Employee safety is critical to businesses, not just because of legal problems but also to create an ideal workplace.
Video analytic solutions have become popular in most verticals now, offering a range of benefits from better security to improved business operations. But an often-neglected advantage of using video analytics is the ease of ensuring workplace safety.
The International Labor Organization estimates
that about 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year. This corresponds to over 6000 deaths every single day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually.
Accidents are more evident in workplaces that involve intense mechanical labor, like factories, the oil and gas sector, and several other verticals that involve critical infrastructure. But this doesn’t mean that other verticals needn’t worry about workplace safety. Even a retail store has to remain vigilant as something as minor as spilled liquid causing an employee to fall can turn out to be serious.
How analytics becomes relevant
Many businesses already use surveillance cameras for security. Some of them have even begun to leverage AI analytics for business intelligence. For workforce safety, these same solutions can prove to be invaluable.
In a recent blog post
, Jeffrey Lam, Senior Manager of Large End Customers at Axis Communications, explained that with the advancement of deep-learning analytics, the same video surveillance cameras that companies use to detect loitering and intrusion could also alert workers entering restricted or high-risk areas.
“Camera analytics can also deliver helmet, safety harness, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) detection, as well as man-down alarms for improving lone worker safety,” Lam explained. “And it’s not limited to people. Video analytics can also detect the presence of unauthorized vehicles using license plate recognition, as well as dangerous driving behavior such as speeding or wrong-way driving. They can even alert to objects blocking exit doors or evacuation routes.”
The critical factor to note is that video analytics allows round-the-clock monitoring of the sites and offers instant alerts whenever an issue is detected. This is more efficient and fool-proof compared to traditional setups where a human operator monitors multiple feeds.
Top video analytic features for worker safety
One of the best things about video analytics is the pace at which they advance. Companies are constantly working on improving their algorithms, and the increased use of AI technology has made analytics more intuitive and intelligent. Certain features are of critical importance when it comes to workplace safety.
Many industries have specific norms that workers would follow. For instance, helmets are mandatory in several factories. Face masks, glasses, safety vests, gloves and boots are necessary for some verticals. In certain areas of sectors like health care, personal protective equipment (PPE) that prevent the spread of microbes is essential.
Unfortunately, there are times when people don’t follow these mandates. This could be deliberate or accidental but can result in catastrophes. Video analytics technology can continuously monitor people to ensure that they use the right equipment and alert authorities when someone does not.
Maintaining distance is not something related to the pandemic alone. In factories, for instance, employees must maintain a certain distance from large machinery that can cause accidents. Obviously, after the pandemic, many companies have tried to ensure that people maintain social distancing as well.
Video analytic solutions can detect a person’s position and movement and provide alerts if they cross the permitted distance barrier. Although social distance monitoring did not become a widely used analytic feature during the pandemic, its value in high-risk workplaces is incomparable.
Safety of lone workers
People who work by themselves without direct supervision are known as lone workers. One of the biggest risks of being a lone worker is the lack of safety monitoring. No one would ever know if a lone worker fell sick or if there was an accident.
Video analytic solutions can identify and classify body movements that may indicate illness or injury, alerting people concerned for quick action. This has become more relevant now as people begin to work remotely, from home or other places.
Audio analytics can also play a role in workplace safety. For instance, a camera microphone can capture someone screaming or if there is an alarm going off. The analytic solution can identify these sounds as requiring special attention and instantly inform operators.
On a similar note, gunshot detection solutions can also be considered an important workplace safety tool. Recent weeks have seen an increased number of gun violence incidents that heighten the importance of better protection.
Cameras that screen people to detect body temperature became popular during the pandemic. Although they continue to remain a bit controversial, businesses may benefit from using such devices to make sure their employees do not come to work when they are unwell. Some analytic solutions can also detect when people cough, providing an additional layer of protection.
Although the world has moved on from the pandemic, people continue to remain wary of any kind of contagious disease. Creating a healthy workspace is important to boost the confidence of employees.
Employee safety is critical to businesses, not just because of legal problems but also to create an ideal workplace. Accidents and illnesses can lower the morale of staff who wouldn’t be able to put in their best efforts for the company.
Video analytic solutions are an excellent tool to monitor worksites and ensure the safety of people. Businesses can leverage their existing cameras in most cases, reducing the need for heavy investment. With algorithms improving rapidly, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with more potential features in the pipeline.