Plant workers are stressed and fearful of going back to work these days. However, they need to work and are looking at employers to help them FEEL safer going back to work each day. These are the workers that are on the line making products and fulfilling shipments. Not the workers sitting at home doing zoom meetings.
This has led to a growing emphasis on overall employee well-being. As manufacturing plants begin to resume operations, employers need to be laser focused on enhancing employee morale and a safety culture. The current situation of the pandemic has raised the bar towards two-way communication in areas of sanitization protocols, employee, and workplace safety.
This goes beyond supporting a happier, more resilient workforce. The employer must drive the plant as a destination of well-being through company-wide employee engagement. No longer is a health and Safety system controlled and managed by the safety department.
All employees now need to be engaged in observations both good and bad for immediate feedback on conditions. Incidents when they occur, for hazards and out of tolerance conditions is the responsibility of all employees to make them FEEL safer as part of the corrective action tasks. Communication and decision support is more critical than ever today in becoming an employer hero. Becoming an employer hero benefits the corporation and engaged stakeholders including customers, suppliers, logistics providers with brand loyalty, reduced lost sales, while providing a competitive advantage these days for greater sales opportunities.
There are six foundational aspects that constitute a healthy plant for employees:
- Air quality
- Water quality
- Dust and pests
- Lighting and views
- Safety and Security
Employer Hero Tools
Sensors in the workplace monitor many aspects of environmental quality, from volatile organic compounds, temperature, and humidity at a localized level. Continuous monitoring by devices ensures that equipment is performing as intended and employees FEEL safer by communicating information about plant health to occupants. IoT helps connect “smart” devices that communicate and collect data from the physical environment or employee to render predictive analytics and smart decision making.
Innovations in IoT solutions improve health and safety data collection through observations of geolocation, worksite maps, and individualized worker health data. This data is used to relieve company and employee concerns of work-related incidents and injuries. Trending both lagging and leading indicators provides accurate understanding of your safety status in a fraction of the time spent when using a spreadsheet-based system.
Improve communication to all employees using new internal Health and Safety employee communities. One client told me recently that safety is not a competition but a shared responsibility. Gauge how well you are meeting safety and compliance goals real-time using an in-app rating system and share it with employees to gather feedback and improvement ideas. When incidents do occur, leverage event notifications and alerts for quickly addressing tasks workflows and corrective actions so outstanding activities are minimized.
Training forms an integral element of any health & safety program. Now, advanced training tools take workers to the field using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to instruct workers. With AR, users hold up a mobile or tablet screen to view a live camera with overlays. AR/VR applications teach employees as they navigate the jobsite and act out various processes and procedures, thus allowing “on-the-job training” to happen anywhere.
Safety in PPE
Smart personal protective equipment is often imagined as wearable technology aiming to detect potential hazardous situations and potentially prevent workers from entering dangerous situations. For instance, sensors on your clothing could detect toxic gases and alert the employee while automatically trigger a digital incident report. Other potential applications also include location systems, communication systems (smart helmets, earmuffs, and face masks), and even remote management that monitors interactions with hazardous materials.
There is ongoing research in using eye tracking glasses for certain high-risk jobs that require a high level of concentration. These glasses can be used to identify unique visual needs required for proper training. Other health and safety innovating solutions for restricting access to dangerous work sites, daily temperature, and stress tests, controlling bicycle lane traffic, managing vehicle fleets, monitoring traffic incident scenes, can be used to make employees FEEL safer coming back to work. Safety personnel can get full visibility to the scene with advanced remote viewing capabilities.
Now take it one step further by having that data automatically pulled into a health & safety software that tracks which employee(s) are using which equipment and when to ensure that only trained and authorized personnel access the equipment. It would also maintain and gather feedback on how to improve the process, training materials, and policy documentation to ensure compliance is achieved quicker, more cost effectively and efficiently.
So, transform your organization’s Safety Program and become an Employer Hero by empowering and engaging employees with information they need to FEEL Safe. Enjoy the benefits of greater morale, increased productivity, improved feedback loops for continuous safety transformation, higher sales, increased loyalty and improved branding.