Everywhere we look, new innovations are ready to provide remarkable enhancements and improvements to worker safety.
A few days ago, a Dutch engineering student introduced a prototype “ambulance drone” carrying a defibrillator and capable of traveling up to 60mph, with the goal of being able to deliver life-saving defibrillation to heart attack victims within one minute.
The DAQRI Smart Helmet is poised to reshape the safety landscape by combining PPE functions with a built-in heads up display providing workers with vital, real-time information about the workplace around them. Users will be able to incorporate safety controls and verifications into user functionality, ensuring that proper safety steps are always being followed.
And MSDSonline is also contributing to these innovations with our new Plan1 First Responder Share Service, a cutting-edge information sharing platform that allows users to seamlessly provide their local first responders with quick and easy access to onsite chemical inventory information. Through this cloud-based service, first responders can better plan, prepare and assess the risks associated with emergencies involving hazardous chemicals. The service is available for free to all HQ and HQ RegXR customers.
There is every reason to believe that we are entering an era in which new technologies will have the power to quickly create sweeping efficiencies that will help make workplaces safer and help businesses thrive. There’s also evidence that the government is working to support this.
During a trip to Germany and the UK last week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez wrote of the new “workforce innovation” he is hoping to see modernize our companies and strengthen the American middle class. OSHA head Dr. David Michael has also articulated an openness to new technologies:
“Innovation has always been inspired by economic and technological challenges in our communities, classrooms and businesses. At the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, we are committed to devoting that same ingenuity towards improving the safety and health of America’s workforce. We are always looking for better and more efficient ways to protect workers from injury and illness on the job.”
Also in this connection, the government has launched Challenge.gov, a website that lets the government post specific challenges and asks the public for solutions and innovations. More than 65 agencies across the federal government now use the website to post challenge competitions that address issues in a variety of fields — including workplace safety. So far, over 300 competitions have been successfully resolved.
Whether the most substantive and useful ideas will come from — or be bolstered by — government programs has yet to be seen. However, if current trends are any indication, we should expect to see innovators making big impacts on workplace safety, hazard communication, and other vital areas in the very near future.