Workplace safety: startling facts and solutions for a safer tomorrow

“Workplace safety isn’t just a legal responsibility; it’s a moral commitment”

That is the heartfelt opinion of Lloyd Spindler, Global Segment Manager at Ascom, the global communications and workflow solutions provider. “It's crucial for the well-being of employees, visitors, and the reputation of any organization.”

Statistics related to workplace safety are nothing short of startling. 

According to one study, 23% of people claimed to have been victims of workplace violence or harassment at some point in their working lives. On top of that, 321,000 people die annually from occupational accidents, along with over 300 million non-fatal occupational accidents every year. 

In the United States alone, there were 392 workplace homicides during undertaking their work last year. The scale and nature of workplace safety issues are very real, posing a significant problem that can and must be addressed. With professional support, organizations can work to reduce these worrying statistics. 

The growing challenge of criminal behavior
Another growing challenge that businesses face is the rising tide of criminal behavior. Many countries are expanding or constructing new prisons to house their growing criminal populations. Beyond impacting prison services, this surge in criminal activity has direct implications for workplace safety, including staff attacks and theft. 

Consequently, the demand for security solutions, such as guard tours, is on the rise. According to Spindler: “A 2022 report says that in 2021, at least 24 countries announced plans for, or started construction of, new prison facilities – in total, creating at least 437,000 more spaces worldwide.”

Understanding the root causes
One of the most significant global megatrends is the drive for operational efficiency. Organizations optimizing their processes, resources, and workflows to achieve maximum output while minimizing waste and costs. 

You might ask: what has this to do with workplace safety? Actually, the answer is everything. A common method of reducing costs is reducing the budget, which inevitably leads to downsizing the workforce. 

Spindler said: “And what does that lead to? More lone workers. Instead of a team of two or three people to perform tasks, organizations are often relying on a single individual. This is inherently risky.”  

Addressing workplace safety challenges
Businesses just don’t have the budgets; they have to prioritize what they can actually implement at any given time with the limited resources available. This often means managing existing systems while incorporating new and improved technology. 

This is where Ascom excels, offering flexible workplace solutions that are not proprietary. Technology that makes the most of the existing infrastructure and can operate in a shared architecture environment. This allows for multiple use cases that support various processes, addressing cost and efficiency challenges.

Leading by example: Ascom’s commitment to workplace safety
Ascom has over 50 years of expertise in workplace safety, efficiency, and operational performance. This long history is the foundation of our strength as an organization. Spindler, who has been at Ascom for more than thirty years, said: “Experience has taught us the three things that matter most to our customers: to use existing functionality and infrastructure, provide user-friendly technology and choose end-to-end solutions.” 

“When embracing new technology, we don’t rush into it just for the sake of it. Instead, we take the time to understand whether it will truly make a difference and provide a tangible benefit to our customers.” 

This approach has allowed Ascom to support a number of clients on their digital transformation journey. Some of the mobile devices are now in their fifth generation. Regardless of the device, whether it's a pager, a desk phone, a Wi-Fi phone, or a smart device, they all incorporate workplace safety features. Workplace safety functionality is deeply embedded in Ascom's DNA.

Case Studies: EDF and Arkema
To illustrate the practical impact of Ascom's commitment to workplace safety, we can look at the experiences of companies like EDF and Arkema.

EDF Group, the world's largest energy generator, recognized the need to improve the safety and mobility of their teams across their industrial sites. They sought to optimize technical alarm management for 80 sites and 300 factories, encompassing France and numerous overseas departments and territories. 

Ascom proposed a robust, sustainable, and scalable solution, compatible with EDF's existing systems. This solution, which integrates Ascom's DECT mobile devices and real-time data monitoring, ensures the safety of partners, machinery, and infrastructure during critical events such as floods, fires, low water levels, and technical issues.

Arkema, a global leader in the chemical industry, implemented Ascom's Unite Enterprise Platform to enhance safety and workflow at its Italian sites. Equipped with Ascom's DECT services and mobile terminals, Arkema aimed to optimize work processes and personnel safety. 

The implementation, led by IT solutions specialist ERT Srl, includes real-time tracking during alarms and enhanced emergency alerts through antenna-based localization applications. The success of these implementations demonstrates the tangible benefits of Ascom's technology in enhancing workplace safety and operational efficiency.

The future of workplace safety: anticipating change
Due to ongoing changes in society, such as the growth of lone working, the need for workplace safety will continue to grow. This will coincide with technological shifts, like shared infrastructure, and the development of 5G connectivity.

Lloyd added: “The full potential of 5G in the business world remains untapped. Organizations are starting to recognize the benefits of 5G's lower-cost location technology, but this is just the beginning. It will evolve into a broader ecosystem and connectivity platform. How are we responding to these developments? We've incorporated 5G into our latest generation of smart devices, ensuring our customers are well prepared.”

Ask Ascom: Your partner in workplace safety
Ascom is a solutions-driven company. If you have questions or concerns about enhancing efficiency while prioritizing workplace safety, then just ask Ascom. Allow us to demonstrate our understanding of your challenges and business needs. We aim to be a partner for our clients, from initial concept, through delivery and beyond.

We always advise customers to consider the bigger picture rather than approaching solutions in isolation. Spindler said: “Workplace safety should be the top priority every working day. Instead of reacting to problems, focus on alignment and building upon daily processes, recognizing the connections between these processes and various business activities.” 

By shifting from standalone thinking to viewing it as an ecosystem, you can address a range of issues and reap the benefits.

About Ascom: A legacy of safety and efficiency
Ascom has over 50 years of expertise in safety, efficiency, and operational performance. The Ascom Enterprise Platform delivers the right information to the right people at the right time.

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