How To Make Your Workplace Safer

Workplace safety is good business. The safest companies draw and retain the best employees, they avoid costly lawsuits and they garner the respect and corporate trust that comes with putting workers first. Technology is on the front line of the quest to improve worker safety. Here is a look at how technology is making workplaces safer and reducing the number of accidents, injuries and other issues.

Special Hardhats Could Make Job Sites Safer

As discussed in the article “How Technology is Improving Safety at the Construction Site,” innovations in personal, wearable gear are making it safer to get into the business of building. Hardhats that can detect carbon monoxide will soon enable workers and supervisors to determine when there is too much carbon monoxide at a work site for work to go on. Without this technology, this silent killer is sometimes not detected until it is too late.

Using Technology to Modernize Safety Records and Reporting

One of the biggest contributions technology has made to improving safety is the streamlining and centralization of safety and hazard records. It is staggering how many construction companies still handle safety reporting on paper, even in the digital age, making it all but impossible to coordinate with remote employees or satellite locations. Computer databases, however, can act as a hub to report accidents, make recommendations and send employee concerns. New technology will enable site managers to monitor safety trends and regional hazards.

LOTO Technology Keeps Machine Workers Safe

According to Occupational Health and Safety Online, businesses can eliminate dangerous shortcuts by instituting Logout/Tagout technology, or LOTO. LOTO technology protects personnel who are servicing or maintaining machinery from accidents that can occur when those idle machines are unintentionally energized. LOTO is one of the most the most commonly cited OSHA violations, and more than 60 percent of the companies that could benefit from LOTO simply don’t have it. More than 80 percent of the injuries associated with machinery maintenance could be prevented by setting up sound LOTO practices.

Mobile Communication: The Tip of the Safety Spear

So many workplaces are beginning to realize the potential benefits of mobile devices that many are now encouraging employees to incorporate their own mobile devices into employee safety protocols. Mobile communication devices can expedite instructions to every employee on site, or just a select few. When mobile devices are distributed to employees, electricians can notify demolition workers when it is safe to begin, or the field office can warn a foreman that a summer storm is on the way.

Wearables: The Nuclear Option

According to Wired, the nuclear industry was one of the earliest adopters of wearables, such as the Apple Watch, as a means to boost safety procedures. The nuclear industry armed their employees with wearables to coordinate communication and enhance the ability of workers to get critical information and reduce the time that workers need to spend in potentially dangerous areas. The healthcare industry also employs wearables. When nurses can communicate with doctors – and vice versa – patients are more likely to get the right care more quickly.

From hospitals to construction sites, from nuclear facilities to factories, technology is improving safety and preventing injuries every day. Workers wear some technology, they carry other devices and, in some cases, they may not even be aware of the technology working in the background to keep them safe. But new devices and new software are improving record keeping, streamlining communication, unifying far-flung employees and even detecting carbon monoxide. Technology is at its best when it improves and extends human life – and the smartest businesses are using it to keep their workers safe.

Andrew Lisa

Andrew Lisa is a freelance technology writer. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

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