Effective Software and our team of product experts were delighted to attend this years IOSH Conference in Birmingham. It was one of the best years yet in terms of attendance and the caliber of seminars and talks that were on offer.
Effective Software were very proud to have our CEO Darragh Geoghegan taking part in the panel discussion 'The Future Role of Technology in Workplace Safety - The Positive Spin'. Darragh's talk covered how new technologies and traditional management systems are merging and presenting new opportunities for health and safety.
Here, we have picked out some of the main takeaways of his talk:
1) Learn from other business functions
Safety as a business function lags behind other business functions in terms of software usage. You are unlikely to come across a HR Manager/ Accountant / Logistics Manager nowadays who relies solely on spreadsheets and paper. However, safety commonly uses these things exclusively. Because of this accountancy/ HR software is much further ahead of H&S in terms of software development and usage.
The Future for safety in many ways is the present in other business functions. We can learn from what is there, what is being developed and what is coming down the road in the future, and apply it to safety software development.
2) Do we all want the same thing?
When bringing a new software into a business, there are many different concerns that have to be balanced. There will be questions about cost and user adoption, but we also need to consider User Engagement and software configurability. All this balances with the need for the business to be sure that the boxes are been ticked.
Simply put, moving your paper documents to software is not enough, and you will need yo invest in your software to ensure that you are getting the most effective returns from it.
3) Augmented reality
Consumer focused innovation is now driving the future of business improvement. If we take a look at Apple (arguably the market leader in developing mobile technology), we can see that they are directing things heavily towards Augmented Reality (AR).
For Health and Safety, AR could be extremely effective. Having digital information overlaid on real items in the workplace could help to combat a serious issue in safety: complacency. Complacency and doing what’s easy can often be the cause of injury. Receiving real-time notifications and prompts could help keep eyes and mind on the task.
4) IOT and safety
Basically, the Internet of Things is any connected 'thing' sending and/or receiving information. The IOT holds many future possibilities for Health and Safety, for example:
Smart PPE and Safety Check Beacons - If someone is not wearing their smart hard hat – their access card won’t work.
Heat/Motion Sensors - checking on the environmental factors as well as the people, did someone faint or the leading indicator has their heartbeat slowed or racing, overheating .
Smart Powertools - that cannot be started unless a trained operative matches their fingerprint to the item.
Along with these developments, there will of course be issues around privacy and data protection. There will have to be detailed discussions on just how much corporate oversight is too much.
Some of these things are quite far-off in the future. However, we can expect developments such as real time notifications and feedback, point of work notifications and visualisation of data to make massive differences to H&S in businesses today.