The Intersection Of Technology And Safety With Blaine Hoffmann, MS OSHM

On Episode 435 of the Waves of Tech, we are joined by a special guest – Blaine Hoffmann of The SafetyPro Podcast.  Blaine joins us to dive into the intersection of technology and safety in today’s workplaces. Among the topics we cover include drone use in the safety industry; pros and cons of online training; using technology to reduce hazards; application management systems; and data management.  We discuss the importance of building a foundational community of partners that believe in safety. Empowering employees with technology is a major step in creating a smart and adaptable safety cultural. Thanks for tuning in and don’t forget to keep on techin’.

Blaine Hoffmann

For over 20 years, Blaine has helped businesses design, implement, and sustain management systems.  He has a knack for employee engagement; training and education programs; problem solving; program and process gap assessments; and corrective action and implementation plans.  He is known for empowering cross-functional teams through relationship-building, improved communication, and critical thinking. Over the years, he has taught businesses to focus on safety and lead by example which improves business performance across all operational areas.

The SafetyPro Podcast Host & Producer

The safety podcast that helps you manage workplace safety one episode at a time.  No safety platitudes; no safety guru speak; no 3-minute safety sage-talk. Just real actionable safety management information, from the leading safety podcast, you can go use NOW!  Check out Blaine’s podcast at thesafetypropodcast.com.

Drone Use in the Safety Industry

There has been plenty of headlines regarding drones over the past three years, particularly around recreational drone users creating airport closures and downing personnel by emergency response.  When it comes to drones and safety, it’s another discussion. Drones are providing businesses and employees an opportunity to conduct several job functions.

  • inspections of high-hazard areas or hard to access areas is simplified
  • traditionally unsafe inspections of bridges and wind turbine are no concern now
  • lone worker safety can be drastically improved through the use of drones
  • drones unlock new skill sets and frees businesses to deploy employees elsewhere

Pros & Cons of Online Training

We have all been there… sitting through very boring, heavy powerpoint safety presentations with very little engagement with the expectation to retain the information.  That’s not good enough for safety anymore and that’s where a combination of innovative and creative online and in-person training comes into play. Training in today’s business should be interactive.

  • online provides self-guided, mobile, and 24/7 benefits to employees
  • downside is that some might lose context and lack of interaction with others
  • overcome cons by creating a community around online training using good videos
  • utilize quality videos for tutorials, work process analysis, and demonstrations

Using Technology to Reduce Workplace Hazards

Blaine shares some ingenious insights into how common household devices and functions have been integrated into safety and employee action.  The Internet of Things is really the impetus for future of safety. Alexa can be used by employees to report and submit unsafe work practices.  AR glasses can direct contractors and staff through a industrial or processing plant.

  • remote sensors clipped to employees to track biometrics, location, and conditions
  • scanned QR codes immediately check safety training, certification, and background
  • sensored protective equipment informs when employees enter high hazard areas
  • safety professionals using a mix of new tech and vintage tech to reduce hazards

Technological Development in Applications (Field and Office)

A big trend is companies working with companies and software developers in purchasing and managing Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) management systems such as iReportSource.  These systems empower those in the field or where their work happens to report actions digitally without the risk of losing paperwork and increasing response time.

  • empowerment of employees is the biggest area safety professionals need to improve
  • management solutions like iReportSource are a huge breakthrough for safety pros
  • assists with tracking of audits, safety talks, accidents, illnesses, and injuries
  • an offline mode option solves the problem of connectivity that many struggle with

Data Management

When we talk about management systems, applications, software, and employees’ personal information, data management will always factor into the conversation.  Employees are typically concerned with collection of information and fearful of it the company experiences a data breach. Data handling and compliance is critical both domestically and internationally.

  • Employees rely on companies for encryption and security of personal data
  • GDPR is a huge compliance point, focused on disclosure and transparency
  • e-reporting to facilitate OSHA reporting puts responsibility on government as well

Resources & Links

The Safety ProPodcast – manage workplace safety one episode at a time
Using Drones for Safety (EP55)
Is Online Safety Training Effective (EP32)
Use Data to Improve Your Safety Culture (EP60)
iReportSource

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