Looking ahead: Tech for H&S in 2021 and beyond

Looking ahead: Tech for H&S in 2021 and beyond

Are traditional safety practices or technology solutions best for your workplace environment? Our Head of Business Development Damian Ciesielski dives into traditional and tech-based health and safety solutions, and looks into the top trends for 2021.

Are traditional safety practices or technology solutions best for your workplace environment? Our Head of Business Development Damian Ciesielski dives into traditional and tech-based health and safety solutions, and looks into the top trends for 2021.

Traditional H&S

Traditional solutions for age-old safety issues may seem like the logical step forward. Your employees and H&S leaders are likely already familiar with the processes and methods, as well as your directorate. With employee familiarity and the perceived lower cost, it may seem logical to continue with traditional methods and ways of working.

However, working with traditional methods has its downsides. With 6.3 million working days lost in 2019-2020 due to workplace injury, we need to do more to keep people safe and healthy at work. Failure to implement, follow or adequately cover your H&S needs can cost too. From legal action and lower productivity to high staff turnover and reputational damage, not having a thorough process for health and safety can lead to higher long-term costs.

Beyond this, employees can become disengaged as the safe systems and processes they are required to work to are often paper-based and frequently seen as just red tape and a tick box exercise.

Supporting traditional methods when increasing pressures on timescales and schedules can lead to the perceived need to cut corners and take risks. Technology can be used to integrate safe working much more easily into someone’s day by digitalising or automating many of the processes. In an ideal world, wearable technology could provide that tap on the shoulder or reminder when someone might have lost situational awareness, using nudges to guide people to safer behaviours.

So what are the main disadvantages of working with traditional H&S solutions?

- From accident rates, days lost, to fines and legal action, the long-term cost of failing to follow traditional H&S procedures can soar quickly

- Your employees may become disengaged with the policies or measures after being in place for so long or with pressure to be efficient

- The short method isn’t necessarily the safe method, leading to human error when productivity is perceived as more important than H&S practices

Tech for H&S?

Construction, utilities, manufacturing, rail and other high-risk industries have a lot to gain from investing in tech to improve workplace safety. With 66% of people saying that the global pandemic has changed their engagement with tech, 2021 is set to be a time of transformation as the general population becomes more reliant and familiar with technology.

Why should you consider tech in your H&S initiatives?

- Engage your employees with new ideas and processes that aren’t just mundane H&S policies and methods

- Tech innovations reach new safety critical areas in ways that traditional methods can’t, such as for social distancing, falls from height or collisions

- Removes the effect of human error and can lead to long-term savings from fines or employee sick leave

Tech trends for 2021

Following a transformative year, 2021 is set to be full of innovation as more industries re-open and look to something new. Here are some of the safety tech trends we anticipate will see the most investment in 2021:

Digitalising safe systems of work

Software applications now provide far more advanced and user-friendly processes to replace current paper-based systems, such as hazard reporting, accident logging and completion of risk assessments. This allows for valuable data gained from these documents to be easily analysed, helping companies to address potential safety risks and makes the reporting process far easier for employees. This has been proven to improve the number of hazards reported and help managers to identify ways to improve safety.

Safety wearables

These come in all forms including wrist wearables, safety glasses and other body worn sensors. While many wearables have huge potential to improve safety, they can also appear to be an invasion of privacy.

The best wearables that are successful at keeping us safe will become an important part of PPE. These will be built around the user, be simple to use and intuitive so they can work in harmony with those they are designed to protect. These wearables may provide an alert or reminder of a danger when someone has lost situational awareness or is unaware of the potential risk to them.

Virtual reality training

This involves simulating real-life situations at work to help better prepare workers for potentially challenging situations. This allows the worker to experience the day-to-day activities they will carry out on the jobs and to learn from any mistakes in a safe environment.

Whether you decide to go with a traditional or tech-based solution to support your workplace health and safety, the key area of focus is engagement with the process from your employees. When employees feel like they are not listened to, or have privacy concerns with tech, it can be challenging to get them involved and engaged with your new technology or initiative.

At Tended, one of the ways we combat this is by putting your employees first from the very beginning, developing our technology around their needs and working environment. This means employees enjoy using our technology as it is designed to easily integrate into their working day and helps keep them safe without compromising their privacy. If you’d like to learn more about our safety solutions and how they can work for your business, please get in touch.



April 19, 2021
Looking ahead: Tech for H&S in 2021 and beyond
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