The importance of smart systems in hazardous work environments has been proven countless times both in research and in practice: IoT, AI, smart cameras, and workforce management systems, are mandatory to create a workspace that is safe, legally compliant, and free of any hassle. The future of Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories is shaping to be as connected and automated as possible, with safety seen not only as a priority but as a culture, that enables better productivity and that improves the overall psychological and physical health of workers.
We have already discussed in an earlier article how helpful our Occupational Health and Safety Solutions can be: today we want to take a less theoretical, and more practical approach, to really discover the benefits that such technology can provide in real-life scenarios.
A SUCCESS STORY OF OURS: THE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL OF OLOMOUC
The recent pandemic is what pushed the development of our own AI powered, camera analytics system , to help hospitals ensure that all the right safety measures were in place before deploying medics and healthcare assistants on the field. The first pilot project of our next generation products for the Digital Workplace of the Future aimed at delivering a reliable smart system to the University Hospital of Olomouc, in Czech Republic.
What we needed was a solution that would not only ensure that less medical staff would be necessary to control and monitor social distancing and behaviours of visiting population, but that would also help with symptomatic assessment of COVID-19 infections from a safe distance, to avoid incurring in even more infections. We opted for an AI, software-based solution, that could signal and report on a Web Dashboard a wide range of information gathered and then processed. This allowed to record events, location, and time/date of specific triggers that can be completely customised by the user. These included:
- Lack of Social Distancing: the video-based service could return a proximity violation alarm in case of people violating the prescription for social distancing for an amount of time set by the user. Thanks to the deployment of top-of-the-line Mobotix Camera’s, it was possible to play a warning message directly from the camera that would signal operators of the violation.
- Cough/Sneeze alert: the audio-based service could detect coughs and sneezes in particular areas. Moreover, the AI could detect the intensity and the duration of these events, making it easier to automatically discard random and unimportant ones.
Having all the information in one place helps with keeping track of everything that happens, making the processes of creating a safe and secure space easier.
SMART MIRROR: A BIG STEP TOWARDS A SAFE WORKPLACE
During and after our pilot experience in the University hospital of Olomouc, we discovered that several companies needed a solution to allow employees to easily and autonomously check that the correct protections are in place and worn correctly before entering the specific working area or facility. The solution that we have come up with is extremely quick and easy to use and relies on a display that is triggered by the user inserting his own RFID card and by raising their hands. The AI, thanks to the included camera, is able to scan even the most complex personal protection equipment, check for exposed hair and skin, or crosscheck with the ID if the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) are correct for the duties of the employee. Along with the physical product, we have designed a User Interface (UI) that can quickly and clearly show the violations, to help even the most anti-tech operator to understand what is wrong in a matter of seconds.
This solution can also be utilized to improve the quality of the production: a semi-conductor company asked us to detect skin and hair exposure to lower the risk of contamination in the production line.The strength of our AI-based solutions, in fact, is that they can be custom trained to the need of our clients, making it possible to work with even the most complex requests.
THE IMPORTANCE OF OHS: A DATA-DRIVEN ANALYSIS
Sometimes, the laws in place and sheer common sense are not enough to prevent accidents, and companies working in construction sites, manufacturing, and healthcare, rely on manual personal protection checks conducted by managers or a dedicated figure. This translates into higher costs, and more importantly, introduces the variable of human error into the equation. Citing OSHA’s Information System, the U.S. Agency for Occupational Safety and Health Administration database that collects all sorts of safety and health-related data, it stands clear that most of the top ten most common OSHA Violations in 2021 were related to personal protection malpractices that may lead to serious injury or death.
Some of these include:
- Fall Protection, which ranks number one for the most violations.
- Respiratory Protection is number two on the list.
- Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment, including eye and face protection rank sixth.
But probably the most worrying takeaway from analyzing this data is that these PPE-related violations have been at the top of these charts for more than 10 years.
To reduce these violations and to make it easy for companies to create a safe, healthy, and risk-free workspace, we think that technologies and tools such as our Smart Mirror are game-changer. Thanks to the adoption of these or similar technologies, we believe that in the next few years it will be possible to lower PPE-related violations by a significant number, contributing to lowering injuries and saving lives in the process.
To find out how these solutions could apply to your industry, visit the OHS webpage or book a visit to our Co-Creation sites to meet with our researchers today.