Over the next decade, mobile, the internet of things, machine learning, robotics, and blockchain will change the way we approach safety.

These technologies will increase safety and efficiency by removing peoples from the harm’s way. The internet of things will give us data to find better solutions by assessing the evidence of it.

There are two most important things these technologies will do are to increase proactiveness and productiveness instead of being reactive as the industries are behaving currently.

Consequently, organizations will find better and optimal solutions to increase performance or reduce incidents, better solutions to establish accurate maintenance programs, quantitative hazard, and risk assessments.

In my previous articles, I have already stressed that organizations will be forced to do things differently by technology in two ways:

  • Mindset. Behavior-based safety will focus on workers and management. It will change the decision-making process. Workers inputs will be critical to making decisions with no assumptions.

  • Workers involvement. Organizations will require workers to participate in the decision-making process, to be creative.

Engineers will spend more time looking for the future than fixing what is broken.

A critical department will be engineering to bring new technologies and justify the return on investment more than ever before.

 

It will be easier to comply with safety standards and regulations because of the data generated.

Management will change their mindset towards safety.

 

Everybody at the organization will have the same information but all personnel involved in that activity, equipment or area will be able to provide their input, therefore you will be able to find tailored solutions to solve your own challenges.

Top Ten Skills Needed for Engineers and Safety Professionals by 2020.

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Let’s review the impact of each of one of the technologies in health and safety.

  1. Mobile.

We are already using cell phones to call a taxi or using cell phones as GPS.

Virtual reality will make it more effective, for example, you can get schematics or review equipment’s performance in mobile devices to make decisions with operators and supervisors in real time.

  1. The Internet of Things.

Controls will be connected through the internet.

Engineers and safety professionals will be able to get data to exchange with customers.

Data analysis will be critical for both professions to conduct process hazards analysis to make very informed decisions in real time.

Cisco estimated 50 million devices will be connected through the internet. Cars use cell phone’s technology to collect data to measure performance and safety by the mechanics to repair them.

The oil and gas industry started monitoring wells in real time. They can monitor hydrogen sulfide H2S remotely to act in case of the readings are above occupational exposure limits.

Internet of Things and Safety- A positive relationship to go beyond compliance.

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  1. Machine learning.

It will help organizations to model safety practices. The technology will help engineers and safety professionals to tailor safety training solutions to fit the needs of the workers or demands from codes, standards, and regulations.

Safety managers can assess practices or activities of workers.

You will be able to play with variables to identify hazards in all tasks performed by workers.

  1. Robotics

It is the oldest technology on the Industry 4.0 era. It will demand safety professional to expand their knowledge in automation, machine guarding, robotics.

Safety professionals need to be able to understand manufacturing in higher level to contribute with the safety knowledge in different stages of the line of assembly,

Hazards and risk assessment will be paramount for incident prevention.

  1. Blockchain

This technology comes from the bitcoin, but blockchain has helped different industries to track each step of their transactions.

In manufacturing, this technology will help a lot to track all variables at each step in the assembly, distillation, extraction, reaction and more processes.

In the oil and gas industry, the contractors need to report their safety activities, SOPs, audits using third-party contractors. In the future, they will have required to use blockchain technology to track your safety performance.

It will help to review safety data and close gaps to have better relationships between both parts.

Are these types of technologies putting engineering and safety professional’s jobs at risk?

The answer is no, however, they will demand us to master different skills to succeed in the Industry 4.0.