How digital innovation and intelligent processes are redefining worker safety in modern industry
What does Industry 4.0 mean today? Is it still the shift from manual to digital? The smart slide from people to automated processes? Or is it more than the sum of its original parts, now a tool and an ethos that can redefine operations, safety, and productivity? According to McKinsey, it’s the latter. An evolving ecosystem that leverages technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data and analytics to deliver value across every part of your organization.
Most organizations are well aware of the value that sits behind these technologies. AI, ML, Internet of Things IoT), AR/VR – these technologies have proven invaluable. Companies have already seen a measurable return on their technology and digital transformation investments. According to the World Economic Forum, a plastics multinational used sensors and Industry 4.0 capabilities to reduce power consumption by nearly 40%, saving more than $200,000 a year in energy bills. This is one of the many use cases highlighting how the smart application of intelligent technologies is reshaping the heavy industries and how organizations approach, well, everything.
It is also changing how the heavy industry sector approaches safety. As digital becomes increasingly embedded into the cogs of the industrial machine, it adds more and more information from which the organization can extract insights, using them to refine operations and safety approaches. It is the Age of Information and the era of data-driven safety. Dubbed Safety 4.0, this digitally-led approach to worker safety looks at how the technologies of Industry 4.0 can be fully explored to support the evolution of the Worker 4.0 and the tools that they use to do their jobs. As a paper in Science Direct ‘Process safety education of future employee 4.0 in Industry 4.0’ points out, ‘it’s time to adapt process safety learning to the digital transformation of Industry 4.0’.
Just as Industry 4.0 has transformed heavy industries by leveraging interconnectivity and intelligent networking for faster and more reliable processes and smarter systems, so is Safety 4.0 transforming how these systems and their data are used to improve risk and safety management. Industry 4.0 has allowed for the creation of more holistic ecosystems that have increased information flow, improved analysis of data, and provided relevance and speed to decision-making. Safety 4.0 sits on top of this richly layered reality, allowing companies to enhance personal and process safety with proactive and preventative approaches based on real-time insights and information.
This is a shift from knowing about issues to doing something about them, to resolving them in real-time using technology that can help mitigate the risks of human error, manual error, slow paperwork, and unexpected events. Safety 4.0 is a comprehensive shift towards holistic system safety and connects the dots between emergency devices, operational technology, ERP, IIoT, PPE, machinery, and so much more. It pulls these connections into a centralized database. AI-driven predictive and prescriptive analytics with real-time data collection delivers dynamic safety routines allowing companies to control, manage, and streamline all actions and risks with proactive and predictive responses for optimal risk and safety management.
Digitally-driven organizations that have already tapped into the Industry 4.0 sit at the frontier of what Safety 4.0 can offer. However, this doesn’t exclude companies that are still starting their digital transformation journey. Far from it. In fact, thanks to the organic interconnection between Industry 4.0 technologies and Safety 4.0 requirements, companies moving into digitally defined ecosystems can refine and adapt their approaches to suit their unique business requirements and environments.
Safety 4.0 leverages the capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies, but it is customized to suit specific tasks, people, and locations. This is to ensure that the tools used by teams deliver mission-specific insights and alerts to decision-makers and control room dashboards. Industry 4.0 technologies with predictive and prescriptive analytics and boosted by ML, AI, and IoT turn safety into a dynamic, engaging, and personalized experience.
One of the key tenets of Safety 4.0 is the concept of Human and Organizational Performance (HOP). It’s a science-based approach that recognizes that mistakes happen but that the tools don’t identify the human element in these mistakes. Traditional safety management is focused on fixing, HOP is focused on preventing. Safety 4.0 applies advanced HOP methodologies on a technology platform that connects workers and machines, removing the disconnect to create an integrated safety approach.
Thanks to the ubiquity of AI and ML, plus the connective tissue of analytics and data, companies have access to a vast repository of automated control and insights, every drop of information capable of resolving issues in real-time and continuous process improvement. Added to these intelligent technologies is The Connected Worker –connected workers that have real-time, context-specific and actionable information to hand based on personal data and their immediate physical environment. The connected worker uses information from mobile devices, sensors, asset tracking, analytics, and wearables to help workers execute their roles more efficiently and effectively.
How GOARC defines Safety 4.0
GOARC Safety 4.0 is a revolutionary approach to safety and worker productivity. It combines process safety, intelligent technology, and insights on a worker-focused platform with real-time reporting capabilities and provides everyone within the ecosystem with valuable and timely data. The platform enhances communication between the field and the control room, enabling the critical flow of information and insights regarding potential hazards and emergency situations. It includes the core modules of a Command Centre, with rich visualization and visibility; real-time intervention; AI and ML intelligent learning and proactive and predictive insights; the Connected Worker; dynamic safety management and operational control; deep analysis in real-time across ML, system, safety and more.
GOARC connects all the digital and physical dots to create a comprehensive picture of the operational environment. The GOARC Safety 4.0 platform offers predictive and prescriptive metrics, delivering dynamic reports based on real-time analytics. Built on technology, shaped by intelligence, and constantly evolving to meet organizational requirements.