EHSDA Shorts: What Are the Most Important Factors for EHS Technical Solutions?

In this installment of EHSDA Shorts, Kenna Carlsen, Senior Research Associate, National Safety Council’s Work to Zero initiative, details the most important factors for EHS technical solutions.

This clip was taken from a webinar titled “Making Innovation Accessible to Eliminate Workplace Fatality Risk,” which was part of EHS Worker Safety NOW virtual event. The full session is available for FREE on-demand here.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Question: What are the most important factors for EHS technical solutions?

Carlsen: And through our surveys what we found was that the most important considerations are technology effectiveness; obviously, we want the technology to do what it’s advertised to do and to enhance safety in the workplace so that one is the first obvious criteria.

Two, it should be relevant to those top hazards. If work at height is your number one hazard, you want to make sure that the technology that you choose is focused on addressing work at height.

We can talk a little bit more about some of those technologies that can do a myriad of things, but at its core, the technology should be relevant, it should be easy to use. Especially for the end user, we do not want technology to be cumbersome or to stand in the way of employees getting their work done safely and productively.

The lifetime costs again, we’ll talk a little bit about how to manage some of those costs and to build a business case, but it’s a huge consideration and the scalability of the technology so we always recommend starting with a small-scale pilot to have an iterative process to adopting technology. But a really important consideration is that it can be scaled across the organization to different facilities and to be integrated with other technology solutions or existing infrastructure.

And through our research what we also wanted to do was to understand what technologies people are actually using so in a survey of 500 employers across various industries, we found the most common technologies that are currently being used include EHS and risk management software, proximity sensors, which can actually detect and alert employees if they enter a restricted zone if they’re approaching machinery, if certain employees are too close to the roadway. Wearable gas monitors are also commonly used, makes sense those have been around for a while now, and robotic arms, particularly within manufacturing to cut down on some of those repetitive movements.