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The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) improves connectivity, efficiency and scalability for industrial organisations. Combined with the power of big data and analytics, the IIoT is an incredibly powerful concept that drives in-depth insights for organisations. Many companies are already leveraging IIoT and data analytics with remarkable success in core operations and achieving significant results in time and cost savings.
One application of the IIoT that can make an equally impactful mark on a business is the management of environmental health and safety (EHS) risks. EHS risk management focuses on protecting employees, the public and the environment from harm. This risk focus is in the form of reducing the probability of an incident occurring and its consequences or adverse effects, says Jagan Garimella, CTO of ProcessMAP.
With the number of connected devices expected to reach upward of 100 billion by 2025, the opportunities to use such devices effectively to help manage EHS only continues to increase. Connected technology can enhance EHS management practices and by embracing the IIoT for EHS, companies can take advantage of new opportunities to reduce the risk of injury to workers and harmful impacts to the environment.
However, sometimes even the best ideas are met with objections. Below are two common objections/challenges you will likely encounter when planning a Safety Stand-Down – and what you can do to overcome them and plan effective Stand-Downs at your organization.
Here’s why it’s important to go above and beyond this week:
There isn’t a magic formula, but ask yourself these questions when planning Stand-Down sessions:
Don’t just use your instincts to answer questions – use insights drawn from analysis of your incident data. Let your data guide the planning process and use it to emphasize the importance of safety during the talks themselves to maintain participant engagement.
Your ability to answer these questions and hold effective Stand-Downs will rely on your company’s effectiveness in managing incidents and tracking incident data. Having accurate information as well as the right analytical tools will help you identify your program’s biggest issues and build prevention strategies.
Here are some examples of how data can help you plan your Stand-Down strategy:
A heat map like the one below shows you what shifts have the highest number of recordable injuries.
The business case for IIoT for EHS is clear, so what can companies do to pursue an IIoT-enabled solution?
Though IIoT is still an early technology, it is improving rapidly and, more importantly, changing every day. As such, companies should be judicious if looking to invest in a full IIoT solution right away without considering the nuances involved with such a fast-evolving technology.
The best approach is to start small and slow by picking one area – connected assets, wearables, software architecture, etc. – of IIoT enablement to optimise uses, and then focus on building an IIoT platform from there. Systematically adding new areas of functionality with robust data analytics will allow organisations to grow the platform organically while slowly integrating IIoT enablement into any existing EHS processes.
After implementation, companies could setup well-defined metrics and goals for incident prevention for example, and then work to meet those goals while increasing the scale of deployment for IIoT. According to Intel, IIoT for asset management can boost production by an estimated 5-25 % and increase asset utilisation by 3-5 %. These can be valuable benchmarks for an organisation to evaluate its progress.
Most importantly, technology alone cannot solve every business issue when it comes to EHS risk management. IIoT and data analytics for EHS are tools managers can use to forecast threats, collect data, and ultimately make better decisions. To move to a zero-incident culture, companies must also have a comprehensive EHS strategy and protocols in place and use IIoT to gain further insight and enhance safety measures within an organisation.
Nonetheless, with the right people, right strategy, and right technology courtesy of IIoT, any company regardless of size can make great strides in environmental health and safety as long as they remember that a steady and methodical approach is best.