Safety is taking to the air. Increasingly, safety professionals are using drones for traditional safety operations to measure and detect potential hazards.
My wife bought me a drone for Christmas – coolest present ever! The minute the battery was charged, we took to the skies. After a few bumpy starts (good thing the propellers have guards! – kind of like training wheels on your first bike…), I began to master hovering. Soon I was flying my little aircraft around our small clearing, more or less where I wanted it to go, having the drone’s built-in camera relay photos and video back to the drone app on my phone. Clearly there is an opportunity to become a real neighborhood pest for users not restrained by a sense of decorum!
Drones on the Work Site
Last July, we wrote about the use of drones by OSHA to facilitate inspections, but that was a very narrow view of the opportunities opening up for this technology. As I began learning how my drone works, I was consumed with ideas about using drones in company operations in various industries. It turns out that you can buy sensors for drones that can detect and measure all kinds of things such as temperature, heat sources, gases, particulates and water to name a few. You can also conduct infrastructure inspections, survey crops and crop condition in agriculture, and monitor livestock or people in remote areas.
Drone Regulations to Follow
Generally, recreational drone pilots don’t need to be licensed, but must abide by these basic rules:
- Stay below the maximum allowable altitude, typically 400 feet above ground level.
- Maintain visual line of sight – you should always be able to see your drone directly.
- Don’t fly over people – no hovering over the pool or beach.
- Fly in accordance with community-based guidelines – if your town doesn’t have any rules, just follow the FAA regulations.
- Don’t fly after dark, defined as from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Drones for Safety Professionals
Depending on what your company does and where you do it, you might find yourself starting to think about ways in which a small, remote-controlled aircraft can help you be faster, safer and more productive.