Connected Safety Q&A: How the Global COVID-19 Pandemic Is Fueling Innovation and Digital Transformation

Connected Safety at Expert Connect

The outbreak of COVID-19 ushered in dramatic changes to EHSQ management, which, as a result, have propelled leaders to ramp up business continuity efforts, fortify their risk management strategies and improve day-to-day operations to boost efficiency.

In our upcoming Expert Connect Session, Innovating Towards a Future Focused on Connected Safety, Senior Product Marketing Manager Aaron Davis from Intelex Technologies and Tom Henson, Vice President, Global Marketing and Product Management from Industrial Scientific will take you on a journey that will explore how advancements in connected safety and connected worker technologies are changing key areas of EHSQ management, including environmental compliance and hazard monitoring, control of work and lone worker safety.

According to Davis, we’ve reached what he called “an inflection point in innovation” of safety technologies, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had not only on business performance and management worldwide but on worker safety. Davis explains why the next phase of safety technology is about data enablement and what it will mean for safety and operational professionals. He sat down to answer some questions about the upcoming Expert Connect session and share his insights about innovations and issues impacting the practice of EHSQ.

Intelex: Can you offer us a short description of the session “Innovating Towards a Future Focused on Connected Safety?”

Aaron Davis: I’m really excited to explore some of the concepts related to connected safety and some of the great innovations that are coming that will help organizations decrease risk, increase efficiency and productivity, and help improve outcomes across health and safety programs. It’s not really about the technology but some of the outcomes that were previously unachievable.

Intelex: Why is the topic of interest to you and why is it important to EHSQ professionals and Expert Connect attendees?

Aaron Davis: As with most technologies, COVID has accelerated interest and adoption of new technologies and strategies and EHSQ technologies, like connected safety, are no different. But beyond that, when you think of the potential value to an organization, we are really at an inflection point in innovation of safety technologies. Most innovations to date have been incremental–first we moved from paper to digital management, then implemented workflows, then automated some of those workflows and then scaled mobile adoption. The next phase is really about the data-enablement of all of the different areas of safety–from permit and control of work, to how we de-risk work in hazardous environments and how we protect a largely remote and isolated workforce. I think it’s an exciting time but it’s also an opportunity to be realistic about which technologies are going to have the most impact.

Intelex: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?

Aaron Davis: I hope that everyone attending the session will come away with a sense of curiosity about some of the new technologies available to EHS professionals over the next several years and beyond, and a sense of optimism for the future in terms of how they can take an incremental approach to adopting these technologies in their own organizations and drive increasingly positive safety outcomes.

Another key takeaway would be that while technology can have great impact on outcomes, health and safety at its core is still all about people.

Intelex: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to EHSQ leadership or the topic of this session.

Aaron Davis: My father worked in the steel industry for over 35 years – his entire career – in a variety of roles in production, operations, and research. Historically, the steel industry was a very dangerous operating environment, but advancements in safety over decades have improved working conditions exponentially. Obviously, in that type of environment, there are a number of serious hazards related to chemicals, operating and transportation equipment, hot work and so on that create risk.

I think of how far we’ve come, and realize we still have some way to go in terms of eliminating the risks in these sorts of environments. In that context, the connected technologies that we are talking about bring us one step closer to our vision of eliminating death on the job by 2050. And that’s something that we can all rally around.

Intelex: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHSQ/Supplier Management/Risk Management/Sustainability issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2021 and beyond?

Aaron Davis: Some of the traditional issues keeping corporate leaders and safety professionals up at night are compliance, risk, innovation and so on. Other pressing issues are a result of the uncertainties we face operating in the current environment. Uncertainties drive risk, and there are a lot of uncertainties in play in the world right now. The question becomes: How do we better prepare for and manage these uncertainties in the context of our organizational goals across EHSQ – whether it is looking at the health and wellness of our employees, de-risking the supply chain, reducing impact to our environment and/or creating value across a diversity of stakeholders?

Expert Connect, our virtual event series, is designed to provide attendees with a rewarding and enriching experience based on the exchange of ideas, experiences and industry knowledge between EHSQ leaders and practitioners. Held monthly, this this forum is designed to facilitate an engaging dialog for attendees to share insights that they’ve gained working in their respective practice areas. At the highest level, our aim is to connect our customers, prospects and EHSQ community.

To register for our upcoming Expert Connect session, please click here.

This entry was posted in Health & Safety Management and tagged , , , , , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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