According to the Labour Force Survey, between 2019 and 2020, 693,000 working people sustained an injury at work. Yet, most workplace accidents are preventable and are often the result of unsafe practices or insufficient training.
Leveraging advanced technology like augmented reality (AR) could reduce workplace incidents. AR enhances real-world environments with computer-generated data to enable interactive, visual and immersive experiences.
From a health and safety perspective, this innovative technology enables workers to learn on the job safely, promotes collaboration from anywhere, and empowers employees with the knowledge they need to stay protected at work.
Continue reading to discover how companies are harnessing the power of AR to support health and safety efforts and improve workplace safety standards.
Uses of AR in workplace health and safety
Augmented reality tools create cost-effective, safe environments during training and on-site work. By blending virtual environments, real-time information and worker intuition, AR can empower businesses to take a proactive, engaging approach to health and safety.
According to data released in 2020, the construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries report the most fatal accidents every year, making them the most dangerous industries to work in. All three industries have rigorous health and safety regulations in place, but there are clearly issues that traditional approaches can’t resolve.
That’s where AR comes in.
This innovative technology may not be the answer to every risk in the workplace, but there are certain areas where it can help reduce injuries and support health and safety measures.
1. Quick Repairs and Maintenance
When incidents aren’t resolved quickly and repairs aren’t performed in a timely manner, health and safety standards slip. Unfortunately, repair workers aren’t always available on demand.
AR solutions like Fixzy Assist help connect on-site workers with off-site experts to ensure repairs are handled quickly and with care.
Using a smartphone or tablet, the worker can share the problem with the specialist via a video feed, and AI will then provide helpful information: the name of the equipment and potential issues, for example. Once the issue is identified, the off-site expert can use AR technology to superimpose their hand onto the worker’s screen, guiding them clearly and visually through the repair process.
Speeding up the repair process reduces downtime — but more importantly, it ensures the worker’s safety by eliminating risks before they become dangerous.
2. Immersive Health and Safety Training
Another way AR is helping to improve health and safety at work is by bridging the gap between the classroom and the physical experience.
When we think of health and safety training, countless manuals, outdated DVDs and an overload of information come to mind. In many cases, a traditional approach to training is neither effective nor engaging for the trainee. Trainees come away without the knowledge they need — and that could hinder their overall development.
AR health and safety education enables workers to dive into the world of work safely. For example, before handling heavy machinery, junior workers can put on an AR headset, which will overlay text and training information to guide them through the entire process step by step.
Providing hands-on experience in a controlled environment helps workers absorb information more effectively and reduces the need for repeat training sessions — a win-win for both the employer and the employee.
3. Guaranteed Compliance
Industries like construction and engineering are required to follow stringent health and safety requirements. Unfortunately, managers can’t supervise every worker to ensure they abide by safety measures. This can lead to accidents and injuries, which can be costly and damaging to an organisation’s reputation.
AR can act as an extra layer of protection against occupational hazards by projecting instructions and safety checklists onto workers’ headsets, for example. The worker, therefore, can see the mandatory checks they need to complete to comply with health and safety guidelines and reduce any risks.
After completing these mandatory checks, confirmation will be recorded in the system, providing a step-by-step timeline for inspectors that proves compliance.
4. Visibility over Hazardous Areas
Augmented reality can be used to show workers where possible hazardous or no-go areas are located. By using a smartphone or tablet, workers can scan for dangerous areas, giving them a clear visual picture of the hazards and helping them avoid pitfalls.
When workers are more aware of their surroundings, they are better equipped to safely navigate the job site and accidents occur less often. For example, on a construction site, workers can easily visualise underground services like gas and electrical systems. In other words, AR helps to improve safety and keeps project costs down.
Perhaps surprisingly, nearly a third of construction workers fail to search for underground electrical wires when digging on site, and 80 injuries were reported in 2020 as a result. AR can help prevent damage to underground utility lines and ensure health and safety at work.
Create a Safer Working Environment with Fixzy Assist
Harness the power of technology today to make your workplace safer and more efficient. Fixzy Assist uses AR, machine learning and advanced computer vision to allow experts to offer over-the-shoulder advice from anywhere for improved health and safety at work.
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