Your Employees Want to Feel Safer at Work. You Want to Reduce the Risk of Incidents. There are Several Ways Location Technology Can Help with Both, According to One Expert.

RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy Technology can be used to control access, coordinate movements around heavy machinery and help ensure common tools don’t become hazards – and that’s just the start.

A forklift operator looks at a fixed computer screen
by Therese Van Ryne
April 28, 2022

April 28 is recognized by the United Nations as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, but you and I know this is something we must prioritize every day. There are regulatory requirements and legal liabilities, of course, but also social, ethical and operational standards. It’s just best practice – and good business – to put safety first. Plus, in this age of social media, people are paying attention to workplace conditions and making decisions about where they apply for jobs based on what they hear. Those taking measures to protect employees’ well-being are being lauded while those who don’t are being publicly scrutinized. 

So, I invited Mark Jolley, the EMEA Sales Director for Location Solutions at Zebra Technologies, onto the latest episode of the Your Edge Podcast to talk about technology’s role in workplace safety. Prior to this role, Mark served as the Solutions Sales Team lead in EMEA focused on Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics. During this time, he worked with some of the region’s largest post and parcel companies to implement location solutions with the goal of improving workplace efficiency and safety, among other objectives. He is well-versed on the best practices in this area and has some unique experiences using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and real-time location systems to help improve safety practices. 

I asked him to talk about how location technology specifically is used today to support compliance with health and safety measures and how it could be used in new ways to help reduce the risk of incidents. In our 20-minute discussion, we cover quite a lot, including:

  • [1:47-3:37] Safety considerations in more industrial workplaces, including factories and warehouses. He calls out some of the biggest safety hazards today – not all of which may be so obvious.   

  • [3:37- 6:47] The many ways location technologies such as RFID or Bluetooth Low Energy solutions can be used to help identify the location of people and machines moving about facilities. Mark says this is actually one of the biggest use cases right now for location technologies in work sites ranging from factories, oil rigs, and nuclear facilities, to hospitals and traditional office buildings where it may be necessary to activate a quick incident response or find people in an emergency. He gives some very interesting real-life examples of the tech in action today. (*See what Gartner® says about it, too.) 

  • [6:49-9:09] The ways in which NFL player tracking compares to RFID-based track and trace applications in warehouses, factories and other industrial and field service environments. Mark discusses how the durability of RFID tags varies in these environments and the design of tags intended for environments with strict health and safety standards.

  • [9:09-14:28] The importance of tool tracking has in the context of worker safety – and, in some cases, customer/patient safety. For example, Mark explains how an RFID tag can be used to confirm a tool or machine operator is properly trained to use it – or to confirm proper tool sanitation after surgery. He also explains how other types of technology can be used to monitor employees who might be working alone at a job site or in proximity to machinery. 

  • [14:28-15:36] Ways to use technology for access control. This is increasingly important for both physical safety and privacy purposes. Areas can be restricted for all sorts of reasons.

  • [15:36-16:56] The way that technology is used to track and trace workers entering Hazardous Locations. The protocol when explosive materials are present will be more focused on access control, Mark notes.

  • [16:56-18:37] Why you shouldn’t invest in technology without considering if operational changes are also warranted, especially when workplace safety is a priority. 

Listen Now

How Location Technologies Help with Worker Safety and Health

Prefer to read the interview? Send an email to blog@zebra.com to request the full transcript.

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Did You Know?

Zebra was recently recognized as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for Indoor Location Services for the third consecutive year! Learn more about the types of solutions we’ve helped customers successfully into their industrial and field-based operations to help improve worker health and safety.

**Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

GARTNER and Magic Quadrant are registered trademarks and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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Therese Van Ryne
Therese Van Ryne is Global Director of PR, Thought Leadership and Advocacy for Zebra Technologies. One of PR News’ 2019 Top Women in PR and Crain's Chicago's 2021 Most Notable Executives in Marketing, Therese also has experience as a journalist, editor and producer, reporting nightly from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
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