Technology touches virtually everything we do in modern society and in EH&S, it is becoming more prevalent by the day.
Businesses can now use analytics and devices to vastly improve their safety strategy and, thanks to data that is obtainable from both humans and connected machines, make much smarter, strategic EH&S decisions.
The rise of the robots
The Internet of Things (IoT) may have given rise to kitchen appliances that connect to the web and wristwatches capable of tracking our fitness regimes, but its influence on EH&S has been just as profound.
Incident data can now be acquired in real-time thanks to sensors and transmitters tasked with notifying key staff when parameters are exceeded and common risks broached.
Because of this, devices and analytics have started to play a much bigger role in safety. They help monitor the standard stuff, such as employee fatigue, tenure and age, but also give a far greater insight into areas which can have a significant impact on EH&S but which haven’t, until now, been particularly easy to monitor.
Take the weather; with advanced analytics, organizations can now reduce risk from indirect factors like adverse weather conditions simply by taking advantage of new EH&S technology to issue new directives based on what Mother Nature is likely to do next.
The importance of mobile devices in EH&S
Smartphones and tablets, be they personal or company-issued, offer a fantastic opportunity for employees to be able to report incident data as soon as it becomes available. It’s for this reason that every EH&S software platform should have strong tie-ins with mobile devices.
The reporting of an EH&S incident, or notes made about potential hazards, no longer have to pass through stacks of paperwork and disparate systems to reach the relevant department; just as IoT devices are capable of delivering actionable real-time data, so too are workers – providing they have the right tools to do so.
The combination of automated IoT data and that which is manually added by employees is powerful for EH&S management. From such rich datasets, predictive modelling can be carried out and trend analysis undertaken. This provides organizations with a window into the future and helps them make decisions on incident prevention that are based on reliable data.
Let’s break down how both human and device analytics operate in the real world:
Human data input and analytics
- The dashboard. A common fixture in many enterprise applications, the dashboard is a single screen dedicated to showcasing important information from numerous data sources. In EH&S, this will usually include data from IoT devices and headline statistics from employee-submitted reports. Provided in real time, such information can be used to gain a quick-glance assessment of the entire organization’s EH&S status.
- Mobile app. Native mobile apps for smartphones which interface with the main EH&S application not only make the process of reporting incidents as simple as it should be, but also enable any employee to log in and have access to results that directly impact the safety of their work. Such information has never been so easily accessible.
- Stats and reporting. How do you know if your organization is progressing towards its safety vision and goals? By relying on reports generated from modern EH&S software that provide a snapshot of safety metrics for a time period of the user’s choosing – that’s how!
Device (automated) data input and analytics
- Feedback. Incoming automated data from devices can help organizations work out when a manufacturing process is at its operating limit, enabling management to make changes that will prevent any resulting EH&S incidents.
- Product design and safety. The data received from IoT devices enables companies to improve a product’s design and the aspects which have a direct impact on its usability and safety.
- Procedural changes. A big factor of workplace safety is equipment usage and the adequacy of how such assets are being used can now be determined thanks to real-time field data and ‘after-the-fact’ audit data.
The new breed of EH&S technology enables organizations to spot correlations between procedures and incidents like never before. It provides a window into the future and data which can absolutely be relied upon.
Mobile device integration means employees are better connected to the overall safety scheme of the business and real-time data delivered by IoT devices provides reliable trend analysis and, as a result, the ability for EH&S departments to more accurately predict and prevent workplace incidents.