountered at heights. Drones eradicate such hazards/ risks because project owners/ site managers can use them to gather all the information required by surveyors. Apart from eradicating safety issues, drones can IDENTIFY potential safety issues on site- their ability to monitor large construction sites and track moving objects such as workers, equipment and material makes this possible.

With higher levels of accuracy and efficiency, drones can inspect a large construction site more accurately, efficiently and quickly than a ground team can.

An orthophoto of a construction site (Tembisa Mall) captured using a drone.


International literature indicates that the total Certificate of Authenticity exceeds the cost of Health and Safety and therefore, Health and Safety is, in essence, a profit centre. Furthermore, the business case for Health and Safety is enhanced by the fact that Health and Safety is the catalyst for enhanced performance relative to cost, the

environment, productivity, quality, and schedule.


On a major construction project, the schedule can include numerous activities just for a couple of week’s work. Each has numerous underlying tasks, varying dependencies, and a different level of importance. Health and Safety is the fourth and final phase in this overall process, and the following are the phases that precede this phase:

Project Manager- provides visibility into current progress, schedule and project execution data across stakeholders.

Architects- brings forth the ability to visualise and analyse progress performance against that which is planned.

Land Surveyor- Responsible for designing the finalisation and completion of the project.

True visibility comes from understanding- by all relevant project participants- of how all these above-mentioned parts fit together, the time and resource that they require, any external factors which might affect the project, and how construction is likely to play out.

For a broader breakdown of the services/ products that Nafasi Za Angani has to offer in this regard, visit

Drone pilots have made formidable strides in using drones to facilitate the shift from the negative connotation drones were formerly associated with, to the positive offerings that are currently on offer today. Furthermore, it is evident that the use of drones for health and safety purposes is clearly beneficial in reducing exposure to risk, and increasing efficiency, in the construction setting. The introduction of drones into these settings means that traditionally higher risk activities, which require a considerable amount of time to plan and prepare can be performed much more quickly and safely.

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