Mike Hourigan, Safety Keynote Speaker
AI Won’t Prevent an Accident
As a safety speaker who has been speaking on work place wellbeing for many years, I have a serious fact to relate: AI (artificial intelligence) doesn’t prevent work place accidents. While some workplace safety keynote speakers (not me) undoubtedly use AI to write safety articles, factory safety signage, and for all I know, safety slogans on T-shirts and coffee mugs, 2023 is still lining up to be another year of work place accidents.
AI “thinks,” but not on the factory floor
Whether AI “thinks,” is a matter of great debate but as a workplace safety keynote speaker, I must point out that despite the current love affair with technology, there has not been a decline in serious injuries across the spectrum of industries. Injuries in the work place, from serious falls and slips to burns to horrendous (and avoidable) trucking accidents are relatively flat, year-to-year. Workplace fatalities, be they from avoidable construction accidents to drug and alcohol abuse continue and most unhappily, safety messaging seems to be disconnected from safety reality. Apparently, no one producing AI safety content that is making much of an impression.
In a bandage-type response to these trends, 2023 is seeing OSHA launch a 4-pronged attack: strengthening OSHA enforcement; focusing on high-risk industries and facilities; stressing the need for accident prevention and improving data collection.
As a workplace safety keynote speaker who literally (not theoretically) started his career working in steel mills and tanneries, OSHA’s 2023 response to work place safety does not seem all that different to me than 1993 or earlier. While I am sure OSHA’s bureaucracy will make maximum use of AI, I remain skeptical at how any safety problems will be influenced by yet more government intervention.
While I have no doubt that OSHA boasts many incredible, well-meaning people, there is an important contract missing from these new initiatives that transcends big government and big AI data collection.
The people contract
No AI generated copy, instruction manual or podcast can replace the work place “contract” that can exist between motivated workers, on the job, who care for one another and look out for safety violations. OSHA, of course, should “inspect away,” but at the end-of-the-day, what will get workers home to their families and friends is one another.
It is a statement and a bond that comes from an acknowledgement that workers (from the person attempting to carry a 50-lb box of copy paper on a slippery floor, to the guys working around molten steel) must rely on one another, and need one another.
The contract and bond can only be generated from a place of human values where workers see problems, correct problems and pledge to one another that they are valued. The “rap” against AI generated copy is that it is dull and lacks the emotion to evoke a sense of desire to make impactful change.
More than enough workplaces have suffered because workers don’t care and aren’t committed. As a work place safety keynote speaker, I know that what is needed is more passion for safety and more human connection so that if someone sees something, they say something. AI won’t prevent accidents, but each worker, can.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Mike Hourigan, Safety Keynote Speaker please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.