Safety FIRST

New sensor technology set to revolutionise Australian workplaces

Workplace fatalities and a marked rise in industrial injuries is costing Australian companies over $57 billion a year in medical expenses, lost hours and compensation, according to a new safety research study.

The Picture the Future 2030 Safety, released by technology leader Siemens, shows that workplace incidents equate to one death per working day – that is 280 deaths per year.

Agriculture, construction, transport and logistics and manufacturing industries account for the majority of safety-related incidents in Australia.

To reverse the alarming trend, safety education is vital – particularly with the current growth of casual labour in the workplace, says Chris Vains, Head of the Picture the Future 2030 Safety research.

“With over 25 per cent of Australia’s workforce made up of part-time or casual workers, we need to step up the standard of safety education with continuous and on-the-spot training.”

Mr Vains says workplace safety can be greatly improved with the use of sensors.

“Through the introduction of sensors we see that machines can detect who is about to operate a machine and if they are not trained the machine will literally shut-down,” Mr Vains says.

This sensor revolution extends to imbedded devices in clothing or uniforms.

The sensors can communicate directly to machinery or vehicles so that clear safety information is available to all workers, regardless of whether they are employed on a casual or full-time basis.

“We see a future where there will be no need for a yellow line or barrier stopping workers from doing their work, Mr Vains says. “Sensors will detect if the employee is qualified to operate equipment – and if they are wearing safety goggles – an image will appear as a hologram to provide clear safety instructions.”

Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) Director, Mark Goodsell applauds Siemens efforts in addressing industrial safety and says that Australia’s safety effort needs to lift to keep us inline with the best in the world.

“Australia is still only ranked 7th in the world for workplace safety – we know that with all the resources and intelligent technology available that there is no reason why we can’t be number one,” says Mr Goodsell.

“Injuries and fatal incidents in the workplace should be reduced in tandem with our efforts to address the marked decline in productivity we are facing across many industries in this country. By addressing safety in conjunction with productivity, we can see both outcomes improved.”

Siemens expects the advanced sensor technology identified in the research to be made available within the next decade. He predicts this type of technology will become commonplace in many industrial settings by 2030.

The full study and findings is available at:

Ph: 137 222