Safety Technology Trends to Watch Out For in 2023
Over the years, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been reiterating the importance of continuous improvement (CI) and proactive risk management when it comes to workplace safety and employee health. This approach not only helps with meeting compliance requirements but also going “beyond compliance” to use safety performance as a tool to drive business and financial progress.
While businesses have been following the Plan, Do, Check, and Act (PDCA) approach to constantly improve safety performance – manual methods are a drain on resources, slower to achieve the desired goals, and can also be ineffective due to the introduction of human errors.
With technology, businesses have been able to improve end-to-end safety management workflows. Industry 4.0 technologies such as the cloud, IoT, AI/ML, and analytics have further eased the process of continuous improvement of safety metrics.
Today, safety leaders have greater access to data and insights – to make data-driven decisions around workplace safety. They have the tools to automate workflows, take corrective actions, impart employee training and standardize safety measures across locations/sites.
Technological capabilities are constantly evolving and we believe 2023 is going to be a year of more innovation – especially in areas like predictive analytics, AI/ML-enabled process enhancements, and data access. We believe the key trends to watch out for in 2023, from a safety leader’s perspective, include:
Trend #1 – Advanced and Predictive Analytics
Data holds the key to preventive safety management. By analyzing data from past incidents, inspections, audits, and risk assessments – we’re able to spot gaps and identify risky practices at work. By running analytics on data from safety observations and near-misses, enterprises can prevent major mishaps.
With the right analytical models, safety leaders will be able to identify high-risk locations and processes, rank risks based on severity and frequency, and address them based on priority.
Advanced and predictive analytics solutions leverage historical safety data to create models that can predict the frequency, likelihood, and location of workplace injuries. This makes safety data crucial and requires an integrated, end-to-end workflow where all processes seamlessly talk to each other and the data is centralized. Cloud-based solutions with advanced analytical capabilities will become necessary going forward.
Trend #2 – Automated Intelligence & Machine Learning (AL/ML)
AI & ML technologies have become ubiquitous today. They help automate critical processes, reduce time spent by humans on mundane, repetitive tasks, minimize human error, and improve resource utilization. Beyond that, in safety management, AI and ML technologies can be leveraged to –
- Run predictive analytics
- Automate risk prioritization
- Simplify workflows
- Recommend next-best actions based on the findings of audits
- Improve safety management reviews using analytics
- Capture safety trends
- Deduplicate safety event records.
This will help create a safety culture, improve compliance, increase customer satisfaction, enhance productivity, and lower production costs.
Trend #3 – Video Analytics
Organizations already use video surveillance, but it had to be manually monitored and reviewed to gather data. Video analytics simplifies this by using AI to ensure compliance by providing actionable insights and enabling pattern recognition and advanced analytics. It automates monitoring and analysis of videos, even sending alerts and notifications in case of any anomalies, risks, deficiencies, or dangers.
Trend #4 – Better Mobile Solutions
Mobile penetration has gone up tremendously, improving connectivity and communication. The popularity of smartphones enables mobile devices to be used for remote connection to safety management systems for reporting incidents, conducting inspections and audits, and recording observations.
Using mobile solutions, organizations can improve safety through the better implementation of safety practices and procedures, enhance internal communication, and bridge “data gaps”.
It is also important to have the ability to conduct safety inspections/audits in locations where connectivity is poor.
With ComplianceQuest Safety Solution, for instance, it is possible to key in data during a safety inspection into a mobile device in offline mode. Once connectivity is established, this data gets synced into the EHS solution.
Trend #5 – Wearables and IIOT Devices
Healthcare wearables (like safety watches, bracelets, and necklaces) can help capture workers’ vitals and other parameters. Industrial IoT (IIOT) devices help with capturing safety-related data from across the shop floor or construction site.
Sensor-based PPEs, for instance, can signal an alarm when employees are in a danger zone such as when doing hot or cold work.
By ongoing monitoring of all this data, combined with proactive risk management processes, a sizable number of safety incidents or health hazards can be prevented.
The key is to not only use wearables or IoT devices for data capture but go beyond to set up control measures. For instance, if there is a “danger notification” from a hot work zone, is it possible to set up an automated process to check if the worker has taken a permit to work? Is it possible to send a notification to a stakeholder if he/she is not authorized to be there or perform that task?
The real effectiveness of IoT devices for safety will depend on the ability to integrate the IoT system with the rest of the safety management workflow. Data from the device must trigger a “notification” to the right stakeholder to “act”. And, this must be done in an almost real-time fashion!
At ComplianceQuest, we’re building a modern, next-generation Safety Management Solution with integrated modules for document management, management of change, training, and incident handling. Our solution also makes it easy to comply with OSHA and other regulatory requirements.
Thanks to being built on the Salesforce Platform, CQ Safety Management Solution is flexible, scalable, and secure. To know more, request a demo: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/ehs/