Wearables, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) were all featured prominently in this year’s top safety technology stories.

Safety Technology

The techno takeover will be a lengthy process in safety

December 3, 2019

This month, ISHN interviews Ted Smith, founder and CEO of Corvex, a software and mobile safety device manufacturer based in Eden Prairie, MN.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Wearable technologies for improved safety and health on construction sites

Scott Earnest PhD PE CSP John Snawder PhD, DABT Capt. Alan Echt DrPH, CIH Elizabeth Garza Rick Rinehart ScD

November 18, 2019

Wearable technologies are an increasingly popular consumer electronic for a variety of applications at home and at work. In general, these devices include accessories and clothing that incorporate advanced electronic technologies, often with smartphone or ‘internet of things’ (IoT) connectivity. While wearables are increasingly being used to improve health and well-being by aiding in personal fitness, innovative applications for monitoring occupational safety and health risk factors are becoming more common.

Connected technology is a game-changer

High-performance impact

November 3, 2019

Traditionally, safety departments get opinions and guesses thrown at them, says Stinson. There may be a hazard. Equipment doesn’t seem to be working. “Now you have objective data all mapped out. It’s very important that this is objective data, so you know for a fact that a part of plant is leaking. It’s a fact, not a suspicion,” he says.

Enhancing safety training with digital technology

Nick Vuoto

October 9, 2019

About 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017. That’s over 100,000,000 production days lost due to work-related injuries. Because of this, safety training is a very important part of the onboarding process for a new hire - especially for those working in an environment with many machines or hazardous materials.

Amazon develops safety tech vest to prevent accidents with robots

October 4, 2019

Safety in Amazon warehouses has been scrutinized by the media in recent years, particularly for interactions between humans and robots. TechCrunch reports that the online retail giant has been introducing a new worker safety wearable to 25+ sites to prevent accidents involving robotic systems in their warehouses.

Improving worker safety in manufacturing with the internet of things (IoT)

October 4, 2019

A study reveals 83% of manufacturing leaders see increased productivity from safety programs. Improving worker safety with IoT in manufacturing is one of the best ways manufacturing companies can deal with safety concerns and risks.

Oil and gas companies evaluate deploying wearable devices

October 4, 2019

Initial research focuses on enabling real-time monitoring of field technicians to ensure their safety and to provide audiovisual assistance to perform asset maintenance, with the hope of adopting lightweight yet robust wearable devices, GlobalData noted. These features of wearable technology encourage oil and gas companies to adopt helmets, smart glasses, wristbands and other devices that incorporate technologies such as wireless connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR).

How will artificial intelligence be used in robotics?

October 4, 2019

Joe Speed, CTO IoT Solutions and Technology at ADLINK, a provider of leading-edge computing solutions, and Nick Fragale, founder of Rover Robotics, which develops industrial-grade robots using ROS, the robot operating system, discussed the use of AI in robotics. Companies are reluctant to use AI due to different fears.

IBM announces collaborations to monitor worker safety

October 4, 2019

IBM has announced “major collaborations” with SmartCone, Guardhat, Garmin Health and Mitsufuji that will help to monitor the safety of workers in hazardous environments. The collaborations will use internet of things (IOT) technologies that have been integrated into wearables, the tech giant said in an announcement Wednesday. Workers in sectors including factories, construction and mining will use the technology, IBM added.

ISEA to consider a standard for wearables privacy and use

October 4, 2019

There are no standards in place to govern how data gleaned from wearables is used and protected, but, according to Lydia Baugh, director of external affairs at the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), that might be about to change. At its next annual meeting in November, the ISEA plans to start having discussions with its members about developing privacy and use standards — or at least guidance — for the data collected from wearables, how workers can view this information and in what ways the data can be analyzed to predict trends and patterns so as to better assist workers.

Tech wearables and smart PPE take the guesswork out of safety

October 4, 2019

There’s a strong case to be made for wearable technology when it comes to promoting worker safety, especially in distribution and the warehouse. Continuous measurement of biometrics such as body temperature, heartrate and respiration has provided valuable new insights into human health.

Lack of exoskeleton standards is holding back their adoption in the workplace

October 1, 2019

Exoskeletons, exosuits, wearable robots and cobots have lept from research labs and incognito startups to establish a presence on production floors and construction sites around the globe. In just five years, exos for industrial use have gone from virtually zero to approaching 10,000 commercially purchased units. Exos for industrial use have a wide range of applications, from automobile production plants to warehouses.

Study finds virtual reality training could improve employee safety

September 17, 2019

A new study suggests employee safety could be improved through use of Virtual Reality (VR) in Health and Safety training, such as fire evacuation drills. The Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. developed an immersive VR system to stimulate participants' perception of temperature, and senses of smell, sight and hearing to explore how they behaved during two health and safety training scenarios.

Marijuana breathalyzers coming to workplaces

September 17, 2019

The legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in more and more states is posing a quandary for employers. Traditional methods of drug testing can determine if someone has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the marijuana ingredient that causes a “high” - in their system, but not when they ingested it. THC can be found for weeks in the blood and urine of regular users.

Pursuing digital technologies to improve oil safety

September 5, 2019

Oil majors and others are coming together more and more to figure out how to best tackle the challenges and opportunities that digital technologies provide. In an area that is particularly critical for all of them to get right, experts joined to discuss how new technologies and digitalization are transforming safety.

Establishing a drone business in oil & gas

September 5, 2019

Drones have entered the oil and gas domain as a more comprehensive method of inspection – providing not only a flexible and cost-effective way to conduct inspections, but also a data-intensive structure for inspecting assets in a non-destructive manner.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the future of work

Dr. John Howard

August 26, 2019

What does Artificial Intelligence (AI) have to do with workplace safety and health? NIOSH has been at the forefront of workplace safety and robotics, creating the Center for Occupational Robotics Research (CORR) and posting blogs such as A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely with robots. However, much remains unknown regarding the related field of AI, specifically the application of AI at work.

Artificial intelligence will be a huge competitive asset

What you need to know about the “Smart” factory

Megan R. Nichols

August 1, 2019

Industry 4.0 has arrived, which means machine shop owners and managers of large manufacturing concerns are all looking at their options for bringing about their own transformation. But what functionality does smart factory equipment really offer? And what types of equipment are worth the price of adoption?

Safety technology tracks training, BBS, health wearables & HazCom

Ian Cohen

August 1, 2019

Whether managing inventories to ensure that your company is ‘in compliance’ with all applicable laws and regulations, managing onsite chemicals comes with huge environmental, health and safety risks.

Getting ‘smart’ about construction safety

Wearable sensors could monitor stress, physical demands and even risk perception

May 27, 2019

The construction industry, by its nature, can be dangerous. SangHyun Lee, an associate professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says wearable sensors can improve construction worker safety and also reduce costs through better data on worker health. He answers questions about his research.

PPE makes use of smart sensor technology

Clever clothing innovations are making PPE use more acceptable, with more versatile applications.

Christopher Young

May 21, 2019

Workplace safety is one of the major concerns that has been successfully driving the international industrial protective clothing fabric market. Today, from hard hats to steel-toed boots, personal protective equipment, often known as PPE, is keeping workers safe from head to toe.

The evolution of health & safety monitoring technology

Justin Stewart

May 20, 2019

This year’s AIHce is significant in that it marks 80 years since the first conference was held in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s hard to imagine what the forefathers of the industrial hygiene profession would have made of the measurement technology available today.

Technology advances industrial hygiene instrumentation

Sensors, dashboards and waves of Big Data — we aren’t in Kansas anymore. Technology needs to earn our trust — and we need the courage to adapt

Kyle Krueger

May 1, 2019

To borrow a phrase from the Wizard of Oz, we in the safety industry are “not in Kansas anymore.” Those old familiar spreadsheets, processes, and equipment that got us to where we are today, are not going to get us where we’re going.

Safety technology engages workers

Smart PPE puts your people in proactive positions; enabling real-time reporting & alerts

Greg Schrab

March 25, 2019

Ponder this: our human reality now involves a Bluetooth toaster. For $100, you too can receive push notifications when your slice of bread reaches the desired level of toasted-ness. Yes, this is almost certainly the future Steve Jobs envisioned when introducing the iPhone as a “revolutionary and magical product”.

Computer simulation helps manufacturer improve safety, health

March 22, 2019

How do manufacturing companies know the best and safest way to design workplaces and assign tasks? Ideally, injuries and illnesses should be prevented, but historically companies have adjusted their workplace policies, practices and procedures after an injury or illness occurred. In a NIOSH-supported study at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, researchers tested the role of computer simulation in promoting workers’ well-being by designing safer work.