Will AI Replace the Safety Manager?
In developing a more efficient and compliant SHEQ management software application, artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning technology are becoming valuable commodities. So it comes as no surprise when these developments raise important questions about the changing role of safety teams.
In the past years, I found this topic in dozens of SHEQ literature, and here is perhaps the most frequently asked question: Will AI-driven software substitute the safety manager?
Straight off the bat, there can be no improved safety without automation. Safety, health, environmental, and quality management software tools are essential in transforming the most routine operations – collecting safety data, for example – into automated tasks.
AI and ML are non-negotiable in the shift from manual, time-consuming and inefficient to intelligent and adaptive results. This is a positive development, as more routine work falls under AI/ML advancements, freeing up time for safety managers to focus on more strategic pursuits. Instead of crunching endless data numbers, management can concentrate on team communication and innovative ways to improve health and safety.
AI and ML integration in SHEQ software assist with the data collection, analysis and reporting, allowing for more accurate, better and richer data insights. For example, AI can provide more information on emerging risks at specific work sites, listing potential hazards based on currently aggregated data taken from a particular site. This information is fed to the AI system through sensors and visual feeds.
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Visual feeds from the site can be accessed and analysed in real-time, including variables such as the conditioning of the PPE and electronic equipment, environmental measurements (temperature, humidity etc.) and people location at all times.
Thanks to AI and ML algorithms, monitoring and analysing these variables result in immediate comparative benchmarks, safety risk identification and preventative actions. As a quick tech-forward example, sensors placed on floors and staircases can relay data about changes in the surface, preventing slip falls and climbing accidents.
Safety teams have already found value in the fast turnaround time of SHEQ data, which is becoming too cumbersome to record on their own. In the future, recording and sorting through this volume of data will become the exclusive domain of AI and ML.
At the same time, safety managers will dedicate more time to understanding, visualising and actioning data streams from automated SHEQ systems. They will gain the ability to synthesise information clearly and make better decisions based on the emerging risks, patterns and trends reflected by the data itself.
XGRC Software provides integrated business management solutions with a focus on governance, risk management, sustainability and compliance.
Our health, safety, environment and quality management solution, SHEQX, aggregates SHEQ data in a single auditable database, managing analysis and reporting effectively.