AI and OHS: Can Artificial Intelligence Transform the Occupational Health and Safety Industry?

20/02/2023by minal.metkari0Read: 7 minutes

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has the potential to transform the field of occupational health and safety (OHS) by improving safety outcomes and reducing workplace accidents and injuries. In many organisations, technologies are being implemented using Artificial intelligence.

Here are the most current technologies.

1. AI and its Effect on Workplace Safety

AI is a synthesis of several powerful technologies. Each AI model is only as good as the machine learning skills upon which it is built. ML is a method of using advanced software to analyse large amounts of data to find weak spots in the system, identify trends, and get a better understanding of the complete process of production.

After the ML system has identified the problem, AI may recommend the best remedy. It copies human behaviour, yet, AI is significantly better adept at dealing with various inputs and solving apparently insurmountable problems. When it comes to workplace safety, employing the Internet of Things, or IoT, AI may cut hazards tenfold and assist in creating a safer working environment.

2. IoT and Workplace Safety

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a one-of-a-kind smart system that employs small sensors to monitor anything from individual equipment to whole manufacturing lines, personnel, and everything else. When the sensors are installed, the ML model analyses each individual element identifies possible dangers, and AI recommends remedies. Because AI has the ability to forecast future patterns, it can identify health hazards and inform you before anything goes wrong.

To reduce possible dangers, you can set up predictive warnings and notifications throughout the system. Depending on the business, such a device has the potential to save lives and avert major injuries.

Mining, heavy metal production, and other high-risk manufacturing operations may all be made significantly safer. Workers who invest a lot of time in intense heat, for example, can use wearable sensors to monitor their heart rates, temperatures, and so on. When the sensor finds a hazard, it notifies the wearer to help prevent harm.

IoT provides tremendous benefits across numerous sectors, allowing for complete adaptability to unique industrial demands. In addition to danger detection, the technology is utilised for contact tracking to reduce disease transmission among staff. Now that you understand how AI contributes to a safe workplace, it’s time to consider the advantages it offers.

3. Benefits of AI to Enhance Workplace Safety

AI is increasingly making its way into a variety of businesses. It is already in use in manufacturing, mining, and other hazardous industries as a potent injury-prevention tool. These are some of the advantages it offers in practice.

3.1) Human Error Reduction

It has been discovered that human mistakes are the primary cause of occupational injuries. Furthermore, a minor error might not only endanger others but can also result in downtime that costs millions of dollars.

The majority of workplace injuries are caused by worker weariness or stress. Around 40% of all workers struggle to keep up with their job, which surely leads to serious errors. AI, on the other hand, never makes mistakes because it never tires. The correct machine learning model combined with IoT can detect worker weariness, identify dangerous regions, and warn employees about possible hazards before they occur.

3.2) Predictive Analytics:

AI can be used to analyse large amounts of data to spot patterns and trends that could indicate safety risks. Predictive analytics can help identify high-risk areas, tasks, or equipment and enable organizations to take proactive measures to mitigate safety risks.

  • Robotics and Automation:

AI-powered robots and other automated equipment can be used to do risky or repetitive activities, lowering the risk of damage to employees. This can also help organisations optimise their operations and reduce labour costs.

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality:

AI-powered virtual and augmented reality tools can be used for safety training and simulations. This can provide workers with realistic and immersive experiences that help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to stay safe on the job.

  • Real-time Monitoring and Alerts:

AI can be used to monitor workers and equipment in real-time and provide alerts when safety risks are detected. This can help organizations identify and respond to safety incidents quickly, potentially saving lives.

3.3) Automation of Dangerous Tasks

AI and machine learning can take over factory robots and improve their efficiency. AI can also take over all robotic production and utilise automation to execute the riskiest activities in hazardous locations where people would otherwise perish. For decades, robots have been employed to check risky situations.

They may penetrate dangerous settings and provide reports to a person in a safe location. Drones, for example, have been increasingly popular in the construction business in recent years, as they make all reporting and site inspection considerably safer.

Furthermore, drones provide a unique perspective, allowing humans to identify concerns that they might otherwise miss. Drones, in fact, make all inspection duties safer. Roof inspectors no longer need to climb to the roof to conduct inspections. Drones not only improve safety but also increase overall efficiency.

3.4) Employee Monitoring

AI can now follow each individual worker on various levels thanks to the usage of IoT devices. When it comes to reducing virus propagation, staff surveillance has shown to be quite effective. For example, if one of the employees of an organisation tests positive for COVID-19, supervisors may use past monitoring data to identify everyone they came into contact with while contagious. Companies can then promptly detect the spread of the virus and avoid an epidemic.

However, worker tracking may contribute to a safe workplace in a variety of ways, which are as given below:

  • Track worker’s location
  • Monitor the vital signs of every individual.
  • Alert workers about environmental hazards
  • Issue accurate information to remote workers
  • Reduce chances of physical injuries
  • Enhance employee training.

As you can see, artificial intelligence may also boost productivity and allow you to keep a tight check on every worker at all times.

3.5) Harassment Monitoring

Occupational harassment has long been a severe problem in businesses all around the world. 4 out of 5 women experienced some form of sexual harassment at work, and AI can assist there as well. It can investigate workplace harassment and identify those guilty.

Natural language processing, or NLP, is also used by AI to analyse emails and other files for unsuitable terms. When it detects one, it may immediately send an alert to the manager’s office. Data may also be used to detect unfair promotions and other possible problems. AI using speech recognition may also distinguish spoken terms and generate thorough reports during meetings.

3.6) Equipment Control

One of the leading causes of industrial injuries is defective machinery and instruments. Every year, thousands of individuals lose their lives or suffer catastrophic injuries in a variety of occupations, and AI may help lower those numbers. Again, IoT can assist in identifying equipment and production aspects that are not functioning correctly and recommending the best fixes before a tragedy occurs.

3.7) Crime Detection and Prevention

Even if you have active security cameras on your manufacturing lines, you won’t know if a crime occurred until you check the recorded recordings. Passive monitoring can not prevent crime, but with AI-enabled cameras, you will receive warnings if something suspicious occurs.

AI can detect suspicious behaviour and deliver real-time notifications, allowing you to capture the offender red-handed. You can program automated triggers to activate lights and sirens in order to scare the offender away. Moreover, AI may employ audio-enabled cameras to detect sounds such as glass breaking, loud thuds, and so on.

4. AI For Risk Mitigation

Artificial Intelligence (which in our instance includes Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Natural Language Processing) is commonly depicted as a future superpower that will affect not only our daily lives but also our enterprises. AI has shown to be an efficient tool for many complicated jobs that previously needed human labour due to its capacity to do human-like tasks.

Computers and AI-powered software are increasingly taking over many human labour processes, making them more efficient and error-free. To put it simply, AI is typically stated as “human intellect executed by a computer.”

5. Compliance and Risk Management

By processing large volumes of data (visual, audio, textual, digital), AI can offer risk and compliance managers improved recognition of the risks they face, allowing them to invest less time on repetitive tasks and implementing risk and compliance solutions based on AI technology, thereby continuously improving risk management processes. AI can help identify hazards and assess risks in the workplace by analyzing data from sensors, cameras, and other sources. This can help organizations identify safety risks in real-time and take corrective action.

5.1 AI for Compliance Management

AI can effectively manage compliance processes, meeting all regulatory and policy requirements. The AI system ensures that the firm adheres to all necessary standards by analysing and processing numerous legislation, permits, and corporate reports. Risk management and compliance processes achieve maximum transparency, efficiency, simplicity, and control as a consequence.

6. AI for Safety Management

AI-powered safety solutions enable businesses to establish a safe workplace environment for their employees while also reducing dangers to human life. AI-based software can monitor employee safety gear and employee/equipment presence at specific places by employing computer vision and machine learning. By tracking employees’ admission and leave from the workplace, the system evaluates the adequacy of their personal protection, including the equipment they carry.

Safety measure detection:

Businesses must safeguard the safety of their employees from dangerous gas leaks, defective safety kits, electrical damage, and so on. Hard hat detection, PPE kit detection, and face mask detection are all part of video analytics. Everything is watched, and notifications are relayed to authorities immediately.

Unauthorised access management:

Using video analytics and facial recognition, only authorised staff may enter a restricted site. This avoids factory theft by raising quick alarms if such actions are detected.

Surveillance of potentially harmful situations:

Anyone within a predetermined exclusion zone or inside a facility during an emergency evacuation should be detected. To identify sounds from security camera microphones, such as alarms or calls for help, in order to intervene immediately.

7. AI for Incident Management

AI-powered incident management has become an unavoidable tool. AI successfully executes jobs such as proactive issue prediction, in-depth incident analysis, and root-cause analysis, as well as determining the best remedial steps for each unique situation. The analysis and real-time insights given by ML algorithms enable businesses to respond quickly to incidents, find trends, link similar occurrences, and prepare for future incidents.

8. AI for Climate and Environment Impact

Artificial intelligence has quickly emerged as a viable tool for environmental preservation and natural resource conservation.

Smart grids installed in cities can use AI algorithms to govern and control electricity use.

With AI joining the automobile sector, it will assist to streamline the carbon footprint, lower the overall number of cars on the road, and drastically to cut pollution. Artificial intelligence has quickly emerged as a viable tool for environmental preservation and natural resource conservation.

Installation of smart grids in cities can use AI systems to regulate and control power consumption.

In environmental protection, Artificial intelligence is used for the following:

  • Monitor the water and energy consumption
  • Reduce the wastage of water and electricity consumption when not required
  • Reduce waste generation
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Predict weather
  • Water management in irrigation

Overall, the prospect of AI technology in OHS is promising, as it has the potential to improve safety outcomes and reduce workplace accidents and injuries. However, it is essential to note that AI technology should be used in conjunction with other safety measures and practices to ensure comprehensive safety management. Additionally, ethical considerations should be taken into account when implementing AI technology in the workplace, such as privacy, fairness, and transparency.


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