Did you know that 68% of employees worldwide said they didn't feel entirely safe at work? Safe working conditions are necessary for employees to perform their duties in any organization comfortably and safely. Health and safety are crucial considerations for all industries in order to promote and enhance the health and wellbeing of both employers and employees. Every industry faces a risk related to safety, and it is the management's responsibility to take these risks into account and ensure that their employees are secure and comfortable at all times. A good way to lessen penalties for noncompliance and protect workers is by utilizing technology for workplace safety, using video sensors and advanced analytics to track employee health and safety. Organizations can use automated health and safety monitoring to reduce their reliance on manual processes that take a lot of time and to better enforce rules and make sure their employees are safe.
This article will talk about the different ways that technology is used to make workplaces safer, as well as how technology is becoming a bigger part of making industrial and workplaces safer and more efficient.
Various technological tools for improving workplace safety
When discussing technology in the workplace, the focus is frequently on how it enhances productivity or advances IT strategies. But at work, technology can take many different forms. Working environments have become significantly safer in recent years thanks to the use of technology, but there are new, sophisticated tools that promise even better outcomes. A few examples of how technology can be used in workplace safety plans include employee training, monitoring, and reporting. Employees can use technology to raise their awareness of potential workplace dangers. Additionally, the risk related to working remotely is decreased by the technology that enables real-time collaboration between employees. Thanks to a number of new technologies, workplaces are becoming safer for both employers and employees.
Any business can benefit from investing in workplace safety technology, but those who work in physically demanding occupations like construction, transportation, warehouses, and farming may stand to gain the most:
Personal Protective Equipment Monitoring
Before COVID-19, workers in industrial settings had to wear PPE, including gloves, hard hats, vests, eye protection, and respirators. When PPE is not used, whether by employees or by the organization, it frequently goes unnoticed until after an injury has already occurred, putting the company at risk. Utilizing technology for workplace safety can significantly reduce workplace fatalities and increase productivity through the use of video monitoring and real-time analytics. By ingesting live video streams from common cameras, computer vision can identify the absence or improper use of personal protective equipment. When a safety violation is found, the video analytics platform will send email and SMS text alerts to safety supervisors to let them know about it.
With wearable technologies, it is now possible to lessen workplace injuries' severity and frequency. Four categories of wearable technology exist:
- Wearables can alert you to dangerous air quality conditions or high temperatures that could result in injuries caused by environmental hazards.
- Monitoring physiological variables like heart rate, body temperature, respiration, and others can indicate when workers are tired or stressed, making them more prone to injury.
- By being integrated into personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hardhats, these wearable technologies can be used to keep workers away from potentially hazardous areas and machinery and improve workplace safety.
- Exoskeletons and exosuits help injured workers stay safe and get back to work faster by making it easier for them to do physical tasks like lifting heavy things and standing for long periods of time.
Drones and robotics
Drones are aerial or terrestrial vehicles operated by a human controller on the ground. Drones have a long history of use in warfare and are now widely used in entertainment, film, and photography.
Companies can use drones to inspect internal and external locations, map topographic locations, and assess site potential from the perspective of industrial safety. Working at height carries a significant risk that could result in a worker casualty in many professions. When conducting material and physical examinations off the ground, drones can reduce falls to lower levels by removing the worker entirely from the elevation. Drones and other robotics can also reduce the risks associated with entering confined spaces by removing the worker from the dangerous confined space situation and replacing them with a machine.
When drones are used in the workplace, it is easier to identify how and why accidents occur so that they can be avoided in the future. Robotic technology also has the benefit of allowing a team to quickly gather data in risky situations without endangering human health, which is another benefit for workplace safety. They shield workers from potentially hazardous situations. Also, it is possible to make it easier to gather important data and send the right information to the right person at the right time.
According to the National Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace fatalities resulting from vehicle accidents at work are the main reason for workplace fatalities that could have been prevented. Driving behaviors are changing, unsafe actions can be monitored, and management interactions can be strengthened thanks to new in-vehicle technologies. These include, among others, GPS-based systems, telecommunications, the automatic stop function, and self-driving cars.
Using technology to improve workplace safety has had a significant impact on our capacity to collect and analyze safety data. Most of the process is now automated, so safety reports no longer have to be written by hand and analyzed by going through physical documents.
It can be challenging to cover all the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training topics that are necessary. Scheduling safety training at a time that is convenient for all team members can be challenging. Additionally, you must schedule make-up training sessions for absent employees. Computer-based training can be used to comply with OSHA training requirements. Additionally, the use of computer-based technology for workplace safety ensures that each employee gets the precise knowledge, training, and instruction they require. Online training also has other benefits, such as making it much simpler to test an employee's understanding of the safety topics they have learned. When this happens, you can be sure that the employees have not only learned what they need to know but also retained it.
Virtual reality (VR)
Thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, people can enter computer-generated environments and move around them as if they were physically there. Virtual reality is becoming more and more popular as a teaching and exercise tool and is one of the most influential industrial safety technologies. It's often used as a way to have fun and is used a lot in the gaming industry.
With the aid of virtual reality headsets, VR training immerses students in a 3D environment designed to deliver precise training requirements in an engaging and well-structured manner. Before they receive adequate training, workers can classify hazards and develop their abilities in their tasks while exposed to higher-risk situations.
3D visualization software
The development of 3D representation programming can help employees become more aware of the risks in their workplace environments. By taking a picture with two points, the product produces similar images. This tool has outstanding focal points for worker training sessions in a variety of weather conditions. Worker safety can be improved by using 3D representation software to simulate working conditions and workplace settings. It can also tell managers what safety equipment and supplies workers will need to keep from getting hurt.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Let's first discuss how AI fits into the manufacturing sector before getting into the specifics. Well, AI combines a number of potent technologies. Each AI model is only as effective as the machine learning foundation it is built upon. ML is the process of using complex software to look at a lot of data to find mistakes, spot trends, and learn more about the whole production cycle.
Once the ML system has identified problems, AI can make suggestions for the best course of action. Although it imitates human behavior, it is much better equipped to manage multiple inputs and find solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. When it comes to workplace safety, AI can use the Internet of Things, or IoT, to ten-fold reduce risks and contribute to the creation of a safer working environment.
AI is rapidly making its way into a wide range of industries. It has already proven to be a potent injury prevention tool and is used in manufacturing, mining, and other hazardous industries. Here are some advantages it offers in real life.
Reducing Human Error
It turns out that worker injuries at the workplace are primarily caused by human error. Even a small mistake can put other people in danger and cause downtime that could cost millions of dollars.
Employee stress or fatigue are the two main causes of workplace accidents. 40% of US workers report having trouble keeping up with their workload, which undoubtedly results in dangerous errors. However, since AI never gets tired, it never makes mistakes. With the right ML model and IoT, you can find dangerous areas, tell when a worker is tired, and warn people about possible dangers before they happen.
It is merely a tool that you can use to set up a secure workplace. By doing that, you'll not only make your employees feel safer but also optimize your entire manufacturing process and prevent any downtime brought on by human error.
Automatization of risky tasks
Production robots can be replaced and made more efficient by AI and ML. AI has the ability to replace all robotic production and use automation to carry out the riskiest tasks in hazardous environments where humans would otherwise perish. For many years now, robots have been used to examine hazardous situations.
They are capable of going into dangerous situations and reporting back to someone who is in a secure location. For example, the use of drones in the construction industry has grown a lot in the past few years. This is because drones make reporting and evaluating sites much safer.
Drones also provide a different viewpoint, enabling people to discover problems they otherwise would not be able to. Actually, drones increase the safety of every inspection job. Roof inspectors no longer need to ascend to the roof to conduct inspections. Drones not only increase overall efficiency but also help to improve safety.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Small sensors are used by the Internet of Things (IoT), a cutting-edge smart system, to track everything from individual machines to entire production lines, workers, and everything else. After installing the sensors, the ML model monitors each component separately, identifies any potential risks, and then suggests remedies. AI is able to identify health risks and alert you before anything goes wrong because it has a remarkable capacity for forecasting future trends.
To reduce potential risks, you can configure predictive alerts and notifications across the board. Depending on the industry, such a system may be able to save lives and prevent serious accidents.
Mining, the production of heavy metals, and other hazardous manufacturing processes can be made much safer. For instance, employees who work long hours in sweltering heat can use wearable sensors to track their heart rates, body temperatures, etc. The sensor will alert the wearer whenever it detects a danger, allowing them to avoid injury.
IoT offers outstanding advantages in a variety of industries and allows for complete customization to meet particular industry needs. The system is used for contact tracing in addition to hazard detection to reduce employee disease transmission. Now that you are aware of how AI contributes to a safe workplace, it is time to examine the advantages it offers.