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Can smart tech make our workplaces safer?

Collision-preventing transponders, safety reporting apps and artificial intelligence are just three examples of how technology is helping to reduce accidents in our workplaces. We asked three colleagues to reflect on how technology has addressed their safety concerns.

Comnovo Smart Tech: Preventing collisions in warehouses

Miltiatis Marvakis, Technical Operator, Logistics, in Mannheim, Germany

Image of Miltiatis standing in a warehouse next to his forklift truck

In a logistics area, like warehouses, there is often a threat of collisions involving people and forklift trucks. There are many areas in a warehouse where racks or pallets can obscure your view. As a result, there is a danger that someone could suddenly step out in front of my forklift truck without me seeing them. We’ve had incidents in the past where trucks have collided because they did not see each other coming. The stress of worrying about an accident has reduced enormously since we started using transponders from Comnovo to protect the area.

The great thing about this system is that it does everything by itself. It’s like my personal safeguard.

Miltiatis Marvakis

The Comnovo technology works through a system of transponders that react if they get too close to each other. Anyone entering the logistics area has to wear one in order for the doors to open. When a transponder senses that it is too close to another, a high-pitched alarm sound is triggered, and the transponder vibrates.

If one or both transponders are in a forklift truck, the vehicle immediately slows down to 2km an hour. Additionally, and this is especially important for me, it also provides a visual and audio signal that clearly specifies where the hazard is coming from and how many people are approaching my forklift truck.

The great thing about this system is that it does everything automatically. It’s like my personal safeguard. I don’t have to adjust or do anything to the equipment besides putting it back in the charging station at the end of my shift. With this technology, everything is easy. People feel safe and happy because everything works smoothly.

Of course, I know that despite the new technology, I still have to be careful at all times. But, having the safeguard by my side makes me feel much safer at work.

Dingding: Providing real-time safety alerts straight from the factory floor

Maria Qiu, Head of Safety and Occupational Health at the Hefei Factory, China

Image of Marie sitting at a table

With more than 12 filling lines and over 200 employees, it is incredibly difficult for me – and my leadership team – to oversee everything. So we rely on each and every employee to manually report safety concerns in order for us to resolve them quickly. However, relying solely on employees to report incidents accurately as and when they happened was a real worry for me.

Since we started using Dingding, we have seen that people are more timely in reporting safety issues, and our efficiency in solving issues has improved a lot as a result.

Maria Qiu

This changed once we introduced Dingding, a safety reporting app that employees can use to report safety issues using their mobile phones. Once inputted, the information is immediately sent to the area leader who can then deal with the problem or task a mechanic or electrician to fix the issue. Once the safety risk is solved, the system sends an alert to the operator.

Since we started using Dingding, we have seen that people are more timely in reporting safety issues, and our efficiency in solving issues has improved a lot as a result. Thanks to the system, I am able to review the report data every day in order to track the closure rate of any open cases and also praise employees for reporting issues.

Dingding allows us to react in real-time and more efficiently – which is not surprising when you look at the numbers. 100% of employees are now using it. 100% of our safety problems have been solved and we have cut down the time it takes to solve incidents by 93%.

Joctan: Driving safety on the road in Mexico

Jesús Alfonso Lona Camacho, Driver in Cancun, Mexico

Jesus standing by his delivery truck

As a driver for Unilever, my main safety concern is the behaviour of my fellow drivers. I am on the road every day, delivering products to stores and I must be on constant alert for drivers that are going too fast or driving aggressively.

Luckily, we now have technology that is helping to prevent accidents. In 2020, our trucks were equipped with Joctan: an Artificial Intelligence [AI] system that can detect unsafe behaviour – like talking on the phone or eating – while driving. It can also detect if the driver is showing any signs of fatigue. If the facial recognition system detects any of these unsafe behaviours, an in-cabin alarm is triggered, allowing the driver to react appropriately.

I feel safer with a system that can send alerts and anticipate situations that could be dangerous and it helps prevent accidents. My family feels safer too.”

Jesús Alfonso

The AI will also inform us of any dangers that lie ahead. So far, the biggest help it has provided me with is assisting me to park safely when I am delivering along the beachfront. It is always so busy and the system gives me advance warning if there are dangers like pedestrians standing or walking around the truck.

I feel safer with Joctan as it can send alert and anticipate situations which could be dangerous and it helps prevent accidents. My family feels safer too.