What does the internet of things have to do with safety? As it turns out, a lot.

July 20, 2018

Internet of Things 101

It’s 7 am. Your alarm goes off and notifies your coffee maker to start brewing your morning coffee. When it’s time to head to work, you get into your car and get a notification from Siri that your usual route has heavier traffic than normal, so Google Maps automatically reroutes you on the quickest route. These type of modern conveniences that we’ve come to rely on are referred to the internet of things (IoT).

With the rapid evolution of technology and its ability to transform our lives, it’s amazing how the internet of things touches so many aspects of daily living. Simply put, the internet of things takes everyday devices and connects them to one another using the internet. If you’ve ever controlled a Nest thermostat on your mobile device, congratulations, you’ve used the internet of things. If you’ve ever tracked a run with GPS on your smart watch, YOU are now a part of the internet of things.

Evolution of the industrial internet of things

The internet of things has evolved one step further and spilled into the industrial space by creating connectivity to everyday pieces of equipment. As the IoT has continued to evolve, the implications for safety are huge. Now, personal protective equipment (PPE) can be connected through the internet to job sites, safety managers and to the workers who wear it. Not only is this exciting from a technological standpoint, it’s also exciting to watch the industrial IoT help create a safer workplace.

Why does it matter that we can connect PPE to people and job sites? As we’ve mentioned, it makes for a much safer workplace. And it also turns out that it can save already resource-strapped health and safety managers tons of time. Plus, like most connected devices, it offers a slew of data and analytics that can be used to shape an even safer workplace and increase regulatory compliance.

A time saving measure that’s insightful

If you’re a safety manager, how much time do you spend filling out paperwork and managing records? Our guess is that it’s more than you’d like. We know that paperwork is time consuming, we know it’s hard to find it when you need it and we know that when you get audited, you spend even more time finding records and trying to organize them all in one place.

By using the industrial IoT, you can unlock data and drive new insights that make a real difference to your company’s productivity, worker safety and your bottom line. Do you find there tends to be issues with a certain worker, piece of equipment or part of your job site? The industrial internet of things helps you identify issues so you can address them. For example, you can conduct a safety inspection by scanning a worker’s bar code, even while offline, and bring up all their training records and see which pieces of equipment they are trained to use.

Safety software on the job

With the 3M™ Inspection & Asset Management System, we’re already seeing customers using the safety software gain back more time and insights that actually matter to their workplace inspections. One customer uses the software to manage all their fall protection workplace inspections. This saves between 15-20 minutes per worker on their individual inspection. It’s easy to find their workers and the gear they use, without any paperwork needed. If a utility company has 1,000 or more harnesses, lanyards, SRLs and anchor points to inspect, this adds up to a lot of time back in your day, week, month and year.

Another company using the 3M safety software uses it to manage procedures and track hazards on each shift. They use the safety software’s checklists function to track different data points to see if they’re trending in the right direction and can document unsafe practices so these can be fixed.

Key benefits of the industrial internet of things

You’ve told us that you’ve saved time and made workers safer and more productive with a safety software app but these are the top four things we always come back to when we get asked why the 3M™ Inspection & Asset Management System matters.

  1. Safety equipment management. A safety app can let you know where the equipment is, how many pieces you’re managing, what the life cycle of each piece of equipment is, and track when inventory is lost or stolen. When a piece of equipment has been tagged and scanned with the safety software, you’ll know who is in charge of that equipment and who should be taking care of it.
  2. Managing safety inspections on equipment. Whether it’s a harness, an eyewash station or a ladder, you’ll have a record of each piece of equipment’s history so you’ll be able to conduct preventative maintenance to help ensure everything is in peak operational and safety shape.
  3. Worker safety training. One of the best parts about 3M Connected Safety is having worker training records at your fingertips, even when you don’t have an internet connection. You’ll be able to type in the worker’s name or scan their badge to see their health and safety training history and help ensure they’re properly certified to do the job at hand.
  4. Area inspections. This aspect of the safety software requires a worker to physically walk the area to make sure equipment is safely put away and that no hazards exist. It requires people to go scan and fill out the checklist in person, rather than just penciling it in on a piece of paper and calling it a day.

 

Want to learn more about how safety software can make your life easier? Visit us online to request a free demo.

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