It appears that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to have a massive impact on health and safety in the workplace, and for many the impact is already being felt.

The possibilities are believed to be endless, or at least, the possibilities will go as far as companies are willing to invest. Based on industry research, it seems as though spending won’t be an issue.

According to Accenture, AI applications are predicted to create $150 billion in annual savings for the United States healthcare economy by 2026, plus with an expected growth in the AI health market to reach $6.6 billion by 2021.

Tractica predicts that the AI software market will reach $118.6 billion (USD) in annual worldwide revenue by 2025.

Deloitte said 83% of early AI adopters have already achieved substantial (30%) or moderate (53%) economic benefits.

It’s clear that companies are investing in AI, but how exactly do the safety experts see AI fitting into health and safety in the workplace?

We asked them to share their insight and here’s what they said.

Nurses will use AI to locate veins faster and more effectively

Artificial Intelligence is on a crash course with Augmented Reality, especially in the healthcare space. There are many ways that both technologies can be used. For example, they can be utilized with headsets, or to enhance phones or tablets. They can equip employees with advanced features like X-ray vision, heat sensing abilities, and faster access to experts.

Rather than replacing humans with machines, these technologies provide a new way to enhance the ways that machines and humans work together. They can improve design speeds and reduce the amount of time it takes for a product to get to market by erasing the need for a physical prototype. It also improves safety and compliance efforts.

A perfect example of how to use AI and AR comes from nurses who use it to locate veins faster and more effectively. AccuVein has a tool which allows nurses or doctors to use a handheld device which scans the patient's body and makes the vein visible. This greatly improves accuracy and decreases the likelihood of having to stick a patient multiple times.

Adnan Raja, VP Marketing, Atlantic.net

AI applications are now using big data to obtain better insights regarding a person’s health

AI has proliferated nearly every field nowadays. Health management apps and wearable technologies that are powered by AI software have enabled better management of health records and fast and timely diagnosis of diseases. AI applications are now using big data to obtain better insights regarding a person’s health and helping doctors and physicians make more informed decisions.

AI diagnostic tools are particularly helpful in areas where doctors are less in abundance and timely diagnosis is required to save a patient’s life.

On the other hand, AI has made huge waves in safety and fraud prevention. Programs like Shufti Pro are providing real-time fraud detection services for businesses using document verification and facial recognition. It has enabled financial firms and online merchants and vendors to make their businesses a safer place for customers by fending off fraudsters and scammers.

Damien Martin, Marketing Executive, ShuftiPro

AI systems can alert line managers in real-time to incidents that are happening

There are a few initiatives being worked on by large tech companies to optimize AI for workplace health and safety that are incredibly exciting. The biggest impact it will have will be in real-time tracking of health and safety concerns by identifying potential issues that may arise.

By using video cameras and monitoring around the workplace, AI, machine learning and deep learning algorithms can identify if workers are compliant. Such as, wearing the correct equipment like goggles, headwear, protective footwear and clothing, before dealing with hazards. Also, tracking contamination risks, detecting spills or unsafe objects and alerting those responsible.

AI in health and safety will also impact productivity for professionals in the field. You can’t be everywhere at once, but these systems can monitor multiple sites at any given time, working in conjunction with humans, AI will allow for greater care and compliance.

If accidents do occur, there’s always a margin for human error, AI systems can also alert line managers in real-time to incidents that are happening. This will allow for better response and care for those involved in workplace accidents.

I believe that businesses can truly benefit by implementing AI in health and safety in the workplace.

Matt Reaney, Founder and CEO, Big Cloud

Internet-connected sensors and wearables provide robust raw data on working environments and individual health conditions

Deploying internet-connected sensors and wearables, businesses have only started to identify the potential of AI to promote the health and safety of workers. Such monitoring devices provide robust raw data on working environments and individual health conditions; yoking such information to AI’s analytic strength of making connections, processing at fantastical speeds, and predicting will permit employees to anticipate and avoid unsafe situations, both immediate and recurrent.

Longer term, it will promote workflow redesign to enhance efficiency and safety. If employers are willing to share their data across industries, the benefits will be amplified dramatically. Analytics will also help identify and avoid human error, from insufficient training to rule breaking to unreasonable expectations.

Tod Northman, Partner, Tucker Ellis LLP

Data management to allow access to patient information

There are numerous possibilities as to how AI will help health safety. The key to the success of AI in health safety will come down to several essential features. It must provide a better continuity of care while reducing the potential for human error.

One area that AI could be the most beneficial is data management to allow access to patient information through a system that receives input from multiple sources, like hospitals, urgent care and doctor offices.

This would decrease the amount of miscommunication and increase sharing of information. If AI can be used to replace repetitive tasks and screen for abnormal findings then medical professionals can reduce the time they spend on normal results and focus their attention to abnormal issues that need to be addressed.

Expanding forms of telemedicine would also be helpful. Designing apps that help diagnose diseases based off of a patient’s symptoms and can put them in touch with a doctor when necessary would be ideal.

These are just a few ways that AI could positively impact healthcare.

Ashley Wood, RN, BSN, Demystifying Your Health, LLC

AI is changing the way companies identify safety risks and potential hazards to prevent losses

Between advanced data collection, cloud computing, industrial IoT, and analytics, technology is changing the way companies identify safety risks and potential hazards to prevent losses, and this is enabling safety professionals and insurance companies to predict when and where accidents are likely to happen.

The predictive data we’re gathering will play a role in reducing workers’ compensation claims and mitigating workplace risks.

By automating the collection of true leading indicators, incidents, near misses, and voice-to-text observation reporting— and integrating other IIoT data sources from a facility— our cloud platform can identify correlations that have never been possible before.

The result is safety professionals who are better equipped to do their jobs and more workers going home safely each day.

Tom West, Strategic Relationships Manager, MākuSafe

We envision AI as a key ingredient in intelligent EHS applications

With the launch of voice-enabled assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, consumers already enjoy assistance from conversational AI on a regular basis. Additionally, a number of platforms have become available that provide easy access to language processing and AI tools, making building a custom digital assistant easier than ever.

As a consequence, we envision the use of safety bots in EHS implementations:

  • When technicians visit an industrial site, intelligent, location-aware apps running on their mobile devices will activate. They can proactively notify the technician about recent incidents and site-specific risks, and also provide instructions applicable to that environment. These safety bots will also track the location of the worker, monitoring his movements from a central location to improve safety.

  • Technicians enjoy hands-free interaction with the EHS system through the safety bots’ conversational interface. Powered by AI, instructions, safety information, and reports of near misses can all be processed via a natural, voice-enabled dialog.

While the typical benefits of implementing chatbots focus on e.g. cost savings or improved customer service, the job-to-be-done of a safety bot is to increase safety of workers by providing easy access to all relevant information and allowing them to interact with EHS systems with only minimal distraction from their on-site work.

We envision AI as a key ingredient in intelligent EHS applications, albeit one that needs to be tightly integrated with other technologies such as location-based services.

Dr. Mario Lenz, CPO, Quentic

For AI to effective, you need to collect data. To collect data, you need to implement tech.

I think what is most important is the use case; how, where, when, and why we’ll we use it. Over my 20 years in the technology industry I’ve seen many businesses try to implement technology without knowing how it should be used.

For AI to effective, you need to collect data. To collect data, you need to implement tech.

We’re integrating AI with our ecommerce platform to maximize the opportunity for customers to build the optimal safety solutions. The AI engine will aggregate many data points that will recommend products to them based on what similar customer segments have used. This is going to expose customers to other products they may have never considered which will only help them to implement a stronger safety culture.

We’re excited for the next generation of health and safety programs and the lives that can be saved.

Ryan Morin, Director of Marketing and Technology, Concept Controls Inc.