The Internet of Things allows us to create networks that unite various physical objects and organize efficient data exchange between them. This is possible thanks to embedding smart sensors and different technologies that are intended for transferring data over the Internet and processing it in real-time. Today the capacities of IoT are already widely used across many industries and help companies optimize their business processes and streamline various tasks.
Huge enterprises, organizations, and small startups that work in different spheres are actively investing in IoT technology as they see its potential in transforming the business landscape. It is expected that by 2030 the IoT total annual revenue worldwide will hit the mark of $621 billion.
One of the aspects where IoT-based solutions have already proven their power is workplace safety. Thanks to the ability to organize 24/7 real-time monitoring and smart accident prevention tools, this technology can greatly help to make working facilities a much safer and more secure place for people.
Let’s have a closer look at the capacities of IoT in enhancing working conditions for people and, simultaneously, increasing productivity and taking companies’ profits to a new level.
One of the use cases of IoT technology that is already widely known among many businesses in the manufacturing industry is predictive maintenance. Thanks to such solutions, it is possible to notice any deviating trends and failures in any equipment or devices that are included in the IoT ecosystem. Thanks to the possibility to detect such issues beforehand and react to them in a proper way, the chances of any related ill-fated accidents are lower.
For detecting potential issues that can become a threat to employees, predictive maintenance relies on ML algorithms. IoT systems gather data from smart sensors to define patterns and identify signs that can indicate technical issues.
Thanks to having access to this information, companies can take proactive measures to avoid accidents that can lead to serious injuries and financial losses.
Tracking the physical state of employees
Many accidents at workplaces happen because employees are too tired or feel unwell. But IoT devices, and, first of all, wearables, can help companies to monitor the physical state of employees. Thanks to the gathered data, it is possible to make the right decisions on assigning this or that task to a particular person. Moreover, thanks to wearable devices, it is possible to track the location of each person. And in those cases when a person is injured or has any health issues, it will be significantly easier to find him or her in the shortest terms and provide the required assistance.
It’s also worth mentioning that thanks to such technologies companies can not only increase the safety of employees but also boost their productivity. When the right tasks are assigned to the right people at the right moment, the performance will be much higher.
Vehicle and equipment navigation
The next use case that we would like to mention has special importance for businesses that operate their own warehouse facilities or have big storage areas. For such companies, it is crucial to monitor the precise location of all the equipment and vehicles in order to avoid collisions and minimize the risk of damages and possible injuries that they can cause to employees. For doing that, a lot of companies already use laser scanners. They help to increase safety at warehouse facilities thanks to providing operators with the exact location of different objects that can become a source of collision.
Moreover, equipment and vehicle monitoring can be also combined with the use of RFID tags (radio frequency identification tags) that are used for tracking the inventory. Thanks to such tags, managers can also detect the way employees interact with equipment and goods and find the patterns that can potentially pose a threat to people or inventory.
A better understanding of the working environment
When the company’s staff and management have a good understanding of all the ongoing working conditions, they have significantly higher chances to prevent accidents from happening.
Environmental sensors can help to detect any potential threat. Acceptable working conditions that are safe for equipment and people’s health can vary due to the specificity of each enterprise. Nevertheless, each company can set its critical levels for such parameters as air temperature, humidity, etc. When these critical levels are achieved, a system can notify employees.
While the above-mentioned use cases have a rather wide application, this one is rather specific. Unfortunately, today, workplace fires are not a rare situation. And IoT systems can help not only to quickly stop fire spread but also to identify any possible conditions that hint that a fire can happen. Fire safety sensors can detect changes in temperature and send alerts to authorized users even before a fire begins. Tracking temperature rises is of crucial importance for preventing possible fires.
Thanks to early detection of fire probability, companies can timely organize the evacuation of staff and take all the preventive measures to stop a fire or at least to minimize losses.
Higher effectiveness of rescue operations
IoT devices can also help in rescue operations. Thanks to the possibility to enhance IoT devices, including but not limited to wearables, with geolocation modules, in case of emergency it will be rather simple to detect a person’s exact location.
It is believed that in the future the popularity of IoT-powered tools aimed at increasing the level of workplace safety will grow despite the investments that are initially required for their implementation. Workplace incidents that can cause damages and injuries always cost much more than expenses on such solutions.
As you can see, while some use cases of IoT technology are industry-specific, when it comes to workplace safety, the key functionality is practically universal. Nevertheless, if you are thinking about enhancing the safety of your facilities with the help of IoT, we recommend you create a custom system as only in this case it will be fully tailored to your needs and will fully correspond to the peculiarities of your working processes.