Technology has become an essential aspect of almost all industries, speeding up processes and improving efficiency. On the other hand, technology isn’t one size fits all. What works for one industry won’t work for another, especially when it comes to safety.
Plus, in recent times, more people have started working alone, which poses a unique safety challenge. These lone workers may be in environments where they cannot be easily seen, making it crucial to ensure their safety.
Several technologies are available to create a safer and healthier workplace for lone workers. These include machine guards, safety management technology, ergonomic improvements, training technology, and tour guard systems.
We’ve crafted a catch-all list that summarizes the main ways modern technology can improve workplace safety. Explore the below options and consider which ones are important for your industry.
1. Training Software
Lack of training on how to use equipment properly is the most common reason for workplace injury. It’s your responsibility to train and teach all of your staff how to use the equipment you have on site safely.
Advancements in Virtual Reality, or VR, technology can help you better train your staff. With the right tools, you can take a virtual tour of your work environment without setting a foot on site. During this tour, you can practice using tools and equipment via simulation. It’ll feel real, but there’s no risk to you or your employees as you learn.
VR is a fantastic way to learn how to work safely with machinery and equipment before working with it in real life, which will prevent accidents and injuries. Plus, the idea of using VR is novel and will be easy and exciting to use in the workplace. It’s a win-win situation for you and your employer.
2. IoT Technology
The Internet of Things (IoT) may sound like a science fiction concept, and in a way, it is! The IoT is a network of interconnected devices that, when utilized safely, can revolutionize the way we live and work. This includes everything from your smartphone to the machines you use at work. With IoT, the devices you use can work together and provide you with information faster than ever.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to get a text on your phone when there’s a problem with the wiring in one of your tools?
When used in the workplace, IoT can prevent accidents, reduce costs, and boost efficiency. As mentioned above, equipment misuse and malfunctions are a common cause of accidents, but with IoT, you can observe the functionality of your machinery in real time. It’ll be a lot easier to note hazards and correct them before the machine becomes dangerous.
IoT sensors can be placed on machines. From there, they can detect temperature, vibration, and pressure. If something is off, they’ll alert maintenance teams. Quick notification allows these problems to be fixed quickly before they worsen and become a threat to safety.
3. Wearable Technology
Wearable technology is a game-changer when it comes to workplace safety. There are devices you can wear around your wrist or neck that will monitor your vitals in hazardous work environments. Some of the stats these devices can take are your body temperature, pulse oxygen, and heart rate. Should your vitals dip or increase into a danger zone, the wearable will inform your employer of your condition, even if you’re not able to.
This technology can also check an area for hazards and alert workers if conditions become unsafe. These devices can detect radiation, hazardous chemicals, and dangerous substances while providing a real time warning before workers in the area recognize there’s a problem.
Moreover, wearable technology also facilitates communication and collaboration between workers and supervisors. With instant alerts and notifications, supervisors can respond quickly to potential safety risks and take appropriate action.
Drones are incredibly versatile remote-controlled robots that can be used for surveillance in the workplace. In fact, they’re becoming increasingly popular in higher-risk tasks as a way to avoid injuries.
By using drones, you can analyze an area before starting to work there. You’ll be able to take a look at your work area ahead of time and take safety precautions, if any are needed, before you get started on your work.
Adding drones to your workplace provides you with valuable tools for improving safety and preventing accidents on the job.
5. Hands Free Communication
While “panic buttons” and emergency alarms are fantastic to have on site, they aren’t always feasible, as you may not be able to reach the button to hit it in an emergency. Workers won’t need to pull out their phones and dial a number if they’re in a precarious situation, or even if their hands are full and they’re waiting on further direction.
Having a hands free communication system is a guaranteed way to improve the overall safety of your workplace. These devices often rest on the shoulder, arm, or back. Some may have headsets with microphones, so you’re able to speak to an entire room without using your hands to activate an intercom or hold a handheld microphone.
These systems were designed primarily for giving tours, but have become increasingly popular as a safety measure. They also usually come with earphones or additional headsets. If you’re in a noisy environment, others will be able to hear you right in their ears, where they can adjust the volume to their own preferences. Moreover, the incorporation of noise-reducing headsets offers a significant advantage in such an environment. By effectively diminishing background noise, these headsets ensure clearer communication, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and enhancing the ability to focus on important instructions.
This feature is especially beneficial in environments where ambient noise can be a distraction or even a hazard, further bolstering the safety aspect of these systems.
6. Safety Cameras
Surveillance systems, particularly safety cameras, have become increasingly important in ensuring workplace safety. By constantly monitoring the workplace, safety cameras can quickly identify potential safety hazards and risks before they cause harm to employees, visitors, or property.
For instance, safety cameras can be strategically placed in high-risk areas, such as production lines or construction sites, to detect signs of danger that may jeopardize workplace safety.
Moreover, safety cameras can help manage high-risk areas by providing real-time feedback to employees and management. For example, suppose a workplace area is experiencing high levels of traffic or congestion. In that case, a safety camera can detect this and alert the management, who can then manage the situation and prevent accidents or injuries.
7. Safety Apps
Smartphone apps have become convenient for assessing, improving, and monitoring workplace safety. These apps offer features that allow evaluating working conditions, including identifying potential safety hazards such as noise and safe lifting practices.
When a hazardous sign is detected, these apps provide an alert, enabling swift action to halt operations and implement necessary safety measures. Moreover, certain apps are designed to help businesses ensure compliance with safety protocol regulations, adding an extra layer of protection.
These apps are easily accessible on your mobile device, which ensures you and your employer are aware of your surroundings and risks.
8. Automated Safety Systems
Automated safety systems, such as sprinklers, fire alarms, and emergency lifting systems, ensure workplace safety during emergencies. Depending on the technology you choose to use, these systems can be triggered manually or automatically- or, ideally, both.
The emergency stop is a commonly used automated safety system. When engaged, users can immediately halt any operations that may threaten their safety.
Unlike traditional safety systems that rely on visible hazard signs, the emergency stop is always available for use and does not require any indication of a hazardous event to be activated.
Technology has significantly impacted every aspect of our lives, including workplace safety. It’s essential- and federal law- to ensure your workplace is equipped with the right tools and protocols to keep you safe and secure.
Depending on your workplace’s safety needs, different technological tools are available to help. For example, some tools can monitor your health and alert you if you’re undergoing any physical stress.
Implement and install these technologies to reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer working environment.