Published on July 8th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan0
Using Technology to Prevent Injuries in the Workplace
Besides enhancing productivity and obtaining more accurate data, technology is instrumental in preventing injuries in the workplace. Many companies are prone to workplace injuries and they need to implement innovative technological solutions to ensure the safety of their employees. On top of minimizing workplace injuries and fatalities, investing in the right technology helps companies remain OSHA compliant. Workplace ergonomics, wearable devices, exoskeleton technology, artificial intelligence, and drones and robotics are some of the modern technological advancements that can significantly improve employee safety in the workplace.
Benefits of Implementing Safety Technologies in the Workplace
Companies can find innovative ways to track, profile, and prevent workplace injuries by taking advantage of the latest safety technologies. They can benefit from the ever-evolving safety technologies in many ways. A safer workplace leads to an improvement in the overall equipment effectiveness, a reduction in unanticipated downtime, and an extremely lower rate of injuries and/or fatalities. Companies shouldn’t remain fixated on outdated ways of addressing workplace safety problems. Instead, they should invest in new, affordable technologies.
Latest Workplace Safety Technologies
Numerous studies have shown that ergonomics is an important part of any effective workplace safety program. Since workers spend a significant part of their workday seated on a desk, ergonomics contributes to a significant number of work-related ailments and injuries. Staying in a sedentary, seated position for significantly long periods can affect a worker’s overall health, reduce blood flow, and slow digestion. Similarly, computer equipment that doesn’t meet modern ergonomic standards can result in chronic pain and soreness.
A competent ergonomist can assess each worker’s workstation, identify risk areas that often result in musculoskeletal complications, and put in place a technology solution that effectively resolves the problem. Equipping an office with better desk chairs, comfortable standing desk tools that promote better posture, and user-friendly keyboards that perfectly suit the natural angle of every employee’s wrist can help an employer create an ergonomic workplace.
Many companies, particularly those that have already implemented some form of artificial intelligence (AI), are using wearable tech devices to enhance their safety programs. A perfect example of wearable devices that companies can offer their workers is outfits or shirts capable of measuring biological data. These outfits or shirts utilize a physiology-based technique to help a trained ergonomist identify exactly where and how severe the stress on the employee’s body is.
Using this data, managers can reorganize the job task and eliminate those stress factors. Other wearable tech devices, such as wrist monitors, gather useful ergonomic data by analyzing the physical traits and job responsibilities of workers. They collect worker-specific data that can be useful in identifying and solving ergonomic problems. Wrist monitors can help fight exhaustion in the workplace by reporting employee behavior and offering warnings when exhaustion is about to happen. Due to their ability to monitor employee behavior in real-time, these wearable devices can also help managers and immediate supervisors determine when an employee is operating equipment under the influence.
Exoskeleton technology may seem or even sound futuristic, but scientists across the globe are seriously studying it as a potential personal protective equipment (PPE) tool. This technology is extremely valuable in high-risk workplaces, such as warehouses and construction sites, where workers must consistently pull, push, and lift.
Employers spend about $15 billion every year to address overexertion injuries in the workplace. Implementing the exoskeleton technology that boosts human strength while protecting the wearer from sprains and strains is a reliable way to significantly reduce overexertion injuries and their associated costs in the workplace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is taking workplace safety a notch higher as it keeps getting better. This technology is useful in minimizing workplace accidents. Currently, many AI-based software programs that can accurately gather observation data from the worksite are available. These software programs create a profile for each task leveraging the observation data. Managers can then use this information to identify risk factors and get rid of them before they harm the workers.
AI-powered systems can create an effective scheduling program to help employees avoid fatigue. They can also constantly monitor job sites, identify potential workplace risks, and promptly alert managers.
Drones and Robotics
Drones and robotics may have been common in the industrial and manufacturing sectors for decades, but they are now quickly becoming the go-to workplace safety solution. Drones in particular are turning out to be an indispensable facet of safety programs, particularly at outdoor sites that carry significantly higher risks of injuries and fatalities compared to indoor environments. When drones are combined with AI technology, they can significantly boost safety in workplaces by eliminating risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and reporting employee behavior to prevent chronic pain and exhaustion.
Robots can effectively prevent injuries or serious health conditions caused by working in risky conditions. They can also keep various risks in emergency response circumstances, including chemical spills, away. On top of boosting workers’ safety, robots can also reduce risks associated with human error. If a task is repetitive and tedious, employees are highly likely to make mistakes. Robots, however, can perform the same tasks repeatedly and deliver accurate results every time.
The Bottom Line
Technology should be an essential part of any safety program that seeks to prevent injuries and fatalities in the workplace. On top of enhancing employee safety, implementing innovative safety technologies offers a better return on investment (ROI) and a strong financial outlook for employers. By combining the latest safety technologies with other methods, like safety committees, ergonomic training, and old-school walk-around observations, companies can empower their employees to be responsible for their safety and well-being.
Cover Photo by Diana Polekhina