How is technology changing safety in the workplace?
Author: Brendan Clayton Date Posted:31 October 2016
It is totally changing the world that we operate in, and those of us in the safety industry need to embrace change, so how is digital changing the way we operate in the safety industry? The safety industry has a lot to gain. We live in a digital world, change is inevitable, so how is safety in the workplace affected by technology and what does the future look like
We live a digital world, in a world where there are more mobile phones than people.
It is totally changing the world that we operate in, and those of us in the safety industry need to embrace change, so how is digital changing the way we operate in the safety industry?
The safety industry has a lot to gain. From apps, eLearning, virtual reality and wearables, savvy companies are making use of the latest technologies to up their safety game.
Some of these technologies are;
'Augmented Reality Height Safety App' - launched by Master Builders NSW and SafeWork NSW a new augmented reality height safety app is now available for those who work at heights, check it out at http://www.provisual.com.au/working-at-heights.html?platform=hootsuite
Other apps that we are starting to see used in the safety industry include noise meters for hearing protection situations.
‘Virtual Reality (VR)’
VR puts the user into a 3D computer generated reality through the use of a special headset, this creates interesting opportunities in the safety industry. Imagine a new team member being able to experience a hazardous environment or situation without actually being put in harm's way.
Whilst VR is a technology in its early stages and may be cost prohibitive for many at present some savvy companies around the world are starting to embrace this technology for its unique safety benefits,
A company called Arithmetica has recently created a VR simulation of a hazardous working environment using a SphereVision 360 degree video recording and production system. Designed to support health and safety training at Cape PLC an international leader of industrial services to the energy and resource sectors to read more on this visit www.spherevision.com/2016/01/virtual-reality-app-helps-keep-industrial-workers-safe/
The UNSW National Institute For Experimental Arts and Brookfield Multiplex also worked on a project together using virtual reality technologies for safety training in the high risk construction industry in Australia.
We have all seen what waves companies like FitBit have made in the fitness industry in the use of wearable devices to measure fitness, how could the safety industry benefit from wearable technologies?
Some exciting new wearable devices for the safety industry include the;
Bi-Tad Alcohol Monitor which is worn on the ankle and provides continuous alcohol monitoring by measuring the level of alcohol in perspiration.
Smart Cap which is a fatigue monitoring cap excellent for keeping truck drivers safe and provides a discreet way to store electronics. The Smart Cap works using small EEG sensors that pick up electric signals from the brain which is then analysed to determine the drowsiness level using the EdenSafe Universal Fatigue Algorithm.
Daqri Safety Helmet (Pictured on this article) brings advanced wearable technology to augment and assist the industrial worker. This wearable device has several sensors and cameras to provide 360 degrees of vision and uses this to provide relevant and useful information. DAQRI has created an augmented reality and display tracking system called Intellitrack™, providing the user with unprecedented levels of information about the hazards around them.
We are also starting to see in the US and Europe wearable safety devices measuring body temperatures, tracking remote staff and also remotely accessing wearable glasses so someone remotely can view what the wearer is seeing.
The safety industry has a lot to gain through technology and we need to all embrace these changes as they become available to keep at the top of our industry and provide those we are responsible for maximum safety, I once heard a great quote “When you are finished changing, you are finished” so let’s embrace technology changes in the industry.