While the standard office worker may worry about the negative health impact of sitting too much, workers at factories, plants, construction sites, oil rigs, and mines can face deadly threats just by the nature of the work they do. A little digging on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website reveals that serious — and even fatal — industrial accidents still occur with some regularity on job sites across the U.S. Now a company has created a smart hard hat that aims to improve industrial safety and save lives.
GuardHat, founded in 2014, has created a hard hat and integrated safety system that helps detect, alert, and prevent hazardous industrial work-related incidents. The company website calls the wearable technology “an intelligent and connected safety system programmed to reduce human error.” GuardHat’s intelligent safety system integrates wearable technology — the hard hat — with video, audio, and geolocation to monitor workers and keep them safe. The technology was developed by miners, technologists, steelmakers, and engineers who have direct experience in industrial safety scenarios. Several use cases are demonstrated on the company’s website: remote guidance, moving object warning, lockout zone alert, fall detection, active physiology monitoring, and hazardous environment condition detection. Consider the remote guidance capability: if the lights in a coal mine shut off in the middle of a worker’s shift and the miner is trapped by carbon monoxide leaks along the regular exit routes, how would he or she find their way out in total darkness? The GuardHat detects unsafe toxic gas leaks and sends an alert to guide the worker to safety. It provides live assistance using a combination of video, audio transmission, and geolocation. GuardHat’s built-in fall detection feature recognizes serious falls as soon as they occur. The smart hard hat instantly pinpoints the worker’s location and alerts other GuardHat-equipped workers nearby while calling for emergency medical support at the same time. The data collected during each hazardous scenario is then analyzed and used in the development of danger prevention strategies to improve ongoing worker safety and save lives.
GuardHat’s website says that more than 4,000 lives are lost on the job annually in the U.S., resulting in more than $250 billion dollars in safety costs for U.S. businesses each year. The company’s advanced technology solution can help reduce the number of serious injuries and worker fatalities by warning of dangerous situations before they occur, and enabling faster response times to accidents when they do happen. Reducing injuries and deaths will also save on insurance expenses and work stoppages due to hazardous conditions.