Having decided to move from Portugal to Germany to pursue a career in health and safety, Joana understands what it means to move out of your comfort zone.
Here she talks about how a questioning mind, a love of technology and getting buy-in can help improve health and safety.
Q: How important a role can technology play in improving health and safety?
Joana: We can already see how technology is being used to significant effect in industries such as medicine, architecture and even hospitality. So why not explore and capture the enormous potential in safety? Of course, if you love the idea of technology it helps to see its potential. For me, it offers exciting possibilities in the areas of big data and communication. Employing technology to harness health and safety data can help us become more agile in reacting to issues and implementing measures.
In terms of communication, augmented or virtual reality can help people visualise dangers in a more dynamic way that is often lacking in written manuals. This same approach can be used in training. Technology can help facilitate real-time risk assessments or allow workers to consult with experts worldwide while on the job. I think COVID-19 has also helped to open our eyes to technology’s potential to improve sustainability. We have seen how helpful technology has been during the lockdown in allowing us to meet virtually and to ensure health and safety programmes remain on track. But it shouldn’t be something we put back in the box when we eventually return to more normal working conditions. We can still use technology to, for example, help reduce our carbon footprint at times when it is not essential to be physically at a meeting on the other side of the world.