New tech could improve health and safety

New tech could improve health and safety

Eye-tracking technology could be the latest advancement to improve health and safety within the workplace after a new study proved it has the potential to help, particularly in industrial settings.

For the study, aluminium foundry H&H Castings teamed up with eye-tracking research specialists Tobii Pro to find out where workers focussed their attention while completing high-risk tasks.

Using wearable technology which tracks and records where somebody is looking at a given time, the company was to see the workplace and its many processes through the eyes of employees.

Among other things, the study found that some employees were completely unaware of their surroundings while completing certain tasks, some were moving too much while pouring molten aluminium and some were at risk of eye strain due to long periods of concentration.

As a result of the information, H&H Castings was able to identify best-practice processes that mitigate risk and help to keep employees safe in a dangerous environment.

As well as improving health and safety for current staff, the study has also been invaluable in terms of training new employees. Due to safety restrictions, close-up supervision is incredibly difficult in the foundry and the training of new staff is both complicated and dangerous.

“When you’re trying to train someone in the metal-pouring department, you have a lot of stuff moving around at the same time, you have ladles filled with molten metal,” said Jacob Hammill, systems management at H&H Castings. “It’s a very dangerous environment.”

Now, much of it can be done without putting newcomers in harm’s way, as they can be shown what the work environment looks like from an expert’s point of view and can even be shown exactly where they should be looking.

According to Hammill, the tech is not only helping to keep employees safe, it’s also likely to reduce costs for the company.

“The average training time is one full week, and we hope these study results and video will save us two days per employee,” he said. “Ideally, this would save us about 400 hours of training time per year in that department.”

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