The Rise of AI in EHS: A New Frontier for Worker Safety and Well-being

Guildhawk | May 31, 2024 10:23:29 AM

In today's world of rapid technological advancements, the intersection of Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) and AI is proving to be a game-changer for both companies and workers.

This article explores how AI is reshaping the EHS industry, empowering companies to improve work management, mitigate risks, and cultivate a healthier environment for employees. When implemented ethically, AI has the potential to unlock a new era of possibilities in workplace safety and productivity.

Alex Shenfield, Professor in Machine Learning (ML) at Sheffield Hallam University whose main research field is application of ML to solve real-world problems, says, “AI has the potential to transform industries with solutions for enhancing metadata, search, and analytical capabilities for the benefit of humanity”. Commenting on the role Large Language Models (LLMs) can play in EHS, he added, “Information in safety and maintenance manuals is not always accessible in multiple languages, developing advanced intelligent systems trained on EHS specific datasets could help solve this”.

Prof. Alex ShenfieldThe vision of AI’s future role in EHS is explored in more detail.

AI's role in proactive EHS management

One of AI's greatest strengths is its ability to analyse vast amounts of data and predict future outcomes. This translates to significant advantages for EHS across various industries, including construction, aerospace, oil and gas, and manufacturing.

AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of historical data to identify patterns and predict problems before they occur. Take the manufacturing industry, for example: AI can flag a potential chemical leak based on sensor data and historical trends, allowing companies to take preventive measures; real-time monitoring systems powered by AI can continuously collect data on environmental factors, and thus trigger alerts to prevent safety incidents and environmental damage.

The preventive capability of AI in process efficiency

AI doesn't stop at predicting the future; it can also optimise processes for peak efficiency. By analysing sensor data from equipment, AI can predict potential equipment failures and schedule preventive maintenance. This not only minimises downtime and ensures smooth operation but also prevents accidents caused by malfunctions.

Additionally, AI can analyse workflow data to identify areas for improvement, leading to streamlined processes that are both efficient and minimise safety risks.

Personalising safety training: Empowering workers

Outside of optimisation and making predictions, AI is used to personalise onboarding and safety training programmes that increases participation, leading to more effective learning and improved safety habits. For instance, Guildhawk’s multilingual digital human avatar service enables companies to deliver training to workers in their language, thereby increasing their knowledge and safety behaviour when working in hazardous situations.

Read more about how avatars & GAI enhance multilingual training and onboarding at Sandvik.

Addressing AI challenges in EHS: Ensuring data Integrity and transparency

While AI holds immense promise for EHS, challenges remain.

  • Firstly, the effectiveness of AI relies heavily on the quality and accuracy of the data it's trained on. As a result, inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to flawed AI predictions. Here's where Guildhawk's clean and trained data lake becomes a game-changer for EHS and AI: we provide a comprehensive data lake curated and cleansed for EHS applications. We make sure our AI systems are trained on accurate and verified information, which then minimises the risk of flawed predictions and improves overall safety outcomes.
  • Another challenge with AI in EHS is the lack of transparency in some algorithms, which can potentially generate inaccurate results and hallucinations that cause a a lack of trust in the system. Guildhawk addresses this by partnering with AI developers who prioritise creating explainable AI systems for EHS applications. This allows professionals to understand the process behind AI results, fostering trust and enabling informed decision-making.

A brighter future for EHS with responsible AI

The future of EHS is being painted with a brighter brush thanks to AI advancements. While challenges like ethical considerations and legal frameworks remain at the forefront, Guildhawk's emphasis on data quality and transparency paves the way for a future where AI empowers a safer and more efficient work environment.

By harnessing the power of AI responsibly, we can create a future where worker safety and well-being are not just afterthoughts, but a foundation for a thriving and sustainable industrial landscape.