Importance of workplace safety
With 22,186 reported workplace injuries in 2021, and 24 workplace deaths in 2022 alone, it is no surprise that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conducted 400 inspections in May and June under Operation Ibis in 2021, targeting high-risk sectors such as manufacturing and construction, with a focus on machinery safety.
MOM, Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and industry partners have also called on companies to conduct a Safety Time-Out (STO) from 9 May 2022.
This increasing pattern of government intervention to improve workplace safety has proven to be detrimental to companies who fail to comply. Companies issued with the stop-work order have mentioned that implementing safety features might cost up to S$70,000, but the stop-work order had caused greater losses, including failing to fulfil contracts.
Workplace safety has become increasingly important with the large number of work fatalities, and the government has introduced new initiatives to reduce such accidents from happening. Compulsory safety time-outs, issuing stop-work order and more unannounced inspections are becoming a norm.
These government initiatives are just the start, making it important for companies who use heavy machinery in their work to adhere to safety protocols and practice workplace safety. Failing to adhere to workplace safety measures can cost companies manpower losses and even monetary losses from shutting down due to such government orders.
For companies, implementing safety measures is a more sustainable way to prevent accidents or stop-work orders, which could lead to even greater losses. Safety measures can be seen as an investment, which would ultimately produce a safer work environment and a thriving business.
Initiatives to curb workplace injuries
Safety officers are one way to implement and maintain the organisation’s workplace safety and health (WSH) procedures for a safe working environment. Their role is to ensure workers’ safety at all times, especially around heavy and dangerous machinery.
However, it is impossible to assign safety officers at every site 24/7. A simple human oversight or a quick glance away could cause an accident in the blink of an eye. Having to attend to multiple employees at the same time – forklift operators, nearby workers and the products they are moving – could call for unintentional negligence.
Simply stationing multiple workers around to ensure that machines are being used correctly and safely is poor resource management. Why engage costly human resources when accidents and preventive measures can be done by new technologies?
Workplace accidents in Singapore
In the first 5 months of 2022 alone, there have been as many as 20 workplace fatalities, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong raising concerns that “safety standards and practices seem to have slipped”. Forklift incidents accounted for several of these workplace accidents, and according to MOM and the WSH Council, many of these fatalities could have been prevented with basic safety measures. Forklift operators and workers are exposed to different hazards in the course of their daily work duties, and more needs to be done.
Manufacturing, construction and logistics are some of the common industries that engage forklifts for their daily operations. The daily use of such heavy and dangerous machinery would require additional safety measures, where the current measures might be insufficient or even inadequate.
Computer Vision to improve safety monitoring
Computer Vision is the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to perform tasks in the same manner as human vision. This includes “seeing” and understanding the visual information. With deep learning algorithms and artificial neural networks, computer vision can substitute human vision.
Through Computer Vision, important stakeholders can now have the ability to monitor the daily operations remotely and closely. This AI-powered technology can identify and alert managers of safety breaches without them being on site, allowing them to do “smart safety monitoring” to ensure safety compliance is in place. The system can perform body recognition and track individuals in any area, and incorporate alarms and alerts to notify surrounding workers that they are within the danger zone.
Operators and workers in the danger radius will be notified immediately to halt with the distinct alarm. This technology can detect workers in a close radius around the machine, including blindspots that the operator may miss. Overtime, the system can also identify workers and produce insights to workers’ behaviour such as dangerous driving of forklifts or tendency to drive close to objects. With such insights, companies will be able to further improve their safety protocols and strategies, such as retraining of workers or awarding workers who perform good safety practices.
Such solutions can offer an accurate detection system to ensure safety compliance, and save on costly manpower resources through the use of AI.
You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.Daniel Keys Moran
By adopting the Computer Vision technology, data can be collected to identify safety lapses, derive important insights and provide real-time notifications and alerts. This solution is a preventive approach to helping companies to improve workplace safety while monitoring safety-related incidents for better strategic planning. It also helps to reduce reliance on manual monitoring, thus easing the manpower crunch, and reduce instances of stop work orders due to safety gaps.
We aim to create a safer work environment for everyone
Here at Groundup.ai, we aim to create a safer work environment for everyone through the use of our technologies. We want to help these workers to return home from work safely, and to offer them a piece of mind about their work conditions. By covering this safety aspect for organisations, they can now better focus their efforts and resources elsewhere.
By adopting our AI-powered Computer Vision technology, it can help to ensure safety at work, while driving cost savings, to achieve long-term sustainability in your business. We can tailor a solution to suit each business’ wants and needs. Reach out to us today to start creating a safer work environment for your team!