Safety First? Well, not always it seems…
Safe Workplace Technology
The old adage “Safety First” is a good one to live by. But at work, sometimes safety can take a back seat to profit or efficiency. It’s not alway deliberate negligence (to coin an oxymoron). Sometimes in the rush to do the second through the tenth priority (or hundredth) we miss #1.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Today more than ever we have numerous technologies, apps, and devices to back us up in our workplaces to help keep us safer so we don’t have to put as much thought into our every action. So for every person that walks into a wall while looking at a cell phone, there must be at least 2 ways to use safe workplace technology to make it better. Let’s talk about a few!
Cameras – The OG Safe Workplace Technology
Perhaps the most popular topic to come up when discussing the intersection of safety and technology is surveillance cameras. We have written extensively on surveillance for this blog but you can’t count cameras out when you’re talking about workplace safety.
Cameras discourage malign activity and also catch it when other safety measure fail. Side note: if you work in retail, here’s a low tech tip for you along the same lines – install mirrors. Studies have repeatedly found that the presence of mirrors also helps prevent theft. People don’t want to see themselves stealing. And I would conjecture (without evidence) that the same could be true for other illegal activities.
An adjunct to surveillance cameras is live monitoring. Many, if not most, camera systems allow remote viewing from a PC or even phone. Add in software that alerts you to unusual motion and you are far more likely to catch danger in action.
With the right phone system connected to speakers, you can even speak directly to a person you’re viewing to further investigate what’s happening. This is a good choice if you recognize the person though its best whenever there is a safety question to leave it to security or law professionals.
Entry Control – Safe Workplace Tech for Prevention
While high quality cameras are great for catching something that has already happened and may even deter some damage, if you take a self defense class, one of the first things you learn is that the best defense against an attack is to not be there!
In this way, entry control technology can help keep your employees and workplace safe by preventing problems from ever occurring.
Entry control serves a variety of functions. It can require employees to put in a code or scan a card to keep employees in their own areas and keep track of comings and goings. They also can be a way for non-employees to be buzzed into a workplace after pressing a button to call the person managing the door. This prevents people from wasting time coming to and from the door. It also can help keep employees away from a potentially problematic person.
This has become doubly true lately as businesses have had to also be careful about pandemic safety.
Speaking of which…
Health & Covid 19 Workplace Safety Technology
When it comes to Covid 19 there are some entry control boxes with special features that are particularly relevant right now. These include temperature checks, and facial recognition technology that can even detect if someone is wearing a mask!
So before someone enters the building, that person centers his/her face on the screen and the machine checks whether A) it’s someone who is supposed to get access to the building, B) that person has a temperature within programmed limits and C) that person is wearing a mask.
This entry control unit can be programmed to read any, all, or a set combination of these data points.
Now instead of having to have an employee being forced to have an argument with a non-compliant customer, people at the door can argue with a metal box. That alone will make your workplace safer not to mention employees happier.
And here’s a shout out to a local business. Not all safe workplace technology is something we sell. Some is highly specialized. Did you know that right here in the Roanoke Valley we have a company that created a technology to keep track of and encourage hand washing? Gauntlet business competition winner GermZapp is a particularly useful tool to businesses that service the public as you get records that prove compliance!
Another business with a local owner, Green Home Solutions also has solutions to keep your workplace safer from Covid and more healthy in general. In addition to a sanitation solution that provides protection from many microbes (including Covid 19), GHS has pioneered a probiotic technology that sends a beneficial probiotic bacteria into the air to continue to destroy mold, microbes and other material that decrease employee health.
And that’s just a couple of companies from Roanoke! Chances are if you’re looking for apps or other tech to help you deal with a health or other safety issue, there is a company out there that already makes the product.
Basic Workplace Safety Technology & Rules to Follow
Now we’re getting into computer security. This may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about safety concerns for your business but when you think about all of the assets that you have in your database, it makes sense to list network protection under safety concerns.
Think about it. How safe are your employees if their livelihood is in danger?
Having simple devices like firewalls and implementing important guidelines for phones and computer passwords and when to respond to emails goes a long way toward keeping the security of your company, and therefore the lives of your employees out of danger.
And let’s not forget the humble telephone!
These days we take it for granted but telephones do a lot for our safety and well-being. What’s our reflexive reaction to danger? Call 911! Telephones help us communicate with employees and authorities when something has gone wrong but telephones have become more complicated. So are telephones safe workplace tech? I would say so!
With IP telephones there are extra steps that need to be taken to make sure that 911 operators can tell where a call is coming from. In fact there are even ways to pinpoint in what part of a building a phone is located. But if programmed improperly remote phones (such as phones in employees’ homes) can send authorities to the building where the system is located. Another reason to make sure you have a trusted legitimate business technology company taking care of your technology solutions!