Almost every worksite under-utilizes technology in some way. With the eye on the final product, many business managers don’t stop to think about how technology can improve their safety systems and reduce accidents. Of course, it is true that not all worksites are alike, but the general tenets of technology application can apply to all. Managers, whether it’s an indoor industrial setting or an outdoor construction site, can use these four technology approaches as a checklist for improving their safety records.
Just as the medical profession has adopted electronic record-keeping, workplaces of all kinds should be employing this technology in their own work. Written records are not useful. It is time-consuming to sort through them and gather data. Electronic records, on the other hand, are immediately available. Managers can determine from electronic records if safety requirements are being met. Workers can doublecheck their own efforts more easily. Finding human error in system malfunctions and safety breaches becomes a more straight-forward effort. This record-keeping also becomes a vital part of safety monitoring via software integration and job design technologies.
While humans tend to look at things through a narrow lens, a computer system can take all factors into account at once. Just as good software can help a business identify ways to save or make money, good software can track systems operations, watching for and identifying crisis points. This is not simply reactive. It is proactive, looking ahead to stop problems before they happen. This technology can constantly monitor incoming data, watching for errors that led to a safety problem in the past. This software monitors electronic record-keeping as well as electronic sensors in equipment or moving vehicles. It integrates all of this information, culling it for answers. Management then has the tools that it needs to identify problem areas and can improve processes, preventing accidents, leaks and other threats to employee safety. Job design technology can construct the details of each task and its related safety concerns. This can lead to better training and less guesswork as new workers take on these tasks.
Many human jobs can be enhanced by computerized assistance. This can go beyond electronic monitoring to prevent potential disasters. Just as cars are getting self-driving mechanisms, many mechanical processes can utilize similar technology. Electronic sensors and self-activating responses can help the human guide the industrial process with greater precision. This pairs human intelligence with computerized skill, ensuring a better outcome every time. Radar, sonar and GPS navigational tools offer ways to see ahead, see through and see beyond what the human eye sees. These tools can provide a virtual map that accurately documents multidimensional spatial measurements.
Traditionally safety training has been a show-and-tell process with lectures and demonstrations. In this traditional process, there are many chances for human error. Individual instructors can leave out important details. Distracted or confused workers can ignore vital information. On the other hand, E-Learning programs can guide workers through each step of a process. These programs can be used to teach new tasks, to reinforce safety procedures, and to ensure that all employees are equally knowledgeable. With computerized interaction, an employee will demonstrate knowledge in a measurable way. This can show which employees have gaps and need more training. Of course, managers and instructors should still be involved, but this gives them a tool to measure each person’s progress. Hundreds of years ago, businesses learned to put it all on paper. Today’s business leaders must get it all into the computer. Every scrap of data can be used to maximized advantage through electronic record-keeping, safety integration, computerized assistance, and interactive, measurable safety training.
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