Concept of a “connected safety officer“ is albeit a new one for India if not for the western world.
Earlier waves of industrialization primarily affected low-skilled manual labour and past improvements in technology have typically made jobs at the lower end of the skills spectrum obsolete – for example, flight navigators but not pilots, and typists but not data analysts.
Pandemic of COVID 19 has brought in a culture of sanitization, social distancing and remote work to name only a few of the changes. Safety of humanity has been challenged and our experts in all fields have responded. The situation helped with the rapid acceleration and adaptation of technological innovation to combat the menace.
A safety officer’s fundamental job is to identify the hazards, evaluate the risk and control it. The availability of CCTVs, wearable technology, connectivity with internet in almost every nook and corner of the workplace is now creating an opportunity to help, enable and empower the modern safety officer to effectively enforce compliance. The modern tool kit of the safety officer is helping his/her quickly spot the areas of the safety management system that are in need of improvement and make required changes with a view to positively influence safety culture apart from improving safety performance.
Robots, Drones, IoT are all tools that enhance the effectiveness of the safety officer while keeping him/her safe and maintaining the required social distance. Remote viewing and access to experts through connectivity is the latest in safety with some auditors conducting remote audits and developing Corrective and preventive action (CAPA). This not only reduces hassles of travel, wastage of time and productivity, etc. but also the cost involved in such operations.
Wearable’s like or similar to Google glass are available now a days. These may be voice activated, can record and track a variety of parameters such as visibility climatic conditions, light and temperature levels apart from producing a live streaming of visual and other data. They can also be fitted with gas and radiation detectors, etc.
Entering confined spaces or inspecting work at heights has become much safer for the safety officer as well as the worker with the advent of the drones. Delivery drone reducing manual handling is already in place at some workplaces. Sanitizing robots and drones have become popular in these pandemic times. These are all wonderful tools that modern technology offers to the safety officers
Sophisticated Hazard Sensors are available now, these are sometimes small enough to be worn or clipped on. Others can easily fit into a small tool bag or kit.
Biometric Wearable which monitors the well being of the worker or the supervisor can provide important data to both the safety officer and the occupational health and hygiene specialist on parameters such as heart rate, stress levels, etc. can assist in real-time task changes and job rotation. These can actually help manage both mental and physical fatigue at the workplace.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) programs may be used in conjunction with CCTV cameras to recognize gestures and behaviors that may be the precursors of unsafe actions and alert the safety officer or supervisor to the particular person before any incident takes place either with him and/or his colleagues nearby.
Just like the number of robberies at the ATMs got controlled by the placement of CCTVs, the use of wearable technology drones, etc. help reduce the stress on the safety officer apart from acting as a deterrent against intentional unsafe acts and dishonesty in reporting.
The New Modern Technology is a real boon to the modern safety officer as he can utilize them for each and every aspect of his EHS related work, such as risk assessments, audits Inspections all can be done with access to remotely help in person or via the internets and intranets. In conclusion we can say that the time is ripe for the tool kit of the modern safety office to make a change for the better.