PPE detection with AI: Everything you need to know
Using personal protective equipment became the norm for many people with the covid-19. Conversely, it has always been a critical part of the work process in manufacturing, construction, and healthcare facilities.
Workers in these environments come in contact with hazards every day. Such as exposure to gas, chemicals, radiological materials, fall from height, vehicle collision, and so on.
PPE has just one function- to minimize exposure to these hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses.
But, despite its importance, PPE violation is still a common trend in many facilities today. This is a huge problem that calls for a sustainable solution. Otherwise, workers will continue to suffer hazards in the workplace.
PPE detection with AI is one such solution. It can reduce PPE violations and injury in your facility.
But before we get into that, you should first understand this:
Why do companies fail to comply with PPE regulations?
Using personal protective equipment is more than just safety best practices. It is a critical requirement for OSHA’s compliance. Every employer is expected to know this.
But, did you know that “Fall protection” was the most cited OSHA violation in 2021– for the 11th time in a row?. Other notable violations in the top 10 spot include respiratory protection, training requirements for fall protection, and eye and face protection.
For context, all of these violations are due to non-compliance with PPE usage that led to workers’ death or severe injury. In fact, OSHA fined this company more than $1.2 million for multiple repeat fall protection violations.
These are the causes of PPE non-compliance:
Several studies show that negligence is the highest-ranked reason for not wearing PPE. Some workers often ignore PPE because they find it inconvenient and causing physical discomfort. Others think they can save time and effort if they skip PPE protocols. But this little neglect often breeds great mischief.
Surprisingly, some employers do not know that they are responsible for PPE provision in the workplace. Some fail to upgrade PPE quality in the facility, leading to injuries.
Poor on-site supervision
The primary role of the on-site supervisor is to ensure workers’ safety by identifying and correcting non-compliant practices. PPE malfunction may occur, leading to death or injury if the supervisor fails to recognize it before work begins.
Risk perception about the hazard
It is impossible to protect a worker from a hazard if they do consider it a threat to life. Therefore, the perception of risks is another reason for PPE violation in the workplace.
Lack of safety training
The most advanced PPE cannot protect workers from hazards if you do not train them to use it. This is why the lack of fall protection training is a common OSHA violation.
PPE detection is the best way to mitigate the risks of PPE violation. As long as you can inspect and identify any non-compliance before work begins, you can correct it. And, as a result, save lives and stay OSHA compliant.
However, it is challenging to conduct manual PPE inspections in large facilities where everyone is always on the move.
This is where AI-powered PPE detection comes in. Let’s look at what it is and how it works.
What is PPE detection with AI?
AI-powered PPE detection automates PPE inspection in any facility. It detects the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn by workers in an image or video. It also notifies you when a worker approaches a work area with no PPE.
PPE detection, for example, can be used to assess whether employees on a construction site are wearing head coverings or whether the medical staff is wearing face and hand covers.
You can use this information to improve workplace safety practices like training and toolbox talks.
How does PPE detection with AI work?
The AI inspects and detects PPE following three steps:
The technology is installed into your available camera and begins to monitor activities in the workplace in real-time.
The recorded footage is processed to detect any PPE violation. This is aided by preset parameters that increase accuracy.
That is, you can configure the AI to detect specific types of PPE based on the kind of work done in the environment. It then scans the footage to detect if workers use the particular PPE.
The technology reports actionable information after processing detection videos. This digitalized incident report contains information about the worker, the part of the body PPE is used or not used, and the types of PPE detected on the body parts.
Furthermore, the report enables you to swiftly answer queries such as, “How many people do not use facial covers?” or Is everyone using personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Each individual, in summary, has a distinct ID. If they aren’t wearing PPE, you can use the ID to learn things like a person’s bounding box position.
Features of AI PPE detection
It works with any camera.
You do not need to install unique IP cameras to use the AI PPE detection system. The typical webcam on your PC and mobile devices will do just fine.
This flexibility in usage ensures that you do not need to set out a huge budget or overhaul your existing CCTV system.
It is customizable
If your facility comprises different departments, you can customize the AI to use the cameras in each department differently.
Requires no special training
Non-technical workers can easily configure and monitor PPE compliance with PPE detection AI.
Runs in cloud storage
PPE detection with AI runs on the cloud, so you do not have to worry about security and storage space. The cloud access also offers mobility and swift data transfer when collecting safety data for audit or emergency reports.
Events and alert management system
The system sends alerts triggered by the occurrence of apparent PPE violations. The notification is sent via email, SMS, or push notification so that you can quickly respond even when you are not there.
Benefits of AI PPE Detection
Saves time and costs
Manual PPE detection is repetitive and time-consuming. AI-powered PPE detection system automates this process, saving time and costs of employee benefits or fines.
The AI PPE detection system is accurate because it follows set parameters and uses machine learning to improve detection confidence over time.
Additionally, it is incapable of bias or negligence. A safety professional may pay less attention to a worker if they have an outstanding record of PPE compliance.
But one moment of negligence or PPE failure may cause irreparable damage- AI takes no such risk.
Based on the set criteria, the system detects all types of PPE and quickly notify you in case of violation. That way, it helps you access the reasons for PPE non-use and design a safety program to correct them according to OSHA standards.
Working with a PPE detection system shows your commitment to EHS. The ability to identify problems with PPE and design a safety programme accordingly prepares you for safety auditing.
Therefore, audit officers are confident that your facility works with the best tools for identifying, eliminating, or controlling workplace hazards.
Improves safety training
A generic safety training program is less effective because it does not focus on the most critical safety issue.
AI-powered PPE detection systems help you generate data-backed insight into behaviors that lead to PPE violation.
That way, you can design a super-specific training program that treats the real problem, not symptoms.
Motivates safety culture and employee confidence
Workers are more productive when their work environment is safe. Creating a safe work environment begins with developing a safety culture.
Aside from designing specific training around PPE, the AI PPE detection system gives you enough insight to make your toolbox talk more educative and inspiring.
That way, you can rest assured your workers are motivated to work and inspired by your safety culture.
Is AI-powered PPE detection safe?
AI-powered PPE detection is safe because each facility must follow OSHA’s employee privacy rights.
This includes placing cameras in appropriate places and blurring a worker’s face in detection videos.
PPE detection is essential to keeping your worker safe from workplace hazards. You can automate the detection system with Artificial intelligence to save time, costs, and develop an agile workplace safety culture.
Learn more about how our AI-powered solution can keep your facility safer.