Safety innovation: Photo-logging
SHP continues its series on safety technology innovation. Again, we’re in the capable hands of Airsweb Product Development Director, Rob Leech, this time leaning about its mobile application, Airlens.
The idea for AirLens came about following a discussion with a construction client which, on completion of a job, was often left frustrated at bits of scaffolding, bags of cement, or other products left over around the site or in storage hangers. “They’d usually just been forgotten about when the job was finished and, although they didn’t present an out and our health and safety risk, it was a housekeeping issue and is not ideal for quality or conformance,” said Rob.
“The client wanted a way to quickly log something that wasn’t up to the quality or high standards of the level the company was trying to achieve. He wanted an easy way to take a photograph to send to someone as a reminder to do something about it.”
Another client was looking for a way to give to its drivers a way to communicate hazardous delivery areas or parking spots. Whilst they may not get into the habit of filling out paperwork to report the concern, they may be more likely to take a quick photo on their phone and send it off for assessment.
AirLens is a mobile application not dissimilar to Instagram, designed for fringe workers who may not be familiar with an organisation’s internal systems. If they spot something that doesn’t look right, they quickly take a photo and send it in to a central hub where it is monitored by a co-ordinator who can be on the lookout for trends or patterns in the images and can act accordingly.
This action could be raising an incident, highlighting a potential risk, or creating a learning event. The photos in the library are mapped and can be grouped into areas of hazards or issue hot spots. From this, a tool box talk can be created to focus on things which need to be improved. “AirLens captures the gap between risk perception and risk reality. It highlights things that don’t immediately look like a problem, but in reality, if the site is walked, you would flag these as low-level issues.”
“AirLens spotlights these hazards, even if it’s something very minor that doesn’t warrant a near miss. Crucially, because of the level of simplicity, you don’t need training,” Rob added. It is a simple process, as straight forward as taking a photo on your phone, but one that provides the engagement needed when trying to integrate people who would not normally take the time to report something.
Rob’s clients pointed out the importance of having that level of communication and ‘shining the torch in areas that are out of eyesight’. The output was then a learning event, being able to share the attitudes and experiences of people and coach them.
AirLens capitalises on the familiarity and regularity of people taking photos on their phone and puts it to use in a safety scenario. Being able to spot something that doesn’t look right, quickly photograph it, tag it and report it, should you have the app – which can be easily downloaded.
Summing up, Rob reinforced the aim of trying to address quality within an organisation and the “improved communication of the risk reality. It’s not so much risk perception, it’s risk reality. It’s all well and good what people are saying, but these are photographs of the real world.”
The future of the product is to integrate machine learning to help analysis of potentially hazardous areas.
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