Employee Visibility and Safety in Industrial Spaces
When you think of tracking technologies, it is usually in the context of tracking items. It is easy to see how tracking items can improve the efficiency of your operation and allow you to cut down costs. What is less obvious is the benefits of gaining insights into not only the movements of objects but people as well. Being aware of the location of employees or visitors brings many benefits, specifically an increase in workplace safety.
In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways that location awareness can improve the safety of your company, instill a culture of safety in your employees, and reduce the costs associated with running your business.
Overview of BLE Tracking
Similar to RFID, BLE uses wireless signals to provide tracking data. However, it does not need to be scanned in order to provide that data. This means that when someone is wearing a badge with BLE tracking capabilities, you will always be able to see where they are in your facility. This information will be available at any computer terminal that is authorized to do so and can even display that information on a map for easy location of anything that is tagged.
The Benefits of Having Visibility of Your Employees
Armed with BLE, not only will you have the ability to find your staff anywhere, but there are also many other benefits you may not have thought of. With BLE registering the movements of employees, you’ll be able to cut down on paperwork, increase safety in both normal operations and the cases of emergency, and develop strategies to make more efficient use of your personnel.
Let’s take a look at some of the common ways that businesses are using location awareness from BLE to improve their operations. In this section, we will discuss the direct effects of this on costs, efficiency, and safety. After that, we’ll talk about some other uses of people tracking and then discuss how machine learning can take all of this data you’ve collected and then give you actionable insights that will save you further money.
More Efficient Clock Management When Tracking Your Employees
One of the big advantages of BLE is that it can eliminate your need for a time clock. The software that powers your BLE tracking solution can fill that role for you with no effort needed by the employee other than to show up for work. It is able to do this because BLE devices contain identifiers that can recognize each individual employee.
With the employee recognized by the system, clocking them in and out is as simple as having them show up for their prescribed duty. The software will detect their presence by the BLE identifier in their badge and know that they are on the job and can begin counting their hours worked. When they leave for the day, they’ll no longer be in the area and the system will know that they are off the job. Keeping track of the amount of time employees are actually working has never been easier.
Handling time management this way eliminates several inefficiencies in the old way of handling timesheets. Large factories especially often suffer from long lines as employees wait to clock in and out at the start of a shift. Even with only a handful of employees this takes time and becomes a tedious part of the employee’s day, potentially having a negative impact on their motivation.
Additionally, a time management system that uses BLE reduces the human intervention that may be required with other systems. Missed punches will be a thing of the past and payroll management will be more efficient than ever. All of these things add up to increased cost savings for your company and more time for your employees to be doing the things that matter to your business.
Preventing Unauthorized Entry
Being aware of personnel movements also means you are able to detect unauthorized entries. Depending on the type of business you operate, employees in areas that they are not supposed to be in could present serious safety hazards. Even absent safety issues, an employee that is not where they are supposed to be is likely not doing the job that they are supposed to. The ability to know where your employees are allows you to get a handle on who is where they are not supposed to be and address it before it becomes a bigger problem. Lower risk of accidents and increased productivity will help to increase your bottom line.
BLE tracking devices are even powerful enough that they can be programmed to send you, or someone on your staff, a message whenever an unauthorized entry is detected so that you can respond promptly to the situation.
Increase Worker Safety
Combined with other technologies, BLE will allow employees to report incidents or safety concerns that can immediately be tied to a specific location by using their tracking badge. This will allow you to respond to those situations more quickly, as well as identify any other employees who may be in the area and alert them to the danger.
Giving employees this type of power to take an active role in addressing safety doesn’t just provide the obvious immediate benefits. It also instills a culture of safety in the workplace. Employees who are trusted and empowered to take safety seriously are more likely to do so, which means that long-term safety metrics should see steady improvements beyond the immediate effects of more timely reporting of safety issues.
Allow for Rapid Mustering
There is no greater time of risk for your employees than in the case of an emergency. Whether it’s a fire, or a gas leak, or some other emergency that requires everyone to be accounted for, having the ability to rapidly see where everyone in your facility is will ensure that you will be able to get to them and guide them to safety. Being aware of staff locations means knowing that they will be found in the event that disaster strikes. This will also give peace of mind to your employees even when there is not an emergency.
You can take safety precautions a step further by utilizing BLE tracking badges that have panic buttons built into them. These devices will allow an employee to send an alert if there is an emergency and they are concerned that people will not be able to find them. This is especially useful if the employee is trapped or otherwise immobilized because they will be able to alert someone that they need help.
Not Just for Employees
BLE tracking has many great benefits for use with employees, but several of those benefits carry over to visitors as well. In fact, it is often more crucial to keep visitors out of unauthorized areas than employees. While employees are operating the equipment and share some responsibility for their own safety, the responsibility for the safety of your guests lies squarely on you. Being able to quickly muster all visitors in the case of an emergency, or allow one to hit a panic button, can save you from the legal issues and expense related to a visitor being injured on your property.
AI-Based Productivity Enhancements
BLE devices are always active and aware of movements within their range, which means that powerful machine learning software, such as our own Simon AI, is constantly being fed data that it can use to find patterns that humans miss. Imagine you have visitors constantly making their way into the same unauthorized area. Without BLE, you might not even know about it. With BLE those patterns become detectable. And with Simon AI, they become detectable even when they are spread out over enough time and enough shifts that humans don’t make the connection. This allows you to figure out why visitors are getting off-path and rectify the situation.
Simon AI can do much more. It can point out inefficiencies in your day-to-day operations that cause productivity to be lower than it should be because it knows the movements of all of your employees and can track which routes are the most efficient and where bottlenecks in foot traffic may develop.
For some jobs, Simon AI will be able to tell when work is being done and when there is downtime in employee productivity. This will allow you to create more cost-efficient scheduling and reduce your labor costs.
Employee Visibility & Safety Solution
We’ve only covered some of the applications that Simon AI and BLE tracking can do for businesses, particularly when having your employees’ visibility and safety in mind. The exact ways in which you can use these depend on your needs and your type of business. We would love the chance to talk to you about what Simon AI can do for you. If you are ready to begin a digital transformation at your company, you can schedule a demo of Simon AI today. We’ll show you how to increase employee safety and create better transparency across your operation.