Scott Gaddis at Intelex completes his mini-series on what OSH professionals need to look out for in 2024.
Over the past two years, various emerging technologies have introduced changes to the EHS landscape, leaving some professionals grappling to understand their potential. Yet, the impact these technologies are having is exciting for the EHS industry.
CREDIT: Quality Stock/Alamy Stock Photo
Historically, understanding complex EHS data has been a challenge. However, advanced analytics tools now process and visualise intricate datasets concisely, empowering decision-makers to identify trends, patterns, and improvements. This aligns with how most of us envision our work in EHS and we can now start to do it faster and much better as we advance.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT), particularly connected hardware devices, is a key player in the technological revolution reshaping EHS. From wearable sensors to smart environmental monitoring systems, IoT facilitates real-time monitoring and data collection, redefining our ability to control the work environment. For example, wearables like smart helmets, health trackers, and gas detectors enable continuous surveillance of environmental conditions and worker health. These devices provide immediate alerts, ensuring quick responses to emergencies, minimising accidents, and promoting employee well-being. GPS-enabled wearables enhance emergency response by offering precise location information during critical situations. Whilst posture sensors and fall detection capabilities further enhance workplace safety.
By harnessing data analytics, organisations gain valuable insights from wearables and sensors, enabling informed decision-making, regulatory compliance, and ongoing improvements to safety protocols.
Computer Vision and Camera Analytics
To create a safe workplace, organisations need to prevent safety incidents before they happen. That means collecting data from observations, behaviours and inspections to help safety practitioners understand the leading indicators that result in injuries or fatalities. However, in many organisations, that data is collected only if workers see the conditions in person. If it isn’t observed, it isn’t recorded.
Computer vision and camera analytics overcome this challenge by integrating with an organisation’s existing CCTV infrastructure to capture and analyse video footage of unsafe conditions in the workplace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, looking for even the most minor conditions that could aggregate into an incident. The more data you get about observations and conditions in the workplace, the more effective your safety culture will be.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are changing the way organisations approach training, risk assessment and incident response. They allow workers to simulate and practice emergency scenarios, ensuring they are prepared to handle real-life situations without exposing themselves to actual risks. AR and VR can also be integrated with IoT devices to provide real-time monitoring of environmental conditions and worker well-being. This integration allows immediate response to potential hazards and ensures that safety protocols are tailored.
As organisations continue to explore the possibilities of these technologies, careful consideration of integration challenges, cybersecurity and user acceptance will be crucial for realising the full potential of AR and VR in creating safer and more efficient workplaces.
Digitising and centralising data still poses challenges in connecting information from various streams. Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a real game-changer to address these shortfalls. AI can identify potential EHS concerns, learn from experiences, and make decisions. Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, analyses data and enables better decision-making. These predictive modelling tools evolve through experience, amplifying precision and effectiveness.
With AI and ML, EHS practitioners can expand their scope of data collection, including incident and accident details, occupational health records, environmental monitoring data, compliance documentation and more. This wealth of diverse data empowers EHS professionals to identify hazards, track compliance, enhance emergency preparedness and cultivate a safety-conscious culture.
Find out more…
Click here to read Scott’s first article in the series on tech’s potential impact on workforce training.
Click here to read Scott’s second in the series on using tech to navigate legislation and regulation.
Click here to listen to the on-demand webinar, Increase Safety Engagement for Frontline Workers: How to Unlock a Culture of Safety with Mobile Digital Devices, in association with Intelex.
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