Drones that can be controlled remotely

Drones gain access to unsafe regions, reducing employee risk dramatically, which is a fantastic example of how technology is addressing basic health and safety challenges. Drone technology is very valuable for performing work or gaining access to regions that are distant, difficult to reach, or require working at height. The latter not only assures employee safety, but also complies with the Working at Height Regulations, which require employers to eliminate the requirement for working at height if it is reasonably practicable.

Artificial intelligence

The UK government announced funds in 2017 to assist the implementation of artificial intelligence to support safer working practises. One of the results was an artificial intelligence-powered solution that continuously watches and reacts to specific threats in real time, such as only unlocking doors if certain clothing or equipment requirements are met or alerting security to an individual based on a specified profile. Certain equipment has minimum PPE requirements and will not work unless it has been determined that an employee is wearing the appropriate PPE.

Technology for check-in

Many organisations have found that the introduction of various check-in and desk booking technology has been a game-changer in terms of immediately identifying who is on site. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, many people have been asked to work from home, making this technology very useful. Employers can easily track who is at the office and who is working from home with this service. If desk booking is utilised, it can also aid in track and trace operations to determine who may have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, as well as ensuring that the appropriate level of fire warden and first aid support is provided.

Apps for lone workers and panic alarms that may be worn

The dangers of lone working have been widely recognised, and organisations have embraced technology to help mitigate these dangers. Employees' smartphones can be loaded with lone worker apps that give speedy GPS services, welfare checks, and panic alarms. Others may choose to implement wearable panic alarms for employees in high-risk scenarios, but regardless of the technology employed, these devices provide real-time information on employee location and status, as well as a first response when in a harmful environment.

What does this mean for businesses?

Technology is continually evolving, and it should be embraced in order to keep the workplace a safer and healthier environment for everyone. When determining what is 'reasonably feasible,' organisations must evaluate the usage of technology and keep it in mind when conducting risk assessments and designing safe working processes. However, while new technology may make work safer, it should be examined alongside existing work practises and implemented after sufficient interaction with workers.

It is also critical that any new working practise does not introduce extra hazards unless they have been identified and appropriately handled.