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Workplace safety innovations

What are the biggest technological innovations that have affected workplace safety?

Responding is Todd Piett, CEO, Rave Mobile Safety, Framingham, MA.

Safety is not just a technology issue. The effectiveness of people and processes is enhanced only by the tools available to them, and technology itself is rarely a complete solution to workplace safety. Having said that, technological innovations are essential in creating a significant impact in securing facilities, reducing the severity of emergencies and even shortening response times for first responders. One area in which we’ve seen substantial improvements is the communication systems that organizations are implementing.

The technology powering these changes provides essential communication throughout the workforce, no matter the situation or location. Maintaining communication with employees can be essential not only in an emergency, but also for simple organizational issues such as staffing. The key to implementing an effective communication technology is to provide continuity throughout the workplace. Today, employees are bombarded by many different modes of communication, making effective emergency communication that much more important.

Communication systems are playing a key role in today’s workplace, as the modern office no longer is confined to one specific space. Mobile technologies have allowed employees to access work wherever they are, whether collaborating across campus or the country, as well as traveling remotely. With that, a major trend in workplace safety is protecting the lone employee. In the office or in a remote location, corporations still are responsible for protecting each employee. Business leaders now must be sure that communication platforms will reach all employees during an emergency, no matter the location and preferred method of communication.

With all these forms of communication come questions that businesses need to address. Are employees safe? Do they need additional resources and assistance? Are they not in their normal location? These questions can be answered with technologies such as poll-based alerting. These tools can work alongside mass notification systems to solicit information and even location data from employees in the event of an emergency. This allows groups – whether they’re located in a specific area or are members of a certain shift – to receive targeted communications with essential information in an accurate and timely manner. Using these tools alongside email, SMS text and voice options maintains continuity across all forms of communication.

The majority of employees expect to receive immediate communications from their organizations regarding emergencies. In addition to employees receiving notifications about potential life-threatening events, timely updates regarding office closures because of severe weather or system outages also must be communicated to ensure business continuity. Integrating essential communication that isn’t just associated with safety situations ensures employees are enrolled in the appropriate communication channels. Technological innovations in communications means every safety procedure can be conveyed to all employees.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

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