Ensuring workplace safety is paramount for organizations of all sizes and across sectors. Without effective safety measures in place, businesses may face a surge in incidents, heightened employers’ liability costs, decreased productivity, and lower staff morale. However, there is good news.
The advancement of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), offers valuable solutions to mitigate potential risks and safeguard employees from harm. In this article, we delve into the realm of AI technology, exploring its impact on workplace safety. Furthermore, we discuss how different industries can leverage AI to identify and minimize occupational hazards effectively.
AI Technology: An Overview
AI technology encompasses a range of machines, computer systems, and devices that possess the ability to mimic human intelligence processes. Put simply, these technological advancements are capable of performing various cognitive functions commonly associated with human minds. These functions include but are not limited to observation, learning, reasoning, interaction with the environment, problem-solving, and engaging in creative endeavours.
Workplace applications of AI technology are widespread, but some of the most common include the following:
- Computer vision technology
- Natural language processing systems
- Predictive and prescriptive analytics engines
How AI Technology Affects Workplace Safety
Organisations could leverage AI technology in several different ways to help boost their workplace safety efforts. Specifically, such technology can be utilised to accomplish the following initiatives:
- Hazard recognition: AI technology improves worksite visibility by identifying hazardous situations and trends, preventing injuries and incidents. It also detects unsafe behaviors or medical conditions in real time, offering immediate guidance to ensure employee well-being and safety.
- Employee training: Integrating AI technology into workplace safety training allows employees to engage in realistic simulations of various hazards and practice appropriate responses, including wearing PPE correctly or addressing chemical spills. Additionally, AI chatbots enable employees to access essential information from safety manuals, policies, and receive prompt answers to safety-related inquiries, ensuring they have the necessary guidance before undertaking tasks.
- Equipment maintenance: AI technology aids in evaluating workplace equipment for wear, damage, or maintenance needs, providing timely notifications to prevent equipment malfunction and mitigate potential incidents or injuries. Moreover, it can offer employees detailed maintenance instructions, fostering a sense of responsibility and contributing to a safer and more productive work environment.
To continue reading as to how AI technology affects workplace safety, click here to view our risk insights document.
Ways AI Benefits Specific Industries
Outlined below are instances demonstrating how AI technology plays a crucial role in identifying and mitigating occupational hazards across the construction and manufacturing sectors:
- Construction: In the construction industry, AI technology enables prompt fall detection among employees working at heights, enhancing safety measures. By integrating wearable sensors or smartwatches, AI can also monitor employees’ vital signs and identify early signs of heat-related illnesses, minimizing the risk of heatstroke and related complications, including fatalities.
- Manufacturing: Within the manufacturing industry, AI technology simplifies and automates complex and hazardous tasks, eliminating the need for manual intervention and reducing the risk of errors and injuries. For instance, AI-powered drones can efficiently inspect elevated worksites, hazardous structures, and production equipment in hard-to-reach areas, enhancing safety protocols.