From hard hats to wearable technology, workplace safety innovations have come a long way in the last 100+ years. And there’s no reason to expect a slowdown anytime soon. If anything, safety will advance over the next decade, taking advantage of innovations in other areas to make new breakthroughs happen. Many safety advances are likely to be sparked by new applications of existing technologies or by novel combinations of advancing technologies.
As I scan the safety landscape, four trends stand out that will fundamentally change the way we manage risk and keep people safe.
Behavior-based safety theorizes that employees face thousands of choices every day. They choose between a safe and an unsafe approach. What if we can apply technology to guide that choice at the decision point?
Imagine that as worker, Emily, enters a facility, her cellphone buzzes. As she looks at the screen, a message pops up: “Welcome to our facility, Emily.”
The phone recognizes her and confirms she is an employee and is up to date on safety training. Another message gives her a briefing about two recent safety incidents.
She’s asked a few questions about the causes of those incidents. To confirm her understanding, she must pick an answer about the risks from a multiple-choice question. Once completed, she is reminded to be alert for overhead lifts and to mind the “green mile” for where she is allowed to walk. The program registers her responses into a learning management system (LMS).
This technology is possible today borrowing from the world of retail.
Using locator beams, we can generate safety messages and broadcast them to employees through their personal electronic devices. These messages can remind employees to make safe choices, or alert them to specific hazards.EHS Today