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Going Digital: The Future of Workplace Safety

By Tito Warren, Contributor

As employee safety and well-being continue to grow as a focus for companies around the world, having a high-quality safety program is no longer an option – it’s a must-have. With a job that is so integral to the success of the organization, safety professionals carry a lot of responsibility. Eliminating inefficient, time-consuming, and costly processes with new digital tools is one avenue of empowering construction safety professionals to strengthen their company’s safety culture.

In this article, we’ll explore ways to enhance safety programs with digital tools on both the administrative and jobsite sides of the enterprise.

Modernize Your Safety Program

A successful workplace safety program is based on many factors, including employee compliance, risk assessment, and mitigation. However, the administrative tasks related to them have historically been manual, tedious, error-prone processes that aren’t practical in today’s digital world and are less effective when it comes to making informed, real-time decisions that ensure employee safety.

Replacing these tasks with a digital record that provides accurate, real-time data can give safety professionals the information their company needs to better prevent safety incidents. For example, today there are digital program management solutions for employee PPE programs designed to help you maximize employee safety while streamlining administrative responsibilities.

Look for a PPE partner that will be a guide through the outfitting process, working with you to determine your company’s needs and help build customized programs to provide PPE that is purpose-built for the environments your workers face.

When looking for an omnichannel partner with strong digital capabilities, consider these factors as must-haves for the enterprise’s digital transformation:

Customization: This feature allows for further flexibility for your company and also facilitates the product selection process to ensure compliant products are used. Online solutions for managing, selecting, and customizing safety gear help improve safety outcomes.

Efficiency: Regardless of the products offered, an efficient program should save time for administrators without overcomplicating the process. For instance, if professionals can streamline the process of outfitting employees through an online portal, this can eliminate manual verification and minimize inventory carrying costs.

Accessibility: Your provider should be able to fulfill orders for all your employees regardless of their location. Some companies are implementing best-in-class digital vouchers that enable employees to conveniently redeem PPE as they would like. It’s also important to select a partner with strategically located stores, mobile stores, and online ordering, ensuring that PPE solutions and services are available whenever and wherever needed.

Real-Time Data: As safety professionals look to save time and manage efficiencies, the right PPE provider should guarantee they are able to access real-time visibility and control over employee eligibility and safety compliance, including online tracking of employee purchases.

Increase Safety with Wearable Technology

Wearable technologies are on the rise in a wide range of industries, each of which has a variety of safety needs. Whether 5G-connected hardhats, glasses with heads-up displays, sensors embedded in PPE that record personal information like fatigue and heart rate, or jobsite data such as body position and environmental hazards, we’ve witnessed the innovative ways that PPE can work harder for your employees thanks to digitization.

These devices provide safety professionals and employees a more comprehensive picture of potentially serious injury and fatality events on a worksite. Wearable technologies can streamline on-site monitoring, enable proactive risk management, and ultimately increase productivity for both safety professionals and their company’s employees. The data they provide can be stored and analyzed to support improvement efforts across safety protocols, and alert professionals to issues that may otherwise be difficult to uncover.

Optimize Training with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is another digital tool that is becoming increasingly popular for jobsite training in multiple applications. Because of the way it combines a virtual environment with real-world visuals, AR can easily simulate processes used in training with lower time commitment and overhead costs than traditional methods.

Early adopters in workplace safety are using AR to overlay digital content onto real-world camera views of physical environments on a jobsite. This allows employees to interact with spaces and contextual information about their workspace via smartphones or AR headsets, creating an interactive experience and enabling users to learn safety procedures in real-life situations with far less danger than on-the-job learning. It also allows employees to get comfortable by experiencing the processes rather than merely reading about them in job manuals.

Find Your Digital Safety Partners

Employee safety is the top priority to safety professionals. An efficient and effective workplace safety program is the best way to ensure their well-being, and digital solutions are increasingly integral to program success. Ensure that your company is capitalizing on the latest technological advancements in the safety industry by choosing partners that can provide you with these tools.

Tito Warren is the Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution, Red Wing Shoes (redwingshoes.com).

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