Explore the top trends in technology in 2021 and how they can help you drive safety success. This week we sponsored a webinar, “The Safety Technology Trends You Need to Know for 2021”, alongside EHS Daily Advisor with Senior Risk Control Consultant, Abby Ferri. In the session she shared insights on the latest cutting-edge safety technology and how to get implementation buy-in from your management team.
Whether your team is paper-based or already using a specific EHS technology system, it’s important to explore the benefits emerging technology could offer your organization. From increasing front-line participation and engagement in safety to boosting productivity on-site, the tools are out there to help. It’s simply a matter of finding the right one for your business.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Consider If: You are having difficulty identifying trends and patterns to reveal predictive analytics to mitigate risk.
Artificial intelligence can be defined as a machine with the ability to identify patterns and make recommendations based on your behavior. From voice assistants on our phones to predictive text in our emails, this is something we see regularly, but have you considered how this could be applied to the world of health and safety?
First, Abby points out that certain safety apps allow EHS professionals to collect data, however this information remains stagnant without the ability to be analyzed to instigate change. This may be due to the application’s lack of robust reporting capabilities or insight into analytics. So, you may find yourself stuck crunching numbers in front of your computer and identifying patterns yourself, rather than using the time to proactively strengthen your safety program and engage with the workforce. This is a red flag and indication that it’s time to look into AI-backed solutions to allow you to dive a little deeper.
With software solutions supported by an AI functionality, safety professionals can collect and analyze real-time data with ease, allowing them to capture predictive analytics. For instance, reports can be generated based on what the tool has observed, which may point to a potential risk that may occur if certain behaviors persist. By giving you more insight into what might happen on-site, based on the information this tool is picking up, you can start to get more of an overview of the activities and corrective actions in order to mitigate risks. This is one of the most useful ways to stay proactive and reduce any potential risk before it occurs.
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2. Augmented Reality
Consider If: You are struggling to maximize productivity
Augmented reality is another emerging trend which can be described as an enhanced version of your surroundings where insight and data is offered based on the objects found within that surrounding. With an AR-centered tool, you can get instant information on your environment without lifting a finger.
Allow Abby to set the scene: Imagine you are in a warehouse with a tool helping augment reality. Through this cutting-edge technology, you can look at your surroundings with new eyes as it gives you insight such as protocols related to a specific machine nearby or items found in that area in an instant.
With a heightened view of reality, workers can engage more effectively with their environments using this tool to maximize productivity.
3. Virtual Reality
Consider if: You are struggling to find a way to efficiently train workers without exposing them to any risk.
Next on the list is virtual reality. Virtual reality is another emerging technological trend which simulates a particular situation using sight and/or sounds, in addition to other possible sensory elements. These simulated experiences allow safety professionals like yourself, to put workers in “unsafe” situations, while remaining in a safe environment.
This is most useful when training new workers on-site. Imagine having the ability to put front-line worker in a “high-risk” situation, without any real danger. Teaching a new worker how to operate a crane, for example, without putting him in the field without the proper training is easily achievable with VR.
Perhaps this is one of the most useful times to use virtual reality as less workers are on-site and more restrictions are being implemented due to the pandemic. Virtual reality can be used to give workers the tools they need to train while off-site and to maximize their time.
4. Voice Technology
Consider if: You are struggling to streamline communication within your organization.
Another interesting trend is voice technology which uses your voice to help boost productivity. We’ve seen this on our phones, with voice to text functionalities allowing us to speak a message rather than type it, allowing us to manage different tasks simultaneously, without losing time.
This can be extremely useful for high-risk organizations as workers can easily input information using only their voice, allowing them to maximize efficiency while on-site. This could also be useful with organizations who have multiple production sites or locations, as it streamlines all communication, becoming the single source of truth for the entire organization. This way you can scale the information and ensure everyone is getting the same message at the same time.
If your organization’s pain-point is communication, this is definitely an option to consider!
5. Voice Data
Consider if: You are struggling to find hidden trends and risk that may be overlooked, as well as eliminating paper.
In addition to voice technology, voice data is also an emerging technological trend. With this cutting-edge tool your voice is the data in question, analyzed to highlight risks which may have been hidden or overlooked. How does it work? Abby breaks it down…
This incredible functionality uses artificial intelligence to analyze your voice from all aspects. This includes tone, the words you’re saying, language, and so on. Workers can simply push a button and speak with the tool listening in to analyze the words that are being said in addition to how often, as well as the way they are being said.
For instance, if a certain word is being repeated, this tool will pick up on that pattern and highlight it as something to focus on. If you’re feeling stressed or confident, the technology will highlight it and bring it to your attention to identify a possible hidden risk which may have otherwise been overlooked. If you seem to be more stressed for instance, during a specific hazard inspection while in others you are more confident, this may be telling you something that you may not have realized before.
If user-engagement is a struggle at your organization, this is another tool which allows you to minimize your use of paper and increase worker participation as they see the difference their input is making first-hand.
6. Video Technology
Consider if: You are struggling to find an alternative method to boost engagement among team members.
Video technology is the final trend on the list, which can help you succeed in 2021. By utilizing different forms of content to engage with your team, you can expect more participation on a day-to-day basis.
Rather than sending out a companywide email, why not record a video? Not everyone digests information in the same way, so explore your options. Consider the types of tools or social media platforms your team members use and leverage them to boost engagement and garner more insight.
This can also be useful in terms of training where short videos can be implemented to give workers specific safety highlights. Gauge what the top safety trends are each month, and record a video communicating this to workers to keep everyone in the loop.
All in all…
These forms of technology can be extremely helpful, but will they be useful for your organization? Take a look at your safety program as a whole and identify pain points that have emerged. Based on these issues, choose the most effective technology you feel would alleviate the problem.
Once you establish what this tool is, get buy-in from leaders in your organization who believe in technology and show the results and data from senior leadership to help convince the more skeptical. The proof is in the data, so take the time to showcase how this tool could help you increase productivity and boost engagement among team members.
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