How Can Computers Improve Health and Safety?
The advent of the computer age has brought with it innumerable improvements to various areas of life. Whether it is a workplace or a home, there are virtually none these days in developed countries which do not have at least one in them, and usually have multiple computers and other microprocessor devices such as mobile telephones and calculators.
The computer has also revolutionised and improved the area of health and safety in a number of different ways. Some are only slight, whereas others have had more of an impact, but even so the organisation, implementation and protection which has been enabled thanks to computer technology has resulted in the saving of lives.
So what improvements have been made?
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Using computers to design buildings, workspace layouts, machinery etc has significantly reduced the likelihood of a design fault being responsible for a health and safety incident as any issues should be identified and corrected at the design stage. In the past, architects and designers were able to calculate with a certain degree of accuracy whether new designs were possible, but there was still quite a large element of uncertainty which could only be tested when it was actually being built. Inevitably, this brought with it the potential for collapse which could cause serious injuries and death to workers and anyone else below.
Online Health and Safety Training
Although not suitable for comprehensive health and safety qualifications like the NEBOSH Diplomas or Certificates for instance, online training courses covering a particular area such as manual handling or fire safety can provide useful information to refresh previous staff training or provide simple introductions/overviews. To see our range of online health and safety training courses click the "Online Courses" button on the right hand side of the page.
Before computers were invented information had to either be typed out or written by hand. This meant lots of paper which could easily be mislaid, or even if it was located it could take a long time to search for the desired information. As a result, more was attempted to be done from memory or estimations, which often led to mistakes and inappropriate actions. For instance, not knowing exactly how many people are employed in a particular section of the factory could lead to an insufficient number of emergency exits and fire fighting equipment.
Automated Safety Features
Computers and electronic devices have enabled the introduction of automated safety features which can activate almost instantly and prevent incidents from taking place. Computer monitoring through electronic sensors, and the subsequent automatic safety process which activates should those sensors detect abnormal readings, is perhaps the biggest improvement in health and safety that computers and electronics have made.
Being able to close valves, shut off electricity, alter mixtures and many more actions all in fractions of a second sometimes means that potentially devastating incidents can not only be contained, but in many cases can actually be prevented entirely. Countless lives have been saved, many times without them even knowing it, because of computer technology. Not only this, but the same automated safety features have prevented numerous environmental disasters thanks to the prevention of incidents such as explosions and discharge of pollution into the air or water. For more information on environmental health and safety please click here.