Failure to protect workers delivers all manners of costs. Read how utilising simple data can help with this critical priority.
Worker safety is one of three top priorities for businesses. This is definitively shown in our research conducted with EY Sweeney. The research aimed to understand Australia and New Zealand’s IT leaders’ challenges and priorities in managing data, and how big data was solving these challenges.
Companies today understand that inadequate workplace safety can incur a human cost and also threatens financial stability, customer loyalty and regulatory compliance.
What they might not know is how to prevent this with simple data, that is, simple streams of information.
Utilising simple data streams for safety
The use of simple data tailored to the areas of greatest worker safety risk can be applied to ensure businesses not only respond quickly to incidents, but prevent them from occurring.
Statistics from our research showed that a large percentage of respondents want an information communications technology system that improves safety. What IT leaders may not know is that this capability may already exist and the required data may already be generated within their business.
Desired attributes of an information communications technology (ICT) system:
91% want to monitor and communicate with employees to keep them safe
87% need workers to communicate and raise an alarm wherever they are
A two-way radio communications system can provide so much more than just voice communications. A stalwart of worker safety in many industries, the value of a two-way system has increased exponentially through modern digital mobile radio (DMR) applications that make two-way radios fully-featured digital devices. Businesses now have access to hundreds of business-compatible apps, many of which increase the achievability of safety goals.
For example, GPS data is a simple and readily available data source which can have an immediate beneficial effect on employee safety. GPS indicates an employee’s presence on the worksite, which means that if the worker is located within a prohibited zone, such as a blast zone on a mine site or within a logging zone, the worker can be automatically notified by the radio-based app and moved to safety before an incident occurs. GPS can provide data on worker movements throughout the day, which identifies potential risks. For example, GPS at Canberra University identified a potential long term OH&S risk to security staff, by calculating the amount of kilometres they covered per shift. Christchurch International Airport employs GPS to monitor vehicles on the tarmac in relation to arrivals.
Two-way radio applications can monitor an employee’s status such as location, acceptance of tasks and adherence to processes. Event logging of status changes, or the journey travelled (regardless of whether they are indoors, outdoors, or underground) generates data detailing location and radio status, which can be customised and filtered. By establishing employee’s status as a standard business process, employee safety is protected while complying with safety requirements.
Other data streams from two-way radios can also greatly increase worker safety:
- Lone worker applications check the status of workers at pre-determined intervals to ensure their safety, with data that demonstrates adherence to OH&S requirements. For example, lone workers in a logging site are protected at DH Logging with DMR technology.
- Geofencing features set off alerts when devices (and therefore workers) enter or leave areas determined by an administrator, sending a text, email or other virtual notification.
- Indoor positioning applications provide data on staff location where GPS cannot.
- System monitoring can generate data about potentially dangerous communications drop-outs or records of user incidents.
- Man-down applications trigger an alarm if a DMR radio is tilted beyond 45 degrees for more than 90 seconds, indicating that the user has possibly fallen or been injured. GPS tracking automatically pinpoints the exact location of the worker, which greatly enhances the emergency response.
- Voice call recording creates data that enables a post-incident analysis to further improve safety for workers, also used at DH Logging.
When employees are safe, everybody wins. Companies meet their OH&S requirements and avoid the damaging fallout from incidents. Workers are more productive as they can focus on operational activities. Most, importantly, workers are not at risk. Simple data that may already exist in your organisation can be key to achieving this objective.