Workplace safety often feels like a moving target. EH&S and safety professionals strive to improve working conditions and have made great progress. However, at the same time the workplace continues to evolve. New challenges like Covid-19 and the rapid rise in e-commerce will fundamentally change the safety risk profile of organizations. Previous approaches will always need to be re-evaluated and continuously improved to keep workers safe in the future.
The only way for safety to keep pace with these changes is through Safety Science — the practice of bringing together data, technology, and scientific research to create safer working environments.
The rapid advancement of technology has opened up new opportunities to reduce risk and optimize a workplace using Safety Science. Safety teams can now combine their domain knowledge with IoT data collected across the workforce to fully evaluate risk, then leverage the same technology to improve.
Previous approaches that relied on heavy-handed PPE mandates or long-term facility redesigns can now use data collected by wearable technology to discover and target unsafe areas quickly. Adaptable sensors and wearables can also be updated or re-purposed based on new safety research and changing business needs. With Safety Science technology at-hand, safety professionals can fully deploy their knowledge and efforts to reduce ever-shifting workplace risks.
Recent examples show the power of this method. The threat of COVID-19 places a new risk to workers and businesses. By combining scientific research from the CDC, with mass-deployable sensing technology like that of StrongArm’s FUSE Platform, safety teams can collect data that allows them to adhere to the guidelines and maintain a safe workplace. This same Safety Science approach can then be adapted to apply in other high-risk areas. Forklift and ergonomic injuries can be reduced with the same technology.
Better still, as more data is collected the science itself improves, giving safety an ever-improving method to keep up with an ever-changing world.