The recent Verdantix survey of 411 EHS decision-makers found that 23% said innovation was essential to their function and 60% said it was a high priority. That survey finding came to life at the first INNsafety conference organized in Paris by ERM, L’Oreal, Danone, Sanofi, Saint-Gobain and P&G. The organizing committee had screened more than 30 safety innovations in a friendly version of the “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den” TV format aimed at finding successful entrepreneurs.
Before the innovation presentations got started, the panel of safety leaders flagged up a major trend in their investments. Their innovation agenda doesn’t include enterprise EHS software that supports corporate management systems. They are more interested in edge technologies which eliminate hazards from frontline workers’ activities or else stop workers from making decisions which cause incidents by intervening in real-time in the decision context. This focus is reflected in the lucky innovators who made it through the safety technology beauty parade.
Immersive Factory is a French VR safety training provider who have been operating for three years. VR is not new to safety professionals. So what was exciting about Immersive Factory is that they have cracked the code on the economics of 3D content creation. Instead of creating 3D content for one client at a time, they retain the IP and can re-sell their safety training scenarios like “fall from height” or “warehouse safety orientation”. That drops the price point and makes VR safety training more scalable – a key problem with costly headsets and expensive laptops being needed.
Applied Machine Learning Solutions is an Israeli firm which analyses 2k and 4k streaming video to identify compliance failures, injured workers and physical hazards. AppliedML has created algorithms that de-construct images of people – imagine your head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, shoulders and individual fingers are framed by red rectangles by the AI machine – and then analyse each body part to identify variations from normal status. For instance, is a person lying prone on the ground in a mine tunnel? Is a production line worker not wearing mandatory ear defenders? The AI engine can then send alerts via text, email, siren or light to mitigate the hazard.
Belgian firm Essensium has been operating since 2005 and provides a sophisticated collision warning and prevention system for fork lift trucks and pedestrians. A typical deployment is in a large warehouse where pedestrian workers are at risk from multiple fork lifts. By partnering with fork lift OEMs, Essensium has been able to integrate its collision protection system into braking controls and offers the option to automate a braking procedure if a collision warning is emitted. Also presenting were Percko, HRV Simulation, Matvisio, Proxipi.
INNsafety is tackling the challenge in scaling up the use of new technologies even when there has been a successful pilot project. At least the Verdantix survey indicates there is no lack of innovation appetite among safety professionals in 2019.