According to Berg Insight’s 2015 report, it is estimated that 53 million employees across Canada, United States and Europe work alone – about 15% of the overall workforce. With the pandemic, many employees are now required to work from home, driving the number higher today. Many of these workers are responsible for maintaining critical assets or infrastructure or are required to travel long distances and to remote locations. While there are federal and regional laws and legislations to mandate employers in ensuring worker safety, it is still not sufficient to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.
The need for employers to do a better job of protecting workers is real, and it is urgent. In 2019, the US Department of Labor reported over 5,300 workforce fatalities in the United States, that is over 13 deaths each day.
Traditionally, employers would implement safety policies and processes such as hazard assessment forms or mandatory PPE (personal protective equipment) protocols. Additionally, companies may choose to further mitigate risk by insuring against workplace accidents and loss of equipment, whether it is through a third-party insurance provider, or some may choose to self-insure. This traditional approach in safety is proven to be insufficient as workplace injury and fatality rates continue to rise year over year. Technology as PPE is evolving the way that people work. As new devices, connectivity and applications become available in the market we can move from a reactive approach to a proactive and preventative approach to safety.
Along with the Industry 4.0 evolution, we are now able to leverage smart technologies and IoT to accomplish a leap forward in worker safety and risk mitigation. As part of an employee’s PPE, these technologies can effectively provide a preventative and proactive approach to worker safety, detecting events such as fatigue, heat stroke, falls, distractions or impairments. By understanding when these types of events occur serious incidents may be prevented.
A connected worker is any person whose working life is changing due to digital and other technologies. These technologies use a combination of hardware, network, and software tools that enable workers to communicate with supervisors or fellow employees in another location. The connected worker is not just about the devices that they have; rather, it’s the complete relationship that a worker has with the right information they need to do their job well and to stay safe. A connected worker is empowered with the right data at the right time to make the right decisions.
Examples of this might be instant access to mentoring support to connect with a subject matter expert to solve a problem. Another example may be sensor readings that can generate alarms based on hazardous activities. A worker’s location and credentials may be used to confirm that workers are safe in a zone on a construction site and the same information can help to improve productivity by ensuring the right people are in the right place. While having the right devices and hardware are important, it is equally crucial to have the right software and platform that allows for two-way communication and data aggregation.
There is a continuum of outcomes for Safety and Productivity requirements, and these are rarely mutually exclusive when determining the right use of technology.
Organization now understand that people are the most important part of a workplace. Technology providers can provide the tools to ensure that these workers will have help whenever it is needed. We work with a broad range of organizations to create solutions that ensure people are safe, especially where they are exposed to social, environmental or health risks.
From workers in the most remote locations to delivery drivers in urban areas, we provide the technology and response network to ensure their safety anywhere in the world.