Ocucon was approached to help develop a ‘software only’ solution for a blue-chip grocer by a market leading US Integrator. The objectives of this program, or Use Case, were to help the grocer improve levels of OSHA compliance throughout their organisation. Key requirements of the service to be provided included a low cost, low bandwidth solution that was capable of being deployed over existing CCTV networks without the need for any additional hardware.
Using the same proprietary analytics platform that underpins our market leading SpillDetect solution, we re-calibrated the system specifically for this Use Case to offer a ‘software only’ service to improve and complement the existing compliance program currently in place. Through automatically compensating for any kind of floor plan, the solution we developed overcomes the problem of having to laboriously enter floor plans to determine areas of interest on a store-by-store basis. It is also resistant to knocks and camera movement that may be induced through maintenance or cleaning, which gives the application high levels of resilience in most operational environments.
Developing detection software to deliver a raft of OSHA compliance services was only the start of the journey. For any technology to be truly successful it needs to be deployable at scale and dovetail completely with operational requirements so that it provides timely notifications, which facilitates immediate corrective action. It also needs to deliver the level of reporting needed to support business process. In short, a three step process:
Notifications were served via email and posted as ‘Open Incidents’ within the proprietary Ocucon Dashboard, so that they delivered real-time alerts, which facilitated immediate action through dovetailing with operational requirements. Respective data points were able to be provided through API integration with the user’s exception reporting system, so as to provide a single pane of glass through which to monitor performance. An outcome that gives end users the services that they need to develop a comprehensive program of compliance along with a raft of meaningful metrics to facilitate and monitor a range of key performance indicators.
The first release of this solution provides users with real-time alerts should a fire exit, electrical panel or fire extinguisher become obstructed, and also in the case of the latter if removed. Upcoming releases currently in development will offer coverage for pathways, to ensure they are kept clean and orderly, and generate notifications should goods become dangerously stacked.
Gary Trotter, chief executive of Ocucon, said: “Yet another example of how our partnership with SeeChange has allowed both companies to accelerate their joint objective of helping companies to mitigate risk and reduce cost through improved compliance. AI software offers the only viable route when it comes to deploying low cost solutions at scale over existing CCTV networks.”
Jason Souloglou, CEO of SeeChange, said: “This Use Case provides a vivid demonstration of how our advanced AI recognition technology can be used to deliver OSHA compliance across large and complex organisations without the need for additional hardware. It delivers a truly compelling value proposition for countless Health & Safety professionals.”
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that workers operate within safe and healthy working conditions in the United States of America. Congress created OSHA following the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and it has the power to enforce standards through providing training, education and assistance (source).
OSHA has federal visitorial powers to inspect and examine workplaces, it can even issue penalties where necessary, which can amount to $145,027 per violation per location, or outlet, for wilful or repeated offences (source). So, compliance with OSHA regulations makes sense to simply avoid potential fines and penalties. But what about the larger business case for improving Health and Safety through using bespoke services, or compliance programs?
Research by IOSH, which is the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, has shown that workers are more productive in workplaces that are committed to health and safety. Not only is it morally right to ensure workers are safe, but it also reduces down-time caused by illness and accidents, which means less disruption and this saves businesses money (source). These findings from IOSH, the world’s Chartered body for safety and health professionals, are also supported by OSHA who claim that workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and injury costs without adverse effects to employment and sales or firm survival (source).
A number of steps can help guide businesses towards achieving OSHA compliance, for example conducting regular inspections, drafting comprehensive Health and Safety policies and programs along with investing in training (source). However, all of the former rely upon humans for the reporting and management of related risks, which is quite ironic when research from the Health and Safety Executive notes that human factors play a significant role in the majority of workplace incidents, driven primarily by a ‘poor perception of risk’ (source).
A common trait to humans is that we all remain prone to sub-standard hazard identification and therefore provide somewhat of an unreliable reporting system. This in turn can cause potentially disastrous consequences (source) as a result of skewed, or what the literature refers to as biased, decision making (source). Although training may help to improve levels of Health and Safety, it leaves H&S professionals locked into a permanent battle with processes that are hardwired into cognition (source). Bounded awareness, wherein humans ‘see’ but do not necessarily ‘observe’ nor ‘communicate’ what they have seen to others, provides a prime example of these drivers at play within the workplace (source).
The only clear path forward is therefore to remove humans from the reporting loop and for businesses to invest within reliable Health and Safety software services, so that they generate real-time alerts, which humans can respond to. Noteworthy is that humans excel in areas that technology struggles, for example critical thinking and strategy formulation (source). These characteristics are necessary to deal with issues once correctly and efficiently reported by technology. It also offers an opportunity to achieve significant performance gains through using the strengths of one to counter the weaknesses of another and to delivering a sum greater than that of the collective parts.
If you are interested in OSHA compliance services or looking to differentiate your business by becoming the safest place to work and shop, why not contact us now to see how Ocucon can help?