Technology — transforming safety for workers and communities alike
Improving safety isn’t just about reducing workplace risks within industrial and process environments; it’s also about safeguarding neighbouring communities and environments.
Today, thanks to the advances in digital data capture and recording by sensors and devices, information is a commodity that is not in short supply. The seamless connectivity driving the Internet of Things is already touching workplaces globally. The latest flame and gas detection devices typically offer the ability to log performance and environmental data. But translating that into tangible learnings is not always easy.
An essential record
Historically, daily data would remain on each device and be routinely overwritten, unless an event prompted a sporadic download, or a written report. Today, maintaining historic central archives of detection device data — sometimes spanning decades — provides companies with an invaluable record. Any exposure incidents or toxic breaches can be thoroughly analysed and documented.
For workers, the advent of real-time monitoring during operations via live feeds is revolutionising safety. Data streaming can provide safety controllers and colleagues with situational awareness, physical status and the ability for workers to issue individual or team evacuation alarms and even mobilise first responders should a situation arise.
Engineering value, not innovation, first
Developing next-generation safety technology is of course hugely dependent on innovation, but truly listening to and understanding customer needs and feedback to engineer the necessary hardware and software functionality is of equal importance. It’s listening carefully to customers’ feedback and applying those learnings in an innovative way that produces next-generation safety technology.
Adoption will stand or fall on the ability of solutions to add value to multiple stakeholders without completely changing the way safety management and procedures work. Seamless integration and easy, intuitive operation only comes from extended testing by everyone involved — from safety managers to supervisors to operatives. Of course, innovation is meaningless unless the underlying outcome offers a real-world, practical benefit.
Expect the best
There is no doubt that technological advances are having huge impact on the world as a whole. All things considered, the health and safety industry should embrace the opportunities new technologies provide to keep workers connected, thus providing an additional layer of safety through technology.
MSA’s mantra is certainly to encourage the industry to ‘expect more’ from gas detection programmes. The whole reason behind the creation of Safety io is to pioneer technology advancements, with the ultimate goal of improving decision making, reinforcing best practices and pursuing a safety-first, injury free workforce. It’s too good of an opportunity to miss.
About Safety io, an MSA Safety company
In the case of the latest solution platforms developed for gas detection by Safety io, we conducted many thousands of hours of customer interviews and prototype and interface testing to ensure the most meaningful and actionable value. One of the major goals was to ensure that information delivery was carefully prioritised: that customers received the critical information they needed when most relevant. It’s also about recognising when data is useful; whilst gas levels in an area may not reach compliance thresholds, the detection of a low-level anomaly can indicate whether investigative work may be warranted.
The result was two complementary solutions: Safety io Grid Fleet Manager, a cloud-based platform for managing the health of fixed and portable gas detection devices; and Safety io Grid Live Monitor, a real-time alert and incident management tool that tracks operatives and their status as they work.
One of the exciting opportunities MSA is embracing is the ways technology can enhance its wide safety equipment portfolio. In addition to portable gas protection devices and fixed gas and flame detection, MSA also offers Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, head protection, fall protection systems, PPE and more. The ability for technology to confer automation, intelligent reporting and data archival promises both to increase user safety and significantly reduce the current manual workload surrounding mandatory audits, reporting, compliance and inspections.
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