The skilled work of the trades builds the world around us, but this work wouldn’t be possible without high-quality safety programs. With a job that is so integral to the success of the organization, safety professionals carry a lot of responsibility to understand and employ the latest technologies for their enterprise. Eliminating inefficient and costly processes like filing paper reports or managing projects analog in lieu of new digital tools is one way safety professionals can strengthen their company’s safety culture, providing higher quality processes and outcomes for both themselves and their organization. 

This article covers ways to enhance safety programs with the emerging digital tools and technologies that are changing the way we work.

Utilizing virtual environments

Augmented reality (AR) is one critical digital tool being utilized for jobsite training in a number of fields. Using a virtual environment combined with real-world visuals, AR can easily simulate processes used in training with more affordable overhead and a shorter time commitment than traditional training methods. For example, safety professionals are using AR to overlay digital content onto real camera views of the various physical environments on a jobsite, creating an interactive experience via smartphones or AR headsets that enables users to learn safety procedures in real-life situations with far less danger than real-time on-the-job learning. By interacting with a virtual problem before encountering it in real life, employees have the opportunity to troubleshoot in real-time and prepare themselves for any dangerous situations that may arise. AR also allows employees to virtually experience hazardous situations rather than just reading about them in job manuals – empowering them with more important experience and reducing new employee risk. 

AR can also be used for emergency management and facility navigation. According to the World Economic Forum, workplace facilities have traditionally employed workplace safety and emergency exit plans using 2D maps displayed in common and high-traffic areas, but this continues to change thanks to government mandates that require the use of 3D models for public projects. With AR, companies can layer traditional inspection forms over the AR-generated floor maps to help safety inspectors and professionals better navigate a physical facility while saving the time and money involved in the traditional mapping process. This kind of technology fosters a safer, more secure work environment that puts employee wellness first while also improving workflow for safety professionals. 

Safety behind the scenes

Modernizing technologies on job sites is a crucial step in improving performance, but continuing and building on that success requires a digital mindset behind the scenes. 

Today, companies are moving from manual, error-prone administrative processes to digital records that provide accurate, real-time data. For example, there are digital project management solutions that allow increased, real-time visibility. These solutions provide safety professionals with a hub for incident reporting, ensuring that no records are misplaced and allowing for the ability to see incident trends over time. Digital tools are empowering safety professionals to provide better training, better hazard evaluations and more.  

Additionally, employee PPE programs have gone digital, enabling online project management, selection and customization of safety gear. Digital programs can outfit employees with jobsite-appropriate PPE through an online portal and digital voucher systems allow employees to redeem the PPE as they would like – online or in stores. Digital voucher management solutions ensure compliance across large numbers of employees and locations, while also putting program data at your fingertips, including real-time visibility and control over employee eligibility and purchase tracking. Look for a PPE partner that will be a guide through the outfitting process, working with you to determine your company’s needs and help build customized programs to provide PPE that is purpose-built for the environments your workers face in today’s ever-changing digital world.

Connecting workers for safety

Today’s safety professional is more connected than ever, relying on digital tools to help their employees stay as safe and productive as possible. Safety professionals can empower their employees by utilizing technologies that bring data and insights to life, making their companies even more desirable to prospective and current workers due to a higher quality of work for employees. An efficient and effective workplace safety program is the best way to ensure well-being, and emerging and interactive digital solutions are increasingly integral to success.