All Blogs

The Days Of Reactive Health and Safety Strategies Are Over. Here’s How to Thrive in the New Normal

Rajesh Devnani

July 22, 2020

By their very nature, manufacturing, transportation and industrial organizations are prone to high accident and injury rates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that there are over 2.8 million work-related injuries or illnesses per year1, many of them resulting from collisions, slips and falls, or fatigue. The costs to the people involved in those accidents are immeasurable, of course. Financial impacts can be as high as $38,000 per incident in direct costs to a company and $150,000 in indirect costs2, in addition to fines as high as $70,000 in some countries3 if it is found that the injuries are due to a violation.

Protecting the health and safety of workers is of utmost importance. The days of static and reactive safety strategies is coming to an end. With the data and technology easily available today, manufacturers, warehouse operators, and other employers no longer have an excuse to change their policies after the problems arise. The industry is moving to more proactive approaches, taking measures to protect against potential dangers before they can even become hazards.

Announcing Hitachi’s Digital Health and Safety Solution

Hitachi is one of the largest manufacturing and industrial conglomerates in the world. Health, Safety & Environment (HS&E) is a key part of the strategic agenda across the Hitachi Group and employee safety and well-being come first for us.

We are now bringing to market our experience, expertise and best practices in effectively managing HS&E issues to help our customers achieve superior results. Our Digital Health and Safety Solution helps companies, manufacturers, and other organizations improve their health and safety strategies, increase compliance and protect their reputations by preempting all manner of safety violations via digital technologies. The solution includes:

  • Strategic consulting services: helping to shape and align HS&E strategies that reduce reputational, financial, and workforce risk.
  • Digital technologies and solutions: delivering new insights and alerts based on Lumada Video Insights that enhance the health and safety capabilities of organizations.

This holistic, end-to-end solution combines our strategic advisory capabilities with a suite of digital technologies, powered by Hitachi’s Lumada. We leverage artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics to provide new insights to better manage HS&E programs as well as enable prompt incident response, situational awareness, prevention and case evidence.

With this solution, we help implement, engage, align, and sustain strategies that improve processes and systems with the end goal of sustainable behavioral, operational, and financial results.

Rethinking Health and Safety During COVID-19 and Beyond

COVID-19 is a global wakeup call that brought health and safety to the forefront. Industries have realized that not only do they need to solve urgent, near term challenges to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 but also plan for a post-pandemic world.

A number of innovations are helping to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 today, while building a foundation for smarter, more resilient operations in the future – these include:

  • Thermal scanning to estimate body temperature at scale, adding a first layer of defense that is non-invasive and decreases the risk to health workers taking temperatures in crowds.
  • 3D lidar for Smart Spaces (light detection and ranging technology) to ensure personnel maintain safe distances from one another and deliver insights about how facilities are being used. This technology provides a wealth of data in real time without capturing personal information.
  • Computer vision and machine learning to activate the data from video, 3D lidar, and other IoT sensors to deliver new HS&E insights, such as proper handwashing behavior, social distancing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) usage or slips and falls. This can generate alerts as well as data for analytics to drive compliance and safer procedures and behavior at work.

We like to “drink our own champagne” at Hitachi. At the Hitachi Vantara and Hitachi America’s Headquarters in Santa, Clara, CA, we are leveraging our own Digital Health and Safety Solution. When employees return to the office (date TBA), we will utilize thermal scanning and 3D lidar to detect risks of COVID-19 such as high body temperatures and social distancing. Longer term, beyond the pandemic, these technologies will deliver analytics on building utilization and visitor experience, such as waiting times in our lobby and elevator areas, volumes and flows of people into the building and the Hitachi Insight Center (our customer experience center). With these solutions in place, we aim to maximize health and safety, while enhancing operations and the experience of our staff and visitors.

How to Reduce Risk Through Digital Health and Safety

With so many new technologies and changes to health and safety to keep up with, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. However, the best guidance can be summarized into a three-pronged approach to reduce risk today and for the long term:
1. Build a future proof strategy
2. Measure what was unmeasurable to gain new insights, and
3. Build a digital foundation for the future

Build a Future Proof Strategy

Hitachi’s strategic health and safety consulting leverages our 5 Box Model to deliver a health and safety strategy that aligns to the broader goals of the organization – helping to:

  • Improve processes and systems
  • Determine and deliver the best technology and data to support the strategy
  • Align, engage and achieve sustainable change

This model is applied to people, asset, and shop floor safety in order to ensure comprehensive strategies that address key areas of risk to health and safety. Together, these strategies help to deliver sustainable long-term results across financial, operational, and behavioral metrics.

Based on consultants’ expertise and recommendations, we deliver digital technologies and solutions to enhance health and safety.

Measure What Was Unmeasurable to Gain New Insights

Thanks to Hitachi Vantara’s technology and data driven tools, organizations can gain insights and alerts on unsafe human and machine behaviors that once were unmeasurable. These metrics can now be detected and analytics can help improve compliance and operations. Lumada Video Insights, for example provides a portfolio of AI and IoT-based tools to generate these new alerts and insights from the physical world.

We then feed these insights into Hitachi Visualization Suite (HVS), which displays alerts and geospatial or graphical analytics, along with case management archive for digital evidence about incidents. Regardless of where the incident happens around the globe, alerts and insights can provide a better understanding of compliance and risk across your operations.

The image below shows some of the ways that companies can analyze performance and gain customized reports.

Out of the box analytics include:

  • Comparing compliance over time. View PPE violations, safety incidents, and other HS&E performance across facilities, campuses, or countries in which they operate.
  • Compare health and safety performance across shifts. Target the right education and training programs to the right people at the right time.
  • Track consumables such as sanitizer, gloves, and cleaning supplies to make sure they’re available in the optimal amount.
  • Detect incidents in real-time. Slips and falls, collisions, intrusions into dangerous areas, and more can be detected by video and 3D lidar to enable faster response and mitigation.
  • Track HS&E performance and impacts of training Become more effective at decreasing high risk behaviors or compliance violations.
  • Improve case management systems and reporting. Generate reports to be sent to regulators, insurance companies and others that need to see it, as long as they have the right authorization and permissions. Digital evidence of all kinds can be attached to cases, including audio and video files, cell-phone images, PDFs, audio files and analytics reports.

Build A Digital Foundation For The Future

The Digital Health and Safety Solution lays the foundation to improve not only HS&E performance, but overall operations as well. Build upon the technology foundation with additional IoT and AI-driven solutions to further improve operations, efficiency, worker and customer experience and other areas of your broader business. With Hitachi as a trusted solution partner, organizations can advance down the path of digital transformation by becoming a more effective, resilient, and agile – ready to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Find out more about our Digital Health and Safety Solution at the links below: