There’s a bigger picture to safety improvements than the workplace alone, says Safety io’s Matt DeLorenzo, it’s also about communities and environments.
Improvements in safety, both in practice and equipment, have essentially always stemmed from one thing: the availability of good information.
In the past, that learning was often observational, based on talking to individuals, or derived from scrutiny or analysis of historic written and pictorial hard copy records.
Today, thanks to the advances in digital data capture and recording by sensors and devices, information is a commodity that is not in short supply. The latest flame and gas detection devices typically offer the ability to log performance and environmental data. But translating that into tangible learnings is not always easy.
For data to be meaningful, it has to provide real insight. That starts with being able to automatically detect, highlight, interrogate and share those events that are most relevant and significant to the operation of a device, or the ability of an operative to complete his or her work safely.
Recent advancements of AI-enabled automated reporting tools allow safety managers to look beyond just managing safety compliance towards changing how workplace safety really works. The ability to analyse and review historic logged data and extract actionable information to reduce risk and improve workplace safety is transformative.
Insight to plan ahead
Data analysis and proactive maintenance can help to streamline the day-to-day monitoring of equipment, eliminate potential risk of human error and free up time for safety managers to concentrate on driving meaningful behavioural safety improvements.
Automatic notifications, for instance, can highlight when equipment components are likely to require maintenance or replacement, allowing pre-emptive action. Worker safety is improved, and costly downtime or operational delays minimised. Gas detectors, for example, rely on sensors that have a finite lifetime. Analysis of usage data can automatically highlight that a sensor’s end-of-life is approaching, and a replacement should be ordered.
The ability to analyse and review historic logged data and extract actionable information to reduce risk and improve workplace safety is transformative
Today, maintaining historic central archives of detection device data – some-times spanning decades – provides companies with an invaluable record. Any exposure incidents or toxic breaches can be thoroughly analysed and documented.
The advent of real-time monitoring during operations via live feeds is revolutionising safety. Data streaming can provide safety controllers and colleagues with situational awareness, physical status and the ability for workers to issue individual or team evacuation alarms and even mobilise first responders should a situation arise.
Engineering value first
Developing next-generation safety tech-nology is of course hugely dependent on innovation, but truly listening to and understanding customer needs and feedback to engineer the necessary hardware and software functionality is of equal importance. It’s listening carefully to customers’ feedback and applying those learnings in an innovative way that produces next-generation safety technology.
Adoption will stand or fall on the ability of solutions to add value to multiple stakeholders without completely changing the way safety management and procedures work. Seamless integration and easy, intuitive operation only comes from extended testing by everyone involved – from safety managers to supervisors to operatives. Of course, innovation is meaningless unless the underlying outcome offers a real-world, practical benefit.
- Matt DeLorenzo is business director for Safety io