Filed Under:Carrier Innovations, Technology Implementation

Using IoT to improve safety and reduce claims

Three ways to use the abundance of data from connected devices to better manage risk

For risk managers,
For risk managers, "Big Data" can become "Smart Data" that helps them better manage environmental health and safety risks. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) has allowed for millions of devices to be connected.

According to Gartner, 8.4 billion connected devices are being used today and, by 2020, that number will increase to 20.4 billion devices. This connectivity allows for almost everything in the virtual world to be measured, presenting a major opportunity for companies – especially those looking to strengthen their environmental health and safety (EHS) protocols. In the case of EHS, the IoT allows companies to collect an abundance of data, which can be streamlined to enable deep analysis for more informed decision-making and the prediction and reduction of risk and incidents.

Related: A safe workplace: The ‘secret weapon’ for hiring and keeping employees

However, for EHS managers, there are challenges that come with an abundance of data. For example, most data and information available to companies today exist in siloes. Further, an exponentially increasing number of data points to manage with constrained resources can also pose challenges.

Safety and risk managers are being stretched thin within organizations and cannot dedicate the time to sift through all the data available to them. With a single platform for safety management though, safety managers can reduce incidents and injuries on the job, ultimately decreasing the number of claims from employees.

Here are three ways using a single platform can help EHS managers to overcome these challenges, capitalize on the IoT, and gain enterprise visibility to drive corrective actions in real time.

1. Use IoT data to drive corrective action


Data from device monitoring and incident information can be analyzed to find patterns and key trends to help mitigate the future risk of potential incidents. With this data, companies can enable preventive actions more quickly and effectively. For example, leaders can establish the ways accidents are occurring and forecast future occurrences, and then create action plans to prevent and react to them more effectively.

In order to accomplish efficient corrective action via data, safety managers need help managing that data. With a single software platform, companies can provide consistency, visibility and accuracy of safety performance. The solution can notify safety and risk managers as soon as a potential risk is detected so they can take action, report it and avoid an accident or near miss. With improved safety management and risk mitigation, organizations can see a decrease in claims, which can save companies millions in workers’ compensation or lawsuits.

Related: Keeping aging workers safe on the job

Safety binders with words risk and safety

Data in many organizations is siloed and isn't useful for managing risk or employee safety. (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Gain business intelligence from IoT data

Connected devices can provide numerous data points and immediate updates on the performance and safety status for an organization. Sensor devices can be placed in multiple locations for the organization, allowing safety and risk managers to gather an abundance of data in real time. This also allows for faster response times to address any pending issues and improve analysis through data automation.

Related: How construction technology helps turn high-risk scenarios into safer situations

With a single solution for data management, “Big Data” becomes “Smart Data” and tells risk managers the areas to focus on while enhancing accountability and performance for an organization. A single-source system also increases compliance and transparency throughout the organization. Organizations can easily record and report on safety data to the executive management team within an organization as well as key stakeholders in a simple, streamlined format.

3. Use IoT data to predict – and prevent – risk


The IoT can also serve as a predictive tool for companies. By constantly monitoring and analyzing data, companies can assess whether they are performing at optimal levels and ensure consistent safety measures are being met. With data from sensors, companies can create preventive risk protocols to effectively mitigate any impending risk. For example, comprehensive analysis from a connected device and incidents can show potential risk. With this insight, a company can identify opportunities to upgrade safety equipment and put new procedures in place to mitigate future risk.

Thanks to data from IoT, companies are moving from reactive to predictive service models. Using a single software solution, organizations can use data and information to take immediate action and improve preventive health and safety capabilities. This technology can also integrate with human resources systems to expedite data delivery to third-party administrators.

Although adopting EHS technology for safety management can be daunting, the benefits of enhanced safety and reduced claims will be realized quickly. A basic EHS application with reporting capabilities is no longer enough. Companies need to adopt a comprehensive, integrated approach, powered by data analytics to continue mitigating risk. Risk management is heavily impacted by data insights so companies must invest in these resources to drive operational excellence and increase their bottom lines. The business of risk mitigation requires an integrated system approach with automated intelligence to leverage data and make it work for your organization. With new safety procedures backed by robust data, organizations can reduce risk and drive business success.

Related: How to use actionable data to manage workplace injury risk

Jagan Garimella is chief technology officer of ProcessMAP, a provider of EH&S software solutions. He can be reached at jgarimella@processmap.com.

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