How Tech Is Improving Safety for Manual Handling

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By Jenny Jones, freelance writer.

For many years, technology has been significantly improving the way people work. In workplaces requiring manual handling work, technology improves productivity and ensures the health and safety of employees. 

Many businesses operate in a way where employees are at high risk for injuries. Thus, firms need to take responsibility to ensure that employees remain safe. Using technology for the health and safety of employees is not only essential for OSHA compliance. It also protects the company from costly legal fees, reduces absenteeism, increases productivity, and boosts employee morale. Here's how tech is improving safety for manual handling.

AI for Manual Handling 

Thanks to AI technologies, workers can now use wearable technologies to monitor and learn about their movement at work and prevent injuries. Typically, once a new worker has undergone manual handling training and signed off as being trained for the job, they will be left to fend for themselves. But this could put the worker at risk of injuries. With AI-powered technologies like wearables, workers can collect data and gain awareness of safe movement postures, inciting behavioural change. 

AI works by collecting large sets of data to understand patterns and behaviours. It will then train devices to make recommendations based on the data collected. With repeated use, the machine can provide predictive analysis about behaviour according to the input it receives. One of the leading causes of declining productivity at work is lost workdays due to injuries. Providing workers with AI-powered tools will help them to move safely at work. Aside from staying safe, they will feel valued and motivated to give their best at work. 

Advancements in ergonomic training using sensors are forging a step change in reducing manual handling injuries. Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning can help some of the world's leading companies to prevent a wide range of workplace injuries.

Easy Access to Training 

Employees are critical to the overall success of any business, which is why employers have to ensure their safety at all times. Thanks to technology, you can enrol your employees in online safety training, which is a more convenient option for them. Since these health and safety courses are online, it will be easier and more efficient for your employees to attend. 

With easy access to training, employees will be more aware of how to stay safe at work and avoid workplace hazards. Online training on health and safety is an efficient way to teach your workers about the numerous risks in the workplace and how they can avoid them. The usual topics covered are workplace risks, identifying danger, how to manage risks, and preventing injuries involving specific hazards.

Workplace safety awareness can significantly minimise the number of accidents at the workplace. If ignored, your organisation's competitiveness can cripple. With online health and safety training, your employees are less likely to go on leave due to work-related accidents, which can eventually result in high productivity since employees will be more motivated to work hard.

Accidents can happen anytime. But your staff will have a better chance of avoiding these if they are already aware of the dangers they face at work. With online health and safety training, they will be more familiar with the proper way to use different tools and equipment, which is particularly essential for businesses that use heavy machinery in their everyday operations.

Wearables 

The increasing use of wearable tech in the workplace for health and safety is becoming prevalent. Different wearables are available in the market to help workers stay safe and prevent injuries while performing their tasks. Each device comes with unique features and characteristics to lower workplace risks. These include fall detectors with an emergency panic button or a device that can pick up vital signs in the environment. Some wearables work like monitoring devices capable of detecting heat or air pollution. 

By monitoring employee movements, wearables can alert workers of possible danger. These devices compile data to assist in health management and improve workplace injury prevention programs and training. 

Some wearables rely on a cloud-based solution. They use a combination of videos captured through mobile applications and AI-driven data analysis to measure risk movements within the workplace, helping to implement tools that can help workers to stay safe. In doing so, employees can manage their physical well-being at work and helps businesses avoid the hefty cost associated with workplace injuries.

These AI-powered technologies may cost an employer some money, but they are worthy investments. There are many direct and indirect costs associated with workplace injuries. The cost of these AI-powered devices is nothing compared to what you would incur if one of your workers gets injured.

Robotics 

Integrating robotics in material handling will free employees from boring and repetitive tasks. They can instead focus on accomplishing activities that are more valuable for business operations. To make robotics work best for your business, consider recruiting electronic engineers who can implement and keep these machines up to date. 

Robotics can help address several safety hazards, including repetitive motion injuries, falls, lifting injuries, and fatigue. Some safety issues, such as fatigue, are also tied to productivity and quality control. Some of the roles that robotics can inherit are inspections and quality control. With robotics, you can benefit from improved quality control. Compared to manual quality control, robotics use machine vision capable of catching more errors while cutting waste by minimising rework.

Workplace safety is the main benefit of integrating robotics at work. Many employers would say that employees' safety is their primary concern. However, not every company is willing to invest in technologies that can improve workplace safety. 

If you are serious about the health and safety of your employees, consider implementing robotics to help reduce workplace injuries, which is especially beneficial in industries involving manual work. For instance, you can integrate exoskeleton robots into your workplace operations. That way, workers will not have to perform repetitive motion tasks that can often lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

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