Improving Worker Safety with the Internet of Things

Improving Worker Safety with the Internet of Things

Naveen Joshi 10/09/2019

Improving worker safety in manufacturing with the internet of things (IoT) can impact a company’s bottom line, lessen financial loss, as well as increase workforce productivity and efficiency.

Workers in a manufacturing company have to deal with heavy-duty equipment and harmful chemicals exposures on a regular basis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries in the year 2017 alone. This statistic revealed the dark truth of the US alone. Imagine what the global count of worker injuries and deaths, especially including those in developing and underdeveloped countries. In addition to harming the workers, accidents in the workplace heavily affect a company’s profit margins. Firstly, regardless of whose fault it may be, if any accident happens, manufacturing companies are liable for worker’s compensation. Besides, the manufacturing companies have to consider and fix the damage caused to the interiors of the workplace, if any. Further, accidents may lead to a decline in workers’ enthusiasm to work, which will result in lower productivity. Also, the reputation of the company will be seriously affected.

All of these point to the need for appropriate safety programs to be enforced for creating a safe and secure work environment for workers. A study reveals that 83% of manufacturing leaders see increased productivity from safety programs. Hence, it is important to take into account the factors that pose potential safety risks to workers and find an effective solution to cope with the same. Improving worker safety with IoT in manufacturing is one of the best ways manufacturing companies can deal with safety concerns and risks.

The Internet of Things and the ubiquitous connectivity it brings opens up new opportunities for improving worker safety by collecting workplace-related data. Embedding sensors and smart cameras in a manufacturing plant will allow authorities to collect important safety-related metrics, which when analyzed, give meaningful insights to take proactive remedial actions.

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  • Manufacturers can implant sensors into machinery. These sensors will collect data on the working condition of machines. If any machine is likely to breakdown or function inappropriately in a way that can pose a threat to employees, then the information will be sent to technical inspectors. As a result, the officers can take immediate measures, saving a lot of lives.

  • Providing workers with wearables can be one of the best ways to ensure their health and safety in the workplace. Wearables with sensors can track temperature changes, humidity levels, harmful gases, chemical exposure, and also noise levels. Besides, wearables can gauge the health parameters of workers like blood pressure variations, stress levels, and other data related to their well-being. Data on early signs of health problems can be sent to the health and safety inspection managers almost instantaneously where appropriate precautionary measures can then be taken. This way, the safety of employees working in remote locations can be assured.

  • During a disaster, IoT can be of great help in ensuring speedy rescue operations. Sensors embedded almost everywhere will collect the data from the working site in real-time. This data can be used by the rescue team to strategize and conduct rescue and recovery operations on time. And on-time rescue and recovery operations translate into higher chances of saving the lives of more workers.

Thus, with IoT coming into the picture, manufacturing firms will witness improved workplace visibility. Being able to track every detail of the work environment will enable the manufacturing companies to minimize accident rates, accelerate emergency response rates, and reduce expenditure on worker compensation and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) penalties.

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Naveen Joshi

Tech Expert

Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.

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