Companies are spending billions to digitize machines and gather data at what I consider to be an alarming rate. But what’s even more amazing to me is that these same organizations aren’t doing anything to support their most value asset – the workers. Every day in the U.S. millions of people do their jobs without the benefit if data. Data that, with IoT, is readily available.
Think about it. We can tell the second a machine is vibrating too much. Yet if a worker sees an opportunity to save a company millions - or reports a potentially dangerous situation that could cause injury or worse - their only options are to either find a piece of paper and write a note, or tell a manager who may or may not be interested in passing the information along. Billions of dollars are spent every year to train skilled workers - but we don’t let them use what they learn to communicate opportunities for productivity, quality and safety.
When I mention this, I sometimes get the response that “Who cares – they’ll all be replaced by robots soon anyway?” What’s ironic is that the literal “king of robots”, Elon Musk, completely disagrees that technology will eventually replace people. He realized that would never happen when he decided to build cars, and you can find countless interviews with Musk on that very topic.
And what is a robot, anyway? It’s not a “human replacement.” It’s simply a data driven task execution machine. It receives data, does things and transmits data. Skilled trade workers without data are also just “task execution machines” but think about it - how powerful could your workforce be if everyone had the ability in real time to receive and transmit data as part of the IoT environment.
- Ted Smith, President, CEO and Co-Founder of Corvex. Connect with Ted on LinkedIn here.
With the relentless juggernaut of development of workplace technology across all industries, workers may be apprehensive about augmenting their own smarts with smart tech. IoT and AI are becoming increasingly more common as part of employees' daily lives, and the safety industry is no exception. The rise of smart PPE and systems like the Corvex platform that enable the entire team from management to workers to monitor and predict safety real-time are the future of workplace safety. We believe the more actively workers manage their own safety through the use of smart, connected devices, the more engaged they are and ultimately, the more satisfied they become with their work experience.
But Kelly Peters, a behavioral economics expert and CEO of management consulting firm BEworks, believes the primary challenge in moving into a future where workers have to share their smarts with smart technology will be in helping employees overcome resistance.
A new episode of the EHS Daily Advisor's EHS on Tap podcast featuring Corvex and PPE Partner Ergodyne went live today! In this episode, Joe O’Brien, Founder and Chairman of Corvex Connected Safety and Tom Votel, President and CEO of Ergodyne, discuss how digital transformation presents opportunities for environmental, health and safety safety innovations. In particular they focus on a connected safety system, where PPE products become "smart" when powered by a platform like the Corvex Connected Safety™ Platform that enables workers and management to gather and share useful, meaningful, real-time hazard information anywhere in the workplace.
Click here to listen to the latest EHS Daily Advisor podcast featuring Joe O'Brien and Tom Votel.
Corvex has recently partnered with BEworks, a leading management consulting firm, to increase safety accountability in the workplace. The two organizations have released an initial report entitled Leveraging Behavioral Economics and Technology to Reduce Workplace Incidents to define the benefits of using behavior-based methods to improve safety. The report also outlines new application features within the Corvex solution to optimize behavioral interventions and decrease workplace risks.
Safety is the one aspect of the work environment that has a direct impact on employees. For example, the United States Department of Labor estimates that one in ten workers are injured on construction sites each year. And other industries have similar numbers. This is the reason that worker engagement in safety measures is essential to maintaining a safe workplace. Unfortunately it’s not always enough to motivate them. When employees are engaged in the safety strategies of their workplace, they are more productive, help others, and are eager to provide feedback to improve safety efficiency. While connected safety strategies may be a new concept in the workplace, methods can be used to encourage your employees to embrace them to improve overall safety.
For almost half a century, MCR Safety has been on the forefront of innovative, quality PPE manufacturing. In April they took their products to the next level by partnering with us to create a new generation of smart PPE technology. This Smart PPE will take advantage of sensor technology to give workers and supervisors real-time feedback on hazards and facilitate safety communication across the entire work space.
Corvex had a chance to interview Mitch Lewellyn, CEO of MCR Safety about the challenges in safety programs today and how smart PPE will soon revolutionize worker safety.
Injuries in the workplace can be costly for a company. Initial medical bills for an injured employee can affect insurance premiums and downtime for valued employees also costs a company in terms of not only dollars, but productivity as well. Thankfully worker injuries and illnesses have dropped considerably in the last few decades - down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.9 per 100 in 2016. (OSHA) However, any problem can still not only dramatically impact the lives of workers and those around them, it can equate to substantial profit loses for a business, not to mention the loss of productivity.
The linear relationship between workplace safety and a company’s budget for safety might be something to consider. Often the problem has less to do with the actual dollar amount invested in safety, but rather the approach to handling safety, or the "philosophy of safety" in the work environment. The fact of the matter is more and more executives and leaders are understanding that a stronger safety culture can make significant contributions to a company’s bottom line. At Corvex, we think of it not only as a "culture" but also as a strong safety community, powered by workers engaged in their own safety and the safety of those around them.
Safety gear is essential to keeping workers safe from on the job hazards that can cause injuries and illnesses. PPE is not new to industry and protective gear such as hard hats, gloves, glasses, and vests have been utilized in dangerous environments for hundreds of years. Initially PPE was used to protect a person from falling objects, splatters, or spills. But technology has given us materials that can withstand high temperatures, is impervious to penetrations, and is resistant to corrosive substances. But what can the next generation of Smart PPE do for industry? Some of the leaders in safety gear have introduced new products that will take safety in the workplace into the next generation.
Corvex has recently partnered with HexArmor, global leaders in smart PPE manufacturing, to pilot the Corvex Connected Safety platform with several of their PPE products.
HexArmor's longstanding focus on developing and applying Smart PPE technology for their equipment products is a perfect match for the Corvex platform's innovative and advanced options for digitally transforming safety. Everything began for HexArmor with one glove and a never-before-seen technology and evolved into a robust PPE product line and Smart PPE, created with a focus on people and not just price. HexArmor employs over 150 safety professionals to solve difficult safety problems for leading companies in oil and gas, construction, energy, lumber, pulp and paper, transportation and other industries.