7 Safety Innovations Revolutionizing the Workplace Today

7 Safety Innovations Revolutionizing the Workplace Today

The Workplace Today Technology & Innovation

Safety innovations are happening all over the globe, increasingly leveraging a wide array of evolving technological solutions.

Each year, Cintas and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), presents an award for safety innovations, recognizing creative new ideas that make our workplaces safer. The winner and six honorable mentions receive recognition and cash awards at ASSE’s annual Safety Professional Development Conference in Atlanta, which took place June 26 to 29 this year. The 2016 winners for safety innovation created workplace safety tools in a variety of areas, including best practices in handling hazardous materials, mobile safety apps, risk management, fall protection regulations and equipment safety.

The Winner: Best Practices in HazMat Handling

Hazardous materials, whether classified as explosives, flammable, radioactive or otherwise, can create major safety risks for anyone handling them, not to mention the general public when accidents happen. One of the most potentially dangerous classes of hazardous materials is energetic materials, which have a large amount of stored chemical energy that can be released. For example, explosives, propellants, pyrotechnic compositions and fuel are all energetic materials.

California-based Steven Trammell, Principal Consultant of Health and Safety Consultancy at BSI, won this year’s Safety Innovation Award by outlining best practices for the safe use, handling, processing and disposal of hazardous materials with energetic properties. Trammell’s document, “Developing International Risk Control Guidance for Use of Energetic Materials,” provides best-in-class guidance throughout the entire supply chain in the handling of these energetic materials and also offers manufacturers and producers help in the design of relevant equipment to optimize safety. For end users of these energetic materials, Trammell identifies handling, use and disposal best practices, and also offers emergency response criteria.

Six Honorable Mentions

Mobile App for Site Visit Reports and Observations: Riad Efendi, a Senior HSE Assurance Manager at Technip USA, developed a mobile app that allows safety professionals to visit sites and easily create and submit reports using their mobile phones and embedded cameras. The app is simple to use, low-cost and flexible enough to be customized. The safety reports made and submitted via the app may be voice-dictated and photographs can be easily included in the report submissions. Data from the app is stored in an online database and may be exported and analyzed for safety and at-risk trends.

Fall Protection Regulations for the U.S. Navy Fleet: Bernard Carl McDonald, Deputy Director of Fleet Safety and Occupational Health for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, recognized that no standard set of fall protection regulations existed for the U.S. Navy. McDonald wanted to change that and began by identifying key gaps in disparate U.S. Navy shipboard fall protection-related criteria. He then led a Navy-wide effort to write comprehensive shipboard fall protection regulations. McDonald’s fall protection regulations for ships, submarines and embarked aircraft in the U.S. Navy Fleet will ensure that Navy ships, whether at sea or in port, are now manned, trained and equipped for assisted rescue and self-rescue of personnel from falls at height.

RISK Based Approach for HSE Surveillance: Ahmed M. Qabazard, Team Leader HSE (West Kuwait) of the Kuwait Oil Company, is quite familiar with the many risks of oil production. He developed a brilliant risk management framework to control risks in his area, called “RISK Based Approach for HSE Surveillance in Process Plant Shutdown at KOC, Kuwait.” Qabazard’s innovative tool proved to be an effective way to monitor and manage the critical high risks posed by various plant activities. Maintaining Qabazard’s risk-based approach involved ongoing deliberations of the team members with appropriate logistic supports rendered by the HSE-WK leadership.

5 I-Ray Eyes Technique: Principal Consultant Frank T.K. Tan, of In-Source Options, developed technology to increase the safety of forklifts, which can present a high degree of safety risk. Tan’s patented 5 I-Ray Eyes Technique uses only simple adhesives combined with the theory of line-of-sight and intersection. The technique, adopted in Tan’s Malaysia and beyond, has proven useful in forklift loading and unloading, forklift making turns in tight areas and also preventing damage to the forklift, forks and the goods carried.

Non-Entry Rescue System for an Asphalt Mixing Drum: Skylar W.H. Willard’s company, Oldcastle, put employees in asphalt drums for multiple tasks, but did not have an efficient way to rescue them if an accident occurred. Willard set about to change that. His system can have an employee rescued from an asphalt drum in less than 30 seconds. It also allows a safe and quick non-entry rescue for workers and complies with OSHA regulations.

As this year’s winner and honorable mentions make clear, safety innovation is happening all over the globe and increasingly leveraging a wide array of evolving technological solutions. All of this is good news for safety professionals as they continue their hard work of making today’s workplaces safer and more innovative, too.

Chuck Leddy
Chuck Leddy

Chuck Leddy is a versatile, fast-learning communications professional with a proven track record as a digital content marketer. Writing for clients like GE, ADP, the National Center for the Middle Market, smartShift (computing), Office Depot, and more, he's published hundreds of articles, features, profiles, and interviews.