How to reduce injuries on the job with IoT data and analytics
By Russell Bee | 4 minute read | April 12, 2019
Did you know that 178 work-related accidents happen every 15 seconds? It’s a staggering number with potentially devastating effects on employees in asset-intensive industries. Businesses pay a high price for accidents, too. In the United States, estimated annual costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses total USD $170 billion. Despite extensive regulation and strong commitment to worker safety, risk management remains a huge challenge for employers in many industries.
Why? Whether it’s in a process plant, on a factory floor, or in other commercial facilities, workers can be exposed to a wide range of hazards. Many factors contribute to the achievement of good safety performance: safety culture, processes and systems must all work together to establish a safe working environment. A key aspect of creating safer workplaces is managing information about risk, and how employees can reduce their risk exposure. James Reason, a respected author in the field of human factors and organization risk, highlights the importance of safety information management in his book, Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents.
Addressing the challenges of safety information management
The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly at the edge of our client’s business processes. IBM helps organizations address the challenge of safety information management through two key integrated safety solutions: Maximo Worker Insights and Maximo Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Manager.
Maximo®Worker Insights is a cloud-based, analytics application. It manages and analyzes safety data to help organizations establish a safer working environment with fewer on-the-job incidents. It features mobile and analytics software that collects and processes data gathered from employee wearables, environmental sensors, and other IoT devices. Users tailor custom applications to individual employees, and to their supervisors, according to specific requirements.
The system uses a set of shield applications that detect workplace hazards and protect against risks. It detects hazards based on input from the wearables and other IoT devices. These applications are assigned to each worker based on their individual role and related sensors. The shields identify potential safety issues, such as proximity to danger, worker fatigue or heat stress. They then initiate preventive action before an adverse event occurs. Afterward, information related to each event is dispatched to a safety dashboard. This dashboard monitors risks and warns of long term issues.
Record incidents to prevent future hazards
In addition to Maximo Worker Insights, Maximo HSE Manager supports many safety related processes including incident management and investigation. This solution includes a comprehensive set of applications that help govern the complete lifecycle for worker related incidents or near-miss events—from first detection to corrective action and statutory reporting.
Workers can easily record incidents, safety observations, near misses and hazards using mobile apps. Then, investigation software captures the sequence of each event, the after-action review, root cause and human factor analysis to give deeper insights into the problem. Following that, a pre-built accelerator automatically generates an Incident in Maximo HSE Manager from an event identified by Maximo Worker Insights. Users can tailor the process to automatically implement corrective action, and issue OSHA style reports. They achieve a fully integrated safety management process with each incident appropriately identified, recorded, analyzed, corrected and reported.
Weave safety into the fabric of worker’s lives
The Internet of Things has made possible occupational safety features we wouldn’t have imagined possible a decade ago. With the introduction of wearable devices and the development of transactional incident management data, IBM IoT and Mitsufuji, have been able to work together to develop innovative protection for workers.
Our two organizations collaborated to create wearable workwear fabrics that provide real-time safety and awareness data to keep employees safe. The wearable device transmits the data first to the wearer’s smartphone, and then to IBM Maximo Worker Insights. This generates useful insights regarding the wearer’s health, stress level, location, and other relevant data.
For example, Maximo Worker Insights monitors heat stress, and warns workers of the danger. Now, they rest before they are overcome by symptoms. This technology has reduced the frequency of reportable incidents associated with heat stress. Combined with incident management in Maximo HSE, it has improved the quality of near miss data.
Mr. Mitera of Mitsufuji told us, “We were impressed with the capabilities of IBM Maximo Worker Insights for safety monitoring, and with IBM’s strong reputation in this area. At the same time, we saw that IBM WatsonTM IoT Platform could not only solve our scalability problem, but also provide new functionality and help to accelerate development. When we work with new clients, we often start with a phase of rapid prototyping—so the faster our development cycles are, the sooner we can deliver value.”
Catch up on the IoT Exchange
The Maximo Academy at IoT Exchange presented experts and practitioners showcasing the latest advancements in asset management – both hardware and human. Transformational stories and best practices were shared by those who have used the technology, including:
- Great River Energy spoke about myExperience–Human Performance Management in Maximo HSE.
- Universal Studios Hollywood discussed how they ensure quality and safety standards for shows and attractions.
- ON Semiconductor presented their wearable worker safety solutions: features, benefits, and learnings.
- SmartCone Technologies talked about bringing advance edge capabilities in Edge to the rescue.
- Mitsufuji presented, How Mitsufuji and IBM are Leveraging AI and IoT for Safer Working Environments.
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