October 12, 2023

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Artificial Intelligence? It’s already happening

Kevin Barr, Head of HSEQ at Group Metropolitan, says AI is here to stay and it’s here to help.

The world is changing rapidly, and we stand at a critical juncture where our decisions today will shape the future of our industry. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key factor in this transformation. It’s not a distant concept; it’s a powerful tool available to us right now. We have a choice to either embrace its transformative potential or risk falling behind in a future that is already upon us.

As a child, I was fascinated by science fiction and the idea of how AI could influence the future. Some portrayals were positive, while others were frightening. However, we still tend to talk about AI as if it’s a future prospect rather than an integral part of our daily lives and work.

AI is not confined to the realm of science fiction; it’s a tangible force that is reshaping how we operate in HSEQ. I’ve witnessed AI in action through cameras that can autonomously detect violations; AI-based risk assessment tools, and even AI-driven safety communication systems.

AI can free us from the burden of repetitive and administrative tasks that have long plagued our industry. In my role as the Head of HSEQ at Group Metropolitan, I’ve seen first hand the hours wasted on data entry, report generation, and other labour-intensive activities. While these tasks are necessary, they often divert our focus from the people we are trying to keep safe. We are not a data function but a people one.

With AI handling routine tasks, we can redirect our efforts towards proactive measures that enhance workplace safety and well-being.

AI offers a solution to this inefficiency. It can automate these mundane tasks, returning valuable time and resources to us. By doing so, it not only enhances our productivity but also reduces the risk of human error, a critical factor in ensuring safety. With AI handling routine tasks, we can redirect our efforts towards proactive measures that enhance workplace safety and well-being.

Hands of robot and human touching on global virtual network connection future interface. Artificial intelligence technology concept.One concrete example of AI in our field is the AI-powered Toolbox Talk Generator developed by HandsHQ. This groundbreaking tool utilises generative AI to create customised, interactive toolbox talks. Its emphasis on customisation, interactivity, and efficiency makes it an indispensable resource for modern safety practices. AI in HSEQ is not a vision of the future; it’s a reality today.

Furthermore, AI is not limited to generating text-based content. It’s pioneering new territory by producing engaging safety messages in video format based on input text. These videos are not only informative but also captivating, bridging the gap between communication and comprehension among employees.

I firmly believe that as an industry we must embrace AI as another tool on our belts. Whether it is ChatGPT writing a document or the soon-to-be-released Copilot from Microsoft creating complete PowerPoint presentations. What AI cannot do is understand people and in this new age of AI our work must become more focused on people a less on paperwork.

Let’s not hesitate at this crucial moment. Instead, let’s embrace it with determination and open arms. AI is not a choice for the future; it’s a choice for the present. By embracing its advantages, we can chart a safer and healthier path forward. The future has arrived, and it’s time to make AI our partner in shaping it.

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