22nd Jul, 2020 Read time 3 minutes

The potential applications and benefits of drones in health and safety

The adoption and development of new technologies have helped in the management of workplace health and safety tremendously in recent years. Greater sophistication of tech in the form of wearables and Artificial Intelligence has given new powers to health and safety managers who can now develop solutions which would have not been thought possible in the past.

Drones are often thought of as devices that are great for filming, however, many providers have now developed drones that are made for specific health and safety purposes. Here are some of the different applications of drones in health and safety.


  1. Drones can be used to monitor dangerous areas without human interaction

Often in the past human interaction has been needed to perform work in dangerous situations. This can include working at height and in other extreme environments. Naturally, this exposes workers to potentially dangerous environments.

The use of a drone helps to mitigate this issue. Drones may not be as susceptible to the hazards and should a serious incident occur, the results will be far less serious. In addition to the lowered risk, Drones can also reach areas that human workers would not be able to. This can include small spaces and areas of low oxygen levels.


  1. Drones can instantly transmit information, removing some human erro

Another benefit of drones is that they are much less susceptible to human error than standard workers. This reduces the chances of the data they collect being incorrect. This could greatly improve health and safety particularly if the metrics being collected are safety-critical issues. In many instances, the speed at which information can be delivered is often the distance between a serious incident and a near miss.


  1. Hazardous and toxic environments can be reached with drones

Working in toxic environments is a reality for many employees, and whilst not all work can be carried out by a drone, some of the reconnaissance work certainly could. Again, this helps to reduce the exposure to risk for employees and improve the health and safety of the whole process.


  1. Routine survey work can be carried out by drones

Another potential application of drones is the use of technology to help carry out routine and laborious survey work. This could be particularly useful on construction sites where routine checks can often take up a lot of site manager’s time. If this work could be carried out by drones it would leave more time for site managers and other health and safety professionals to focus on activities that could better promote the safety of the whole workplace.


  1. Drones can be used to track hazardous diseases

In addition to the health and safety specific applications of drones, they can also be very helpful in wider healthcare. Drone monitoring has been used as a way to track the spread of diseases and the nature of the outbreak. Drones are also good for gathering information on the number of patients that may need treatment.


Proper risk assessments need to be carried out when operating drones

While drones have a wide range of potentially game-changing applications in health and safety, the risks have to be considered before any considerable use. With that in mind, if you are considering using a drone in your workplace, make sure you include it as part of a full risk assessment so that all of the potential dangers are outline. These can include injury, aircraft disturbance and damage to property.


HSE Network
Article by: HSE Network

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