Industry 4.0, and the growing digitalisation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices has the potential to have a significant impact on workplace safety.
That’s the conclusion of research carried out by Dräger Safety UK, which points to recent advances including the use of wireless technology and wearable devices to protect those working in hazardous environments and sensors on safety monitoring equipment to inform important maintenance and servicing schedules.
Its research found that only a third (34%) of managers in the sector believe that their organisations are advanced in accessing and acting on improved availability of safety data which is available through this technology.
And when it comes to development and continual improvement in this area, less than half (48%) of managers in manufacturing believed that their organisation is making progress, compared with two thirds, (66%) of managers in the transport and logistics.
Andrew Bligh, System Services & Training Manager Dräger Safety UK, said: “There is a very real opportunity to improve safety standards in the workplace by using the data generated by technology to inform safety policy. For example, when it comes to gas detection, analysing data produced by the devices, offers valuable insight that will allow for better, more informed decision-making, both in the short and long-term. Some may be unaware of the availability of this data, while others feel it is not significant, but it can have a real impact on the safety of a company’s workforce.”
Beyond Dräger’s research, the subject of Industry 4.0 and its impact on health and safety has been adopted by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, an independent global charity which is working to define what makes effective indicators of safety performance to encourage organisations to use health and safety datasets more successfully.
Dräger’s research showed that many employees are comfortable with increased use of digital technology and connectivity, with 44% of those in manufacturing and industry feeling safer if the latest safety technology is being used, while more than a third (39%) believe that increased availability of safety data can improve safety decisions.