After a pandemic year, workplace safety is top of mind for many businesses. According to one survey, employee safety and well-being replaced pre-existing priorities, like attracting top talent, as the dominant concerns for business leaders.
Meanwhile, many employees are dissatisfied with existing safety measures. A Gallup Poll found that just 65% of workers are “completely satisfied with their physical safety at work,” the lowest point since 2001. As the World Economic Forum succinctly notes, “U.S. perceptions of workplace safety have never been so low.”
In other words, thriving businesses will need to prioritize physical safety in the workplace, knowing that it’s a prerequisite for operational excellence.
In response, companies are turning to new technologies to enhance workplace safety. This is especially true for artificial intelligence (AI), which can considerably improve workplace safety without inundating security teams with additional responsibilities. More specifically, when AI takes on repetitive or dangerous tasks, it frees up human labor to carry out work that we are better equipped for — tasks involving aspects of creativity and empathy.
Simply put, when it comes to providing a safe, supportive workplace for everyone, AI is an increasingly capable tool that enhances physical safety at a critical time. Here are four ways AI can enhance physical safety in the workplace.
1. Enhanced Features And Security Functionality
Technology solutions already play a prominent role in securing our physical spaces, and AI can enhance technology’s capacity with enhanced features and security functionality.
For instance, video analytics has driven the adoption of AI technology, allowing businesses to deploy robust security solutions with multifaceted analytical capacities. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explains, “technological advances in cameras, sensors, and robotics capabilities have led to the development of improved security equipment and subsequently their increased use in protecting homes, businesses, and public spaces.”
Now, companies can harness this technology to create even better security outcomes. AI biometric solutions can be more tolerant to changes in the reference template. In addition, multi-factor authentication for access technology adds a layer of protection to a restricted area in a zero-trust environment, allowing businesses to be more precise and effective in their security posture.
2. Better Decision-Making
Armed with an abundance of security technologies — including cameras, IoT facility monitors, badge readers and more — businesses have more data than ever before to maintain workplace security.
Notably, AI supports workplace safety by identifying anomalies in the data. Algorithms are trained on a baseline of common patterns, and software provides unparalleled threat detection capacity. In addition, AI helps identify potential areas of compromise while analyzing images, videos and other data to differentiate threats from standard activity.
In other words, AI provides organizations with a tool that can process big data quickly and identify anomalies that may compromise or threaten facility security.
3. Business Operation Optimization
Even as businesses enhance physical security, they need to execute this priority without introducing excessive friction to security checkpoints. As a result, workplace security solutions must be instantaneous and accurate to promote safety and reduce errors. It’s also clear that reducing touchpoints will be a critical component of workplace safety in a post-pandemic operational landscape.
For example, edge computing powered by machine learning makes real-time, automated authentication and access control the modern, more capable equivalent of a lock and key.
At the same time, AI supports these priorities by providing instantaneous and incredibly accurate risk assessments, facility access and other security features that make real-time workplace security more possible than ever before.
4. Automating Tasks
The once conventional access control sector is grabbing its own share of notoriety.
Integrated systems are tapping into advancements in AI-driven solutions that accelerate the development of cloud integration platforms and a growing inventory of mobile access control devices equipped with touchless and biometric options. As organizations respond to new health and safety risks, AI-powered automation makes workplace safety simpler and more effective, allowing businesses to mitigate risks and support their teams.
As many businesses grapple with heightened awareness regarding workplace safety, now is the right time to update solutions. Ensuring that physical spaces are secure is a foundational element of effective companies, allowing teams to be safe, resilient and sustainable.
This priority depends, in part, on modern technology. AI burgeoning capabilities empower businesses to do everything from identifying anomalies in big data to leveraging AI technology to enable people to focus on more strategic, human-centric tasks. AI alone won’t keep businesses secure, but in 2021 and beyond, it’s a crucial part of improving workplace safety.