Technology That Can Prevent Worker Injuries: NSC

Technology That Can Prevent Worker Injuries: NSC

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released Safety Technology 2024, which examined trends in workplace hazards and safety technology implementation since 2020.

Key findings include:

Increased exposure to risks: Both employers and employees reported an increased likelihood of exposure to all workplace risks included in the survey – such as fatigue, heavy equipment operation and working at height – with the most significant increases reported by employees.

Fatigue remains the top risk across industries and the largest contributor to injuries in the workplace. While workplace violence is considered the least likely exposure, concern over these incidents significantly increased from 2020 to 2023.

Enhanced technology applicability and consideration: Across all surveyed technologies, employers reported these solutions to be relevant to the hazards in their workplaces. Additionally, 83% of employees agreed they were open to trying and using new safety technologies in the workplace.

 The most notable increases in technology usage were for risk management software, proximity sensors and drones, while use of other technologies has remained relatively similar between surveys.

In 2020, Work to Zero released its inaugural research report identifying the most relevant workplace hazards and technology to mitigate these risks, and conducted a survey of employers and employees to understand their perceptions of safety innovation in the workplace. In 2023, Work to Zero revisited its initial findings to better understand the changes in safety technology implementation over the previous three years.

“At the heart of Work to Zero’s mission is preventing worker injuries and ultimately saving lives,” said Katherine Mendoza, senior director of workplace programs at NSC, in a statement. “Since the initiative began, what we have found is that there are numerous technology solutions available to employers to help mitigate risks and keep workers safe. However, workplace hazards are constantly evolving as job demands change, which is why it’s critical to regularly assess industry risks to better understand trends and find the right solutions. “

While there has been an increase in technology acceptance and implementation among employers between 2020 and 2023, more research is needed to close the gap between considering and using technology. Some barriers to widespread adoption for employers include:

  • Resource constraints: Purchase costs, including initial capital and resource investments, remain an obstacle for employers, although there is a marked decrease since 2020.
  • Privacy concerns: Concern over data collection, privacy issues and security are a top worry for employers.
  • Greater understanding of benefits: Perceptions of current technologies and whether they are meeting organizational needs can be a key barrier as well as driver to the acceptance of new safety technologies in the workplace.

The continued advancement of the use of technology is imperative given the fact that a worker dies every 96 minutes with nearly 5,500 fatal work injuries occurring in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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