Using AI to Track Worker Health and Safety

June 23, 2020
Enforcing workplace health and safety standards has never been easier with the use of edge computing and AI to monitor compliance of health and safety measures.

Traditionally, tracking worker health and safety has been a manual task with lots of room for error. With the introduction of COVID-19, many manufacturers are looking to revamp their operational processes to adhere to new safety regulations including social distancing, the use of PPE, employee health screening, and more. 

In response to these new safety regulations, FogHorn—a leading developer of Edge AI software—has released Lightning Health & Safety Solutions, an AI and streaming video analytics platform. We spoke with David King, CEO of Foghorn about how this solution improves the safety of the workplace and how it helps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

New Equipment Digest (NED): What is Lightning Health & Safety Solutions and what does it do?

David King (DK): FogHorn Lightning Health & Safety Solutions automates auditing of workforce safety policy violations and unsafe health conditions leveraging edge-based streaming video analytics. The out-of-the-box offerings are preconfigured with use-case specific machine learning models and visualization dashboards, allowing organizations to rapidly deploy edge AI monitoring capabilities. The product suite includes a range of out-of-the-box solutions that can be used to create a comprehensive auditing system. Organizations can select the solutions they need today and add others in the future seamlessly, including:

  • Health Monitoring: elevated temperature detection, cough detection, hand washing monitoring, social distancing monitoring, and mask/facial covering detection
  • Safety Monitoring: personal protective equipment including hard hats, footwear, eyewear, vests, and boots
  • Hazard Detection: custom solution engagements are also available including crane and falling debris warnings, leak detection, and spill hazards

NED: How does it monitor/track the health and safety of employees? Does it offer tailored solutions to each worker over time?

DK: Audio, video, and thermal cameras collect information and process data streams using real-time edge analytics via the Lightning solutions. If the platform detects an anomaly, meaning any health or safety violation, it publishes real-time SMS or email alerts to appropriate staff or shares those on a public dashboard at building entry points, employee break rooms, near production lines, and in management consoles.

Lightning Health & Safety Solutions are tailored to the specific policies of the company and alerts health and safety support staff if someone in a specific area, like a factory entrance, is not in compliance. There are no specific customizations for individual employees.

NED: What consists of the out-of-box solutions? Is it a wearable, facility sensors, an app, etc.?

DK: Lightning Health & Safety Solutions is an intelligent edge computing software offering for industrial and commercial IoT solutions. No wearable technology is required as AI is being applied to live streaming video or audio sources.

NED: What does the AI platform do in addition to monitoring health and safety in the facility? Was this feature added to the platform due to the pandemic?

DK: The Lightning Health & Safety Solutions are out-of-the-box packages of FogHorn’s award-winning Lightning Edge AI platform. The Edge AI platform that powers these solutions takes the power of advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning—often thought to occur only in the cloud or data center—down to the on-premises edge environment. The platform enables a new class of applications for advanced monitoring and diagnostics, machine performance optimization, proactive maintenance, and operational intelligence use cases.

Over the past few years, FogHorn worked with large industrial enterprises on many asset health and product quality use cases. More recently, PPE safety monitoring and hazard detection use cases utilizing video have been added to the company’s use cases. The company was already developing out of the box solutions for safety. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, health monitoring was added to support the safety of workplaces at a much broader scale, mitigating the spread of contagious illnesses for industrial and commercial organizations.

NED: How does this solution cut down on the cost business normally face when tracking health and safety in the facility?

DK: Many businesses have not had an easy way to track health and safety and often relied on manual methods. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates

NED: Has this solution been implemented by any company yet? What size business is it best suited for?

DK: FogHorn is currently working with several organizations in a variety of verticals on implementing the Lightning Health & Safety Solutions suite, including hospitals, manufacturers, distribution centers, grocery stores, and public school systems. The new offering works for companies of all sizes, from multi-tenant apartment buildings with 1 to 2 video cameras in high-traffic areas to large industrial warehouses with many different IoT-enabled sensors.

NED: What was the biggest challenge in developing this solution?

DK: The global pandemic has highlighted deficiencies in the way companies monitor and track employee health and safety. Businesses and institutions are now pressed to urgently find solutions that reassure employees and visitors the workplace is safe. The biggest challenge in development was condensing our development timeline to meet market needs with a solution that was simple and easy to use.