Making Workplaces Safer – IMC Online Conference

  • January 20, 2021
  • William Payne

Keeping the workplace safe has never been so vital. The coronavirus pandemic has turned every workplace into a potential threat to public health. While some companies can continue to function with home working, most manufacturing and industrial firms still require employees to be working at the workplace. Therefore it has never been so important to keep the workplace safe.

The IMC Healthcare Workplaces and Cars Online Conference, held earlier this month, addressed this topic in a session devoted to safety in cities, schools, and industrial workplaces.

According to Sarah Brown, Vice President for Marketing, Multi-Tech Systems, and current Chairman of the IMC, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed how we look at safety in the workplace: “There are three pillars to safety in the workplace: the oldest of these is keeping workers safe in hazardous and dangerous environments. There is also the issue of security in the workplace. But the pandemic has brought the third of these, sanitation and hygiene, absolutely to the fore. We’ve always had hand-wash and other sanitation products in the workplace. But the covid-19 pandemic has introduced new concerns and taken things to another level.”

Shannon Duvendack, Partner at IoT Launch, underlined how workplace safety has assumed a far greater importance for manufacturing and industrial workplaces than for other industries, such as services or banking. “These changes and these technologies are really important for manufacturing,” said Ms Duvendack. “Other industries can work from home. But in manufacturing, people still need to go into work, so they need technologies to keep them safe in the workplace.”

According to Ms. Brown, the pandemic has introduced an important new role for IoT devices in keeping the workplace safe. “This includes proximity monitors, as well as touchless temperature sensors which can automatically assess staff members temperatures as they come into the workplace or into a location. Understanding capacity numbers has also become critical during the pandemic,” said Ms. Brown.

“We are also seeing a real uptick in sanitation supplies management. Even perhaps with only 30% of your usual workforce being on site, with the rest working from home, we are still seeing that the workforce on site is using perhaps three times more sanitation products because of the pandemic. So how do you manage such a jump in sanitation product usage. We are seeing a lot of interesting applications in sanitation product supply management and control. Workplace sanitary product management has undergone a real change as a result of the pandemic,”

“We are also seeing a major growth in touchless technology in the workplace, directly related to the pandemic. The less things you touch in the workplace, the safer we’ll all be. Things like not touching the faucet. These may seem like very small things, but they make a real difference,” said Ms. Brown.

According to Ms. Duvendack, remote imaging is becoming a promising technology in keeping the workplace safer. “Applying lidar in the workplace is one potential To get really accurate positioning to help maintain and monitor people’s distance from each other. IoT badges is another technology that can help assess where people are in the workplace, and keep track of where they have been and who they have interacted with.”

The impact of this shift in the use of IoT and remote technologies will have a last effect on workplace safety that will persist beyond the pandemic, Ms Duvendack suggested: “This same technology is also helping workers in danger zones. It can help alert workers when they are entering a potential danger zone. So the IoT technologies that we are seeing being introduced to deal with the dangers of the pandemic in the workplace are also helping increase other areas of workplace safety.”