Can AI Help in the World’s Most Dangerous Jobs? Exploring Tech’s Role in Safety

As technological advancements progress, the potential for AI to enhance workplace safety grows. In some of the world’s most dangerous jobs, AI can be instrumental in reducing risks and creating safer environments. You might be wondering how AI can be applied to high-risk jobs such as hazardous electrical work, life-saving surgeries, and more.

Year after year, AI technology continues to develop and shows increasing capabilities across various fields. With this advancement, businesses can benefit from improved safety across a range of industries, including mining, commercial truck driving, utilities, and even high-risk medical procedures. As AI and robotics improve workplace safety, it promotes not only physical well-being but also efficient business communication among teams.

Key Takeaways

  • AI has the potential to enhance safety in high-risk jobs, promoting well-being and efficiency.
  • Some dangerous fields benefitting from AI technology include mining, utilities, and medical procedures.
  • As AI becomes more advanced, workplace safety across various industries will continue to improve.

1. Mining and Underground Vehicle Operations

In the mining industry, hazards such as air pollution, chemicals, tunnel collapses, and machinery accidents pose significant risks to workers. Miners often face serious health issues, such as pneumoconiosis, caused by exposure to dust and exacerbated by diesel engine exhaust from mining machinery.

Automation, robotics, and underground vehicle operations can significantly reduce these risks by handling high-risk jobs, allowing employees to manage operations from a secure location. Robots can assist in various ways, including automated excavation, self-driving vehicles, and AI safety monitoring technologies.

Autonomous drones, for instance, can be used to monitor air quality and pollution in mining tunnels. Should airborne hazards go beyond acceptable safety limits, you can promptly evacuate. Likewise, self-driving technology can be integrated into mining vehicles to eliminate high-risk manual tasks. Development is underway for autonomous robotic excavators and rock drilling machines, which are perfect examples of innovation geared towards safer mining operations.

2. Commercial Truck Driving

Advancements in self-driving vehicle technology have brought the possibility of driverless trucks closer. Truck driving is considered one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. due to extended periods drivers spend on the road. As a result, they face a higher risk of accidents and often navigate unfavorable conditions.

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Integrating self-driving technology in commercial trucks can significantly decrease driver safety risks. A significant portion of a truck driver’s journey comprises highway driving, with the last few miles being the most intricate. This “last mile” phase typically involves navigating through dense traffic, parking lots, and loading areas.

Soon, AI may be able to automate the majority of road hours, allowing drivers to control the truck only during the last few miles. Consequently, this reduces the risks faced by decreasing the time spent on the road. Several companies, such as TuSimple, are working towards making self-driving trucks a reality. In 2021, TuSimple successfully carried out a fully driverless test drive in their truck program.

Incorporating driverless trucks will also have a positive impact on air quality by managing fuel consumption with efficient route planning. By reducing the number of drivers on the road, it creates a more sustainable and safer transportation industry.

3. Utilities and Energy Maintenance

In the utilities and energy industry, you may face various workplace hazards such as electrification and falls. Although these jobs require high skill and adaptability, making them difficult to automate, AI offers ways to enhance safety for employees in these sectors.

One way AI can improve safety is by using more precise predictive maintenance in utility companies. With AI-powered digital twins, they can closely monitor power grids and accurately predict where and when attention is needed. This allows personnel to focus on specific areas that require the most attention.

Moreover, when inspecting electrical poles, maintenance technicians can utilize LiDAR, photogrammetry, and AI to minimize manual tasks. This technology helps reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by electrical accidents.

AI robots also play a role in utility maintenance. Developments worldwide are geared towards creating robots that can autonomously inspect high-voltage power lines or be remotely controlled. These robots travel along power lines using cameras and sensors to identify issues, while human maintenance technicians can safely assess the data and imagery from the ground, reducing their exposure to hazardous situations.

4. High-Risk Medical Procedures

As a surgeon, you’re constantly managing high-risk scenarios, such as gastrointestinal surgeries, where even the smallest error can have significant consequences for a patient’s well-being. However, technology advancements now offer valuable support in these high-stakes situations.

Robotic assistance has been shown to decrease life-threatening complications in gastrointestinal surgeries to a range of 0%-2%, making an appreciable impact on patient outcomes. Surgical robots, working in tandem with AI, can execute high-precision tasks while opening up possibilities for remote supervision by experts from all over the world.

Furthermore, AI’s ability to analyze large volumes of medical data equips you to predict possible post-operative complications and identify risk factors for your patients. In an environment where every detail matters, the integration of AI and surgical robots into high-risk medical procedures signifies a critical step forward in enhancing the safety and precision of your work.

5. Farming and Agriculture

In agriculture, you often deal with large machinery, animals, and unfavorable weather conditions, which might pose risks to workers. Introducing AI-powered robots can help automate high-risk tasks, improving safety and addressing labor shortages in farming roles.

For instance, students from Monash University in Australia created an AI robot capable of autonomously harvesting apples. By using camera vision, it determines if the apple is ripe and gently picks it with a robotic soft gripper. This process occurs at a rate of one apple every seven seconds, helping to prevent sunburn, heat stroke, and other temperature-related issues by keeping workers out of the sun and heat.

Such technology is not limited to apples, as it can be applied to almost any produce harvesting. Robots can also alleviate pressure on understaffed teams, further reducing the likelihood of injuries and workplace stress. The implementation of AI in agriculture provides a great opportunity to tackle various challenges, from handling chemicals and reducing falls to streamlining packaging and processing. Overall, AI creates safer, more efficient farming processes in the agricultural sector.

AI and Robotics Improve Workplace Safety

You might be concerned about losing your job to a robot, but embracing AI and robotics can actually enhance safety in your workplace. By automating high-risk tasks, robots can help lower the incidents of work-related injuries and illnesses. Such integration of AI systems, like self-driving vehicle technology and robotic soft grippers, allows you and your colleagues to work more comfortably and securely, with reduced health hazards.

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