OSHA compliance is the backbone of ensuring workplace safety and technology can make it easier than ever before. Virtually every industry is experiencing technological growth today, whether through digitalization, automation, or anywhere in between.
Workplace safety benefits greatly from emerging technologies. This tech will not only make it easier to comply with OSHA standards, it will also noticeably improve workplace safety.
The Potential of Safety Tech
Safety technology has evolved significantly over recent years. Now every employee’s safety can be monitored in real time. Safety hazards can also be addressed or prevented altogether before employees are put at risk.
A prime example of the potential of safety technology is safety wearables. These devices are particularly popular in the construction industry. They include smart watches, smart work boots, and even smart safety vests.
So, for example, a construction worker wearing smart safety boots could receive regular reminders to stretch or take a break after a certain number of steps. The boots could also sense and report detected slips or falls.
Similarly, a safety device that clips onto workers’ high-vis vests could help prevent pollution exposure. Airborne hazards aren’t always visible or noticeable until employees begin feeling the effects of exposure. A clip-on safety device could detect unsafe air right away, though, and alert employees to the danger.
AI and IoT
Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing safety, especially with the help of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. AI can help rapidly identify workplace safety hazards, such as spots where dangerous falls might be a risk. In fact, reducing fall hazards is a top OSHA priority today.
By using AI to analyze a work area for fall hazards and other dangers, employers can make OSHA compliance much simpler. Not only can AI pinpoint safety risks, it can also help identify the best solution to the issue. AI is capable of rapidly analyzing data to pull out conclusions, saving significant amounts of time on safety plan development.
AI image recognition can also help ensure that employees are following safety gear requirements. For example, in a workplace where safety goggles are needed, an AI-powered camera could identify employees who aren’t wearing proper eye protection. This helps avoid any accidental safety slip-ups that can result in compliance issues.
IoT sensors can improve the capabilities of safety AI. For example, IoT sensors could monitor workplace zones for things like fumes or pollutants and deliver specific alerts reporting the exact risk at hand. This allows employers to actively ensure that their workplace is complying with OSHA standards.
Adopting new technology in the workplace is crucial to overcoming modern OSHA compliance challenges. OSHA requirements are key to protecting employees, but sometimes there are simply too many variables to easily ensure compliance.
A great example of this is masking requirements implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks have been proven crucial to preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but it is exceptionally hard to keep track of every employee’s COVID safety behavior.
Technology, such as the above-mentioned AI hazard detection, can help identify areas with high risk of virus spread. Increasing digitalization also makes it easier for employees to work remotely and ensure safe social distancing in the workplace. Both of these strategies make OSHA compliance much more efficient.
Digitalization also makes it easier to organize safety data. If an OSHA inspector wants to analyze an employer’s injury rates, they can be easily pulled up from a searchable digital index.
OSHA compliance is much easier when employees are fully on board and aware of their role in ensuring safety standards. Technology is invaluable when it comes to safety training. Simulations, augmented reality, AI, and numerous other technologies open the door to training that is safe while also being in-depth and engaging.
A big part of effective OSHA compliance is proof of consistent compliance. In the past, the evidence and data to back up compliance had to be collected manually. Today, though, technology can collect compliance data far more quickly and accurately than manual processes ever could.
A great example of this is IoT sensors. In a workplace that regularly handles chemicals, for example, monitoring leaks, spills, and air pollution would be a big deal. IoT sensors can do this autonomously and constantly.
The same approach applies to almost any workplace safety technology. As long as the device has a place to save data, any employer can stockpile valuable safety data to back up OSHA compliance.
Technological growth in the workplace has long-lasting benefits, too. The data collected for safety purposes can also be used to analyze potential improvements to the workplace. Data might reveal a system that is running inefficiently or a department with a particularly high number of hazards.
By analyzing this data, employers can actively improve their workplace. Data-driven optimization can result in higher productivity, fewer accidents, and significant cost savings. These improvements can make OSHA compliance even easier, offering a continuous return on investment.
Simplifying Compliance and Safety
Technological growth and digitalization can be challenging for some employers. Not all industries lend themselves to tech in obvious ways. Safety is universal, though, and technology is key to ensuring it in the workplace.
Tech improves workplace safety while also offering invaluable benefits to employers. By implementing new technologies, employers can make OSHA compliance streamlined and efficient.