How IoT is leading to safer workplaces

October 6, 2021 | 4 minute read
Prasen Palvankar
Senior Director, Product Management, IoT, Oracle
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It’s a dangerous world out there, especially if you happen to work in places like gas plants, nuclear facilities, coal mines, construction sites – the list of hazardous workplaces goes on and on. Every year scores of people suffer injuries or fatalities from workplace accidents that could have been prevented if the right health and safety equipment had been used, the right training had been enforced, or the workers had simply been alerted in time to stay clear of danger.

For years, companies protected their workers by maintaining health and safety manuals and then leaving it up to people to monitor hazardous workplaces. Too often they reacted to incidents when it was too late. Just a few months ago a group of six workers were killed at a Georgia food packing plant following a liquid nitrogen leak.

For many industrial businesses, Oracle has created a workplace safety solution that can be a lifesaver. Using sensor data from connected devices and wearables you can proactively manage workplace safety and prevent people from making critical missteps. The solution brings together Oracle Fusion Cloud IoT Intelligent Applications with Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) to help automate your safety procedures, create warnings, and alert workers and supervisors to potential incursions into dangerous areas. See how it all comes together here.

At a power generation facility in Italy, for example, employees work in areas where toxic gases are frequently generated. IoT apps help the company monitor how long workers are exposed to fumes and send out alerts to tell them when to promptly exit the area.

Of course, every workplace is different and with Oracle’s workplace safety solution you can easily customize the system using business-friendly rules to automate and enforce your own work-safety policies. You can set rules to limit access to hazardous areas, send out notifications if certain thresholds are crossed, and define procedures for how to treat medical emergencies.

At a biofuels plant in Uruguay, workers are outfitted with “smart helmets” embedded with sensors that track workers as they move around the compound, monitoring how long they stay in a particular spot and generating an alert if somebody falls down (or isn’t moving) in an area containing noxious gases, which could indicate they may have lost consciousness.

With a workplace safety solution using IoT, your company can specify the maximum amount of time an employee can be in a freezer room of a meat packing plant  – and establish rules that ensure workers can only be there for 15 minutes before leaving. “Dwell times” can be critical in these situations. During the height of COVID 19, social distancing became a requirement. Oracle’s, IoT Intelligent apps enabled companies to set “density” thresholds over specified periods of time to minimize worker exposure.

Oracle’s solution integrates with a variety of sensor devices, including Apple watches, Android phones, or simple tracking devices that are part of your workers’ safety gear. These watches can capture a worker’s vital signs, use GPS to track his or her location, and receive and send alerts and messages. Oracle provides out-of-the-box support for many common devices and offers an array of APIs to help onboard almost any sensor and integrate it with IoT Intelligent apps.

Integration with Oracle Cloud HCM

Since Oracle IoT Intelligent Applications are integrated with Oracle Cloud HCM, for a complete SCM and HR solution, you can do things like assign workers to specific project roles and review their safety certifications and expiration dates. This can help you decide which workers you should assign to certain tasks, equip them with the right gear for each location, and even control access to locations based on their certifications. For example, you may need specific certifications and special training to work in certain hazardous materials areas or confined spaces. With IoT, you can ensure that only certified workers can work with specific equipment or be allowed in restricted areas.

The HCM system can also be used to track health and safety incidents and identify trends.  By looking at the high-priority incidents, you're able to focus on the incidents that are the most urgent, saving time and preventing potentially more serious problems. You can also automatically create employee incidents to comply with your Health and Safety departmental regulations                   .

To quickly bring workers up to speed on health and safety issues, combine your workplace safety solution with Oracle Journeys, an HCM capability that can provide employees with highly personalized, interactive experiences that deliver all the information they need at their finger tips. For example, you can create a journey to train them on company health and safety procedures.

What’s more, IoT sensor data can also flow directly to your human resources team so they can track time and labor and efficiently manage a workforce. By creating geofences around a work area, you can track when someone enters a workplace, how long they stay there – even when they take breaks – and then use the HR system to create time cards for your workers.

This is just a taste of the power of IoT to keep your workers better protected, automate compliance with your health and safety policies, and make the world a less dangerous place.

Learn more about workplace safety and stay tuned to this blog series as we dig deeper into solutions made possible by IoT Intelligent Applications including smart manufacturing, connected logistics, connected assets, and workplace safety.

Check out the Workplace Safety product tour and more on the SCM and HR solution.

Consider your industry and your primary challenges. Learn about what other businesses are doing in this series of articles spanning an overview of IoT solutions, smart manufacturing, connected assets, workplace safety, and connected logistics.

To learn more, explore the Oracle Cloud SCM Virtual Summit videos.


Prasen Palvankar

Senior Director, Product Management, IoT, Oracle

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