September 27th, 2021
If you are charged with utility safety, you know that safety issues management never takes a day off. You must be vigilant, detailed, and poised to anticipate future issues and problems. How do you find the unknown? How do you catch the low level, unreported issues that may or may not be a glimpse into larger issues that are brewing? How do you learn from the data to help predict and reduce risk and build a holistic safety management system?
1) The daily trip. The top concern for workers revolves around day-to-day activity safety issues—slips, trips and falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) cites that anything that can cause a worker to lose his or her balance is considered a fall hazard. How do you monitor or anticipate this? What tools or machine learning options are available that can see patterns and issues on a typical day of random activities and organized chaos? Failing to have a system that can monitor and document the health and safety of employees will get you in the hot seat with OSHA fast.
2) Safety is more than a pretty manual. The work must be done. We get that. But how do you monitor the execution of safety protocols of contractors, employees, and systems? Is everyone taking the rules seriously? Are you enforcing the rules that you have established and are you willing to discipline those who violate your own protocols? If you are committed to finding and fixing safety issues, then using machine learning and tools to take your safety efforts to a new level can help.
3) Use tech to help control the flow of information. Many utilities are tech savvy, but many also end up with way too much information and no way to consolidate and present the data in a way that helps the decision-makers. How do you make sense of the spaghetti bowl of intertwined data points and systems? A tech approach may be an option. Consider investing in an intelligence system to process data faster, reduce the risks on fixed assets and minimize safety injuries.
4) Why wait until employees raise safety concerns? Ignoring safety issues raised by employees can and will fast-track an OSHA investigation. Buy why wait? A proactive culture of safety and continuous safety improvement can be achieved economically and efficiently. The reality is that low-level safety issues will fall through the cracks (or not be reported or recognized). Be proactive and allow smart technology to help bring disconnected systems and data into one repeatable, consistent reporting model that addresses low-level safety issues and enlightens decision-makers.
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