Working on the edge: ensure safety with IoT and edge computing

IBM Maximo Worker Insights supports safety and promotes peace of mind

By | 4 minute read | May 5, 2020

Maximo Worker Safety

Danger in the workplace comes in many dimensions. Today, we’re challenged by an invisible threat in microscopic form. But more typically, we deal with much larger and more obvious dangers that vary from work site to work site. And while some of the risks may be easily and immediately recognized, others are somewhat less evident.

Take, for example, an open pit mine. Gargantuan excavators, dump trucks, and wheel loaders move tons of overburden to expose the valuable minerals below. Most of us immediately think of the safety of the equipment operator, and the hazards of managing the heavy, complex machinery. But there’s another very real and serious danger that is somewhat less obvious: these vehicles often have blind spots. This not only puts the operator at risk, but it poses a significant threat to those who are working on the ground nearby. If everyone on the site is not acutely attentive, one unanticipated shift of the equipment could cause serious, if not life threatening, injury.

Another compelling example is found in the oil and gas industry. We immediately recognize that oil rigs and other drilling operations are inherently dangerous working environments. But there exists an invisible hazard that requires unwavering vigilance: the extraction of oil and natural gas can create an explosive atmosphere. One false move by a worker, and the result could be catastrophic.

Accidents can and must be prevented

Workplace dangers have existed since the dawn of human enterprise. But the way we handle the risks has changed. Responsibility for safety has, in most instances, shifted from the worker to the employer. Rules, processes and policies now protect the workers, and if the correct precautions aren’t followed, the employer is held liable for damages.

This is why it’s morally and legally incumbent upon every organization to employ the most up-to-date technology possible to ensure the safety and security of every worker.

Protect your workers with insights on the edge

To fully protect workers, instantaneous insights into the environment and potential dangers are absolutely essential. Without them, workers are unable to take action to ensure proactive protection. To do this, workers require a comprehensive solution that consolidates data from a variety of sources and delivers it quickly to where it is needed. Often, systems aren’t in place to gather, consolidate and analyze the data. And in many environments, cell phones are either a dangerous distraction or inoperable.

IBM® Maximo® Worker Insights analyzes information such as IoT data from wearables, environmental sensors and other data and, when appropriate, delivers alerts directly to the worker on site. It takes into account time and place, along with trending and forecasting analyses. Now with edge computing capability, Maximo Worker Insights functions even more effectively to deliver personalized, near real-time insights. Edge computing allows processing to occur closer to the source of action, even without internet connections. Using a highly accelerated data stream, Worker Insights responds almost instantaneously to conditions and provides the needed alerts through a secure remote device. The result is a comprehensive and scalable solution that enables workers to be more informed and protected, and enables employers to identify and eliminate hazards in the workplace.

IBM Maximo Worker Insights supports safety and peace of mind

The solution supports three vitally important team members to ensure safety and compliance: the worker, the supervisor and the safety officer. Each one is provided with the information they need, when and where they require it.

The worker:  The employee who needs protection is equipped with device (such as a smartwatch) and wearables (like safety shoes) with built-in sensors. The sensors relay critical information to edge nodes that are positioned throughout strategic work site locations. Metrics are collected and analyzed using IoT and edge computing to instantly alert the worker of any potential hazards.

The supervisor:  The supervisor carries a mobile phone equipped with IBM Maximo Worker Insights app. Whenever a hazard notification is triggered, the supervisor receives an alert through the mobile phone.

The safety officer:  A browser-based dashboard alerts the safety officer of each incident that occurs. The location, time and other details are displayed in a clear, searchable and understandable fashion, enabling the safety officer to recognize patterns and identify areas for improvement. Maximo Worker Insights produces reports that the safety officer can submit to appropriate stakeholders or regulatory bodies.

Edge computing to IBM Maximo Worker Insights

Worker safety is absolutely essential to the operation of a successful operation. The adoption of Maximo Worker Insights, now supplemented with edge computing, is an investment to help ensure compliance while it provides workers with the confidence they need to perform their tasks.

So whether you’re using sensors to ensure your staff is working safely in adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, or you’re monitoring heavy equipment to reduce on-site accidents and injury, Maximo Worker Insights gives you the support you need.

IBM continues to introduce innovative technologies like these so we can help organizations acquire the intelligence and insights they need to act decisively for the benefit of their workers, their markets, and our environment. We want to help make the world a safer place, whether the threat is a tiny virus or a massive articulated hauler.

Learn more about IBM Maximo Worker Insights and Edge Computing solutions