With the adoption of new technology brings great opportunities to help drive continual improvement, a key part of ISO 45001.
The use of exoskeletons, to reduce musculoskeletal stress associated with heavy lifting, repetitive actions or sustained awkward postures presents a great opportunity to reduce the social and economic burden such disorders present the industry.
Exoskeletons ‘take over’ or support muscle function, so that the muscles do not have to work as hard, reducing muscle fatigue and potential injuries. These are being trialled in a range of construction and manufacturing environments.
Whilst exoskeletons are forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) and therefore are at the bottom of the ‘hierarchy of controls’ (organizations should aim to use controls from the top), it does demonstrate that strides to adopt technology can improve safety and health.
Digital technology is also driving change. Information models can be used to identify, structure and share information relating to risks. This is being driven by the rapid adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and with it the use of 3D and construction sequence (4D) modelling. This has significant implications for health and safety, reinforced by the development of PAS 1192-6 - the specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health & Safety information using BIM, published by BSI.