Safety on any job site–in any workplace—should always be a priority. Both employers and employees are responsible for maintaining safe conditions. Employers must do everything they can to ensure the safety of their workers, while the workers themselves must be ever aware of their working conditions and the job’s safety rules and requirements. In many industries, technology is being used to help keep workers safe.
For example, in the mining industry, Caterpillar offers automated solutions to reduce the risk of workers being hurt underground. A technology called MINEGEM™ controls the machines that load and haul materials underground. They can be operated remotely, reducing the need to have a person in the machine in high risk spots. It’s like a remote control system for giant mining equipment.
Another company created a solution for training workers whose jobs could potentially expose them to radiation. Prior to the new technology, no real radiation could be used in training. But this company developed a simulator that mimics radiation conditions very accurately so that training can be more realistic, and those trained will understand the signs of radiation and how to use the equipment.
For decades, unmanned robots have been used to detect bombs in war zones and are even programmed to dispose of the bombs. In the past year, robotics have been tested and utilized with increased frequency in the nuclear industry. Nuclear energy facilities are using robots to conduct inspections prior to workers entering a scene–limiting the potential exposure of radiation for the workers.
GPS tracking Is being used to improve safety in the oil and gas industry. Tracking systems can monitor all equipment and provide up-to-date information about the equipment, exposing issues before they cause harm.
Technology has also helped employers to exercise their Duty of Care. This term refers to the fact that employers should always know where their employees are at any given time, in any location. Not only that, the employer should be able to easily locate any employee and communicate with them if it becomes necessary. Technological developments have improved this ability and allow employers to pinpoint the location of their workers and clearly communicate messages to them. Tracking of people and equipment reduces the risk of an ‘unusual’ or ‘rule-breaking’ activity that could lead to someone’s harm.
Depending on what business you are in, you should look to see if technologies exist that could support your safety initiative. Both employees and employers benefit when all possible steps are taken to ensure safety. Nobody ever expects accidents to happen—but as personal injury attorneys, we know all too well how quickly and easily they can happen. Prevention is key and workplace safety should not be taken lightly. For tips on creating the safest possible work place, please watch for a future article. Remember, safety rules and workplace guidelines exist for a reason. They must be clearly communicated, and always followed.