As safety experts, we frequently assess the effects of internal policies and regulatory changes on the safety of our employees. Every year, OSHA spends hundreds of millions of dollars enforcing these laws, and advocacy groups advocate for improvements in how companies and employees interact.
Nonetheless, many of the recent safety gains are the result of technology developments rather than policy changes. A safer workforce has been made possible by safer tools, automation, and information technology. Simultaneously, some of these technologies have introduced new risks that we must seek to prevent.
Many machines have improved or replaced human labor, from speedier hand tools to assembly line robots. Most of the time, these machines make labor safer. Drones and robots do dangerous duties, while hand-operated technology enables workers to complete things more quickly, effectively, and with less risk.
Greater efficiency, however, comes at a cost. Powerful machines consume significantly more energy in far less time than human employees, and if that energy is not properly handled, it can lead to tragedy. Consider the consequences of a chainsaw accident versus a handsaw accident. Bigger rewards come with greater hazards, and today's machinery necessitates well-thought-out safety policies for the personnel who utilize it.
Communication that is timely and dependable saves lives. Workers can convey dangers via walkie-talkies and portable phones, and wearables and other monitoring devices inform adjacent people when a lone worker falls.
Within large enterprises, information technology has also eased communication between stakeholders and job sites. New rules, procedures, and danger notices can be distributed in seconds, alerting all staff to the risks they face.
CONCERNS ABOUT SECURITY
Of course, there are risks associated with information technology and the shift toward digital record-keeping. A power outage or computer malfunction in a paperless setting might block communication for hours or days at a time. Electronic systems are also vulnerable to viruses and penetration, putting databases, customer confidentiality, and worker privacy at risk. Finally, the more advanced your digital records are, the stronger your network security must be.
Accidents are frequently caused by a lack of sufficient training. However, paper-based training and record-keeping systems can make staying up to date on individual workers' training needs nearly difficult. These inconveniences are eliminated by computer-based training systems. You can check everyone's training progress from a central location and send out automatic alerts to employees who are falling behind with the correct training and management software. If required, you can even notify supervisors that a person should be removed from a job until they have undergone the essential safety training.
DATA APPLICATION FOR SAFETY
Last but not least, the ability to gather, analyze, and synthesize data has had a significant impact on worker safety. You can save all of your incident reports in a centralized repository with the correct incident and investigation software, and different stakeholders can view and amend the information. With all of your records digitally preserved, you can then track trends and pinpoint which hazards are causing the most harm. Just as merchants use big data to better sell to customers, you can utilize it to develop targeted training programmes and policy changes that have a long-term impact.