How IIoT Can Reduce Safety Risks

By Tom Morrison posted 02-29-2024 10:10 AM


Well-positioned sensors, including those in vision systems and wearables, help the manufacturing workforce detect risks to improve safety, quality and efficiency.

IIoT (industrial Internet of Things), which refers to devices connected to an industrial network that collect, share and act on information, can also facilitate a safer and more secure work floor by monitoring vehicle accidents, employee absences, injuries, and other machinery malfunctions. 

Sensors placed on machines can quickly alert workers to a machine failure or breakdown. These sensors can also be used for predictive maintenance to signal workers when a machine needs servicing. Using sensors in this way will allow for a more targeted maintenance schedule, which can improve operations and potentially lower costs.

Additionally, there are a variety of smart devices that can improve productivity and safety on the manufacturing floor. These include connected cameras and wearables worn by workers to detect risks and help improve safety, quality, and efficiency.

When connected to artificial intelligence software, cameras can be used to further identify worker safety risks. When unsafe behavior is detected, it can trigger real-time alerts to promote a safer work environment. These alerts can include ensuring workers are wearing proper personal protective equipment and abiding by forklift zones and speed limits. Cameras can also ensure that proper clean-up is taking place to prevent slip and fall accidents, as well as identify and evaluate near misses. 


Just as wearable technology, like fitness trackers, has helped monitor personal wellness goals, it is also helping to improve worker safety and reduce job-related injuries and illnesses. This can lower the number of workers’ compensation insurance claims, especially when incorporating wearable technology to improve ergonomics, monitor environmental conditions, track employee locations during a crisis, and detect falls.

Wearable devices that keep manufacturing workers safe include belts, gloves, armbands, and straps that track movement in the workplace such as bends and twists. These devices can record data on how workers move on the job, track repetitive pushing or pulling, monitor environmental conditions such as air quality and noise levels, and detect worker falls to help improve ergonomics, safety, and productivity. 

Connected devices also help predict and prevent potential insurance losses by raising awareness around safety risks in manufacturing workplaces and provide valuable insights with the data collected. 

Ultimately, the goal for manufacturers is to use IIoT technologies to help solve their most disruptive business problems.

Insurance carriers, in partnership with agents and brokers can work with manufacturers to strengthen risk mitigation efforts and improve operations and worker safety. At The Hartford, for example, when it comes to automation, risk engineering specialists have vast experience and knowledge of the unique risks and challenges that manufacturers face. 

Written by: Brian Kramer, leads the manufacturing industry portfolio team at The Hartford, for AutomationWorld.