Embracing AI and technological disruption

Why safety leaders 'can't be doing the same s*** that we used to'

Embracing AI and technological disruption

The safety profession is “flat” according to Jeremy Mollet, who says it’s time for a technological revolution.

“Fatalities have flattened off to the point where we're still killing the same number of people every year. We need to figure out what the change is, and my message is we need social or technological disruption…it can't be doing the same s*** that we used to do.”

Mollet is the director of safety health and environment - government, emergency and analytics with Nutrien, a multi billion-dollar fertilizer company based out of Saskatchewan. He says artificial intelligence is the future of advanced analytics, and says anecdotally, only about half of the safety leaders he encounters on a regular basis are willing to embrace new technology.

“Others are interested in doing things the way they were done previously because they've had experience and they're comfortable with it,” explains Mollet, “and they’ve seen results from doing something traditional.”

But when Mollet speaks at the Safety Innovation Summit on June 21, he will try to convince his audience that just because something has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.

“A lot of the safety information…is still looking at lagging indicators that came out of the 1950s that OSHA set as a benchmark because they didn't have anything else,” explains Mollet, who suggests using those same standards today is antiquated. “We're not real progressive about trying to figure out leading indicators and trying to move things into a new paradigm… people just rely on what's been in place forever.”

Mollet says, regardless of industry, one of the most difficult challenges for any safety leader is identifying which sets of data matter and can be acted upon to make improvements. He offers an example, suggesting if an organization is using 25 different control methods, maybe only five of those are contributing to harm reduction. “We need to find those five things and actually say, okay, these are the things that we need to focus on.”

How does a safety leader do that? You need to collect all that big data and filter it down, according to Mollet, which he says simply isn’t possible for humans to do alone. “For me to do it would take forever, for a team of people to do it will take forever, and it's not efficient, we need to use technology.”

The technology is advancing at an exponential rate and if organizations don’t at least begin to embrace it now, they will be left behind, according to Mollet. “It’s fast, and if we're going to stay relevant as a profession… we've got to be able to grow, but also be agile, and flexible.”

Mollet will be joined by Jennifer Hodge, supervisor HSE support systems at Michels Canada, for a panel discussion called ‘Maximizing the value of safety data: role of data analytics and technology’. Whether you agree or disagree with Mollet, participate and make your voice heard by registering for the Safety Innovation Summit today.