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Regulators turn to technology to improve OHS outcomes

Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 - 11:00
Industry news

Drones, apps, computer simulations and the power of social media are supporting safety in construction by providing new ways to investigate incidents and share safety best practice, according to WorkSafe ACT and SafeWork NSW.

Work health and safety regulators and technology leaders recently joined a range of government and private sector organisations to discuss the introduction and embedding of these technologies to enhance work health and safety.

The breakfast seminar was co-hosted by WorkSafe ACT, SafeWork NSW and the Safety Institute of Australia and showcased progress to date and foreshadowed emerging technologies and its uses.

ACT work safety commissioner Greg Jones said industry was always looking to make improvements in supporting safety in the workplace and identified technology as one way to increase opportunities to achieve this.

“We’ve already seen the power of social media and video as a medium to spread and share safety messages and information in an engaging and relatable way in the ACT,” Jones said.

SafeWork NSW group director, regional operations and response, Tony Williams said digital technology now had a vital role in preventing workplace incidents.

“Safety starts with you and through our digital platforms we aim to make safety as simple as possible for businesses and workers,” Williams said.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; it can be as simple as downloading our ‘Safe’ app on your phone or iPad and getting your staff and subbies to watch a video about working safely at heights.”

Across construction sites apps are also becoming increasingly used to support the monitoring of personal safety for lone or remote workers, providing automatic site recording of attendance at sites and also in the delivery of safety messages.

“We have also seen the emergence of drone technology in supporting investigations,” Jones said.

“Drones are effective in providing visibility and access to areas that may be difficult or unsafe to reach or cannot be accessed as part of an investigation.

“Practically they are also supporting companies to check progress on sites and assess work that is underway.”

Jones said any technology that could support safety was welcomed.

“It may be as simple as being able to see on a tablet or smart phone who is present on a site at any time thanks to the automatic capture of log ins, or sharing videos and messages with colleagues on important issues around safety,” he said.

“Our focus is on supporting all workers to get home safely and I look forward to continuing to explore these technologies and their applications with my colleagues nationally as well as internationally.”