According to the US Department of Labor, workplace injuries cost an estimated $161.5 billion yearly. In Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) establishments, lost workday injuries are caused mainly by slips, trips, and falls. A study in the United States in 2020 found that falls accounted for 33% of nonfatal injuries, making it the highest cause of preventable workplace nonfatal injuries. Moreover, falls were the third highest cause of preventable fatal workplace injuries at 21%.
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), factors that can lead to workplace injuries include:
Workplace factors – Slippery surface, loose floor coverings, obstructed vision by boxes or containers, poor lighting, lack of maintenance of walking surfaces.
Work organization factors – High working pace that may cause workers to rush, tasks involving handling greasy or liquid materials that may make surfaces slippery.
Individual factors – Age, worker fatigue, and poor eyesight may affect vision and balance, and inappropriate footwear can cause tripping or slipping.
However, most WRT establishments have difficulty ensuring all health and safety protocols are adhered to both by employees and customers. The problem increases in a high-density environment with heavy human traffic. Managers are adopting innovative ways to complement the traditional solutions in the WRT stores.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning (ML) have combined to detect, analyze, alert, and prevent hazards in the workplace. Workplace safety is significantly improved using real-time responses.
Computer vision uses digital inputs from images and videos to derive information meaningful to a computer. The computer then analyzes the information to detect defects.
SeeChange (AI provider) and Keymakr Inc. Inc. (data-annotation service provider) partnered to leverage AI in preventing slips, trips, and falls using existing CCTV cameras in Asda (supermarket chain in the UK) stores. Keymakr’s SaaS platform empowers SeeChange’s SpillDetect tool to detect liquid spills automatically. The system then sends notifications to the staff on the location of the hazard.
According to Michael Abramov, CEO of Keylabs, Keymakr’s Saas platform, “AI can be leveraged to detect accidents as soon as they happen and AI-based smart checkout systems can eliminate the human-error factor. Implementing AI can save buyers and business owners from such dangers.”
Abramov says that AI does not suffer from fatigue and can monitor non-stop. “The position of products on the shelves (and alert of a dangerous positioning) The condition of the floors (and report any incidents (spilled products, products that have fallen off shelves)). That’s not all of it as AI surveillance systems can monitor the entire store, providing insights into customer behaviors and preventing thefts.”
relEYEble solutions offer computer vision services and integrate with existing cameras to detect areas with the highest traffic in the store and monitor access to the premises. This feature helps reduce injuries caused by overcrowding and limited access and exits to a building in case of emergencies.
Fire detection systems traditionally have a response time of 3-5 minutes after detecting a fire. This time may be crucial, especially for large and fast-spreading fires, reducing the firefighting response time. Computer vision can detect fires from about 50m away and give an alert within 10-15 seconds. When connected to a PA system, the system can make an immediate announcement providing the fire’s exact location and the best exit route.
Injuries from manual handling of tasks are reduced through ergonomic training of workers. Optimum movement is sent to the worker to self-correct, paving the way for behavioral change.
One such company offering this solution is Soter Analytics. Soter devices worn on the shoulder, headset, helmet, and/or back monitor the risk of injury in real-time. The gadgets are paired with a mobile application to deliver tailored coaching to a specific worker for a particular task. Studies have shown that hazardous movement is reduced by 30-70%. Managers also have access to the data from the soter devices in real-time. The managers can then use the data to:
Filter hazard risk by task, department, or individual.
Identify priority areas requiring more focus.
According to Coca-Cola KO+0.4% Amatil Limited (CCA), they reduced the risk from manual handling by approximately 35% after using Soter’s SoterCoach and Clip&Go solutions for six months. Mr. Shawn Rush from Giant Eagle stated that the risk from the hazardous movement was reduced by nearly 50% for the team members who participated in the process.
Predictive data and analytics
Predictive analytics uses various data obtained from the organization and analyzes that data to forecast potential scenarios. The data collected and used in analytics include root causes and complaints and suggestions.
HGS Digital solutions collects, analyzes, and runs what-if scenarios to determine reasons for injury and provide corrective action to mitigate the problem. After entering the data into the program, the tool will analyze the information without being programmed.
Case management software
i-Sight is a case management software similar to HGS Digital Solution. Unlike HGS, I-Sight only collects, tracks, and provides comprehensive reports, and you have to use this information to prevent workplace injuries. I- sight tracks and reports incidents such as:
Slips and falls
Managers can use the i-Sight dashboard to monitor incident reports and possible trends to identify high-risk areas or employees that require urgent attention.
The trolley comes with a pre-collision assist to help customers avoid accidents or reduce the effect of a collision. The sensors on the trolley detect people and objects ahead in its path. The self-braking trolley automatically applies the brakes when it detects a potential collision.
Although the trolley is still a prototype in the Ford shop, its application will make run-away trolleys a thing of the past reducing accidents.
Engineers from West Virginia University are developing robots to safeguard workers from workplace hazards. The robots detect risks found on floor surfaces in WRT establishments. Besides providing situational awareness, the robots would provide walkability maps and continually monitor the risks. Unlike other computer vision systems that use existing CCTV cameras in the establishment, the robots would be equipped with in-built cameras to reduce deception from surface appearance. The robots would also drive on the surface to better assess the slip risk.
The development of the robots focuses on three key factors:
Identification and evaluation of holistic risks involving the operation of the robots in the working spaces.
Use of robots in other aspects, such as shopping guides.
Effect of walkability maps and the robots on employees’ injury risk.
With the rise of the gig economy and with many companies adopting flatter, more flexible organizational structures, now is the perfect time to refocus on what good leadership looks like. Because, in our rapidly changing workplaces, leadership will apply to more people than ever before. You may be overseeing a project that requires you to coordinate several team members. Or you may be a gig worker collaborating with other gig workers.
Or you may be occupying a traditional management role. Whatever your job title, this precious ability to bring out the best in people will be a vital part of success.Of course, being a good leader really requires us to polish up multiple skills at once. Here are ten skills that I think are essential for leaders – with a few pointers on how to develop them.
1. Motivating others
The ability to motivate others is all part of inspiring people to be the best they can be. So how can you better motivate others?
· Ensure people know how their role contributes to the company’s vision. That their work matters, basically.
· Be clear on what you need people to do, why, and when. But, importantly, give people the autonomy to accomplish those tasks their way.
· Show your appreciation and celebrate success.
2. Fostering potential
Great leaders look for potential, not performance. Here are three ways to foster potential:
· Don’t fall into the trap of getting people to think and act like you. Encourage them to think and act like them.
· Let people know that it’s okay to fail sometimes. This is all part of inspiring people to take risks, step outside their comfort zone and test new ideas.
· Don’t let people grow complacent. Encourage them to develop their skills and think about the next stage of their career, whatever that may be.
3. Inspiring trust
What makes a leader trustworthy? The following behaviors are a good start:
· Being ethical. This means being honest and transparent, keeping promises, and generally making sure you don’t say one thing and then do another.
· Making your values clear and, of course, living those values.
· Standing up for what you believe in.
4. Taking on and giving up responsibility
Good leaders take on responsibility, but they also know when to let go of responsibility and delegate to others. When doing this, try to:
· Play to the strengths of those around you and allocate responsibility accordingly.
· Ensure people have the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to succeed.
· Decide how you’ll monitor progress without micromanaging. For example, you can agree on how the person will report back to you and how often – as well as the best way for them to raise any questions.
5. Thinking strategically
Strategic thinking requires leaders to take a wider view, so they can solve business problems and make a long-term plan for the future. To enhance your strategic thinking skills:
· Remember the difference between urgent and important. Urgent fire-fighting tasks can suck up a lot of your time and energy, leaving very little bandwidth for those things that are important from a big-picture perspective but not urgent. Constantly remind yourself of your priorities, and manage your time accordingly.
· Use critical thinking to gather data and find solutions to your most pressing strategic questions. For example, “Where will our growth come from in three or five years’ time?”
· Don’t rely on assumptions or gut instincts when answering such questions.
6. Setting goals and expectations for everyone
Setting goals is a great way to drive performance. But have you considered a more dynamic way of setting goals?
· Instead of the traditional, top-down approach (where leadership sets strategic goals, then managers set goals for teams and individuals), you might like to consider the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) approach.
· With OKRs, leadership sets some strategic OKRs for the business, then each team and individual designs their own OKRs that contribute to achieving the company’s strategic OKRs.
· OKRs should be simple and agile. Forget annual goal-setting; OKRs are typically set on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Good leaders are able to give and receive feedback, both positive and negative (or, as I prefer to call it, constructive). When it comes to giving people constructive feedback:
· Don’t put it off. You don’t want to overwhelm someone with a loooong list of everything they’re getting wrong. Instead, have a process in place for regular catchups, where you can chat through progress and give feedback.
· Don’t dilute constructive feedback with praise. While it’s important to regularly give people praise, I wouldn’t do it at the same time as constructive feedback. When you sandwich negative comments with a positive comment on either side, there’s a risk the person may only hear the good stuff.
· Be specific, not emotional. Just treat it as a straightforward conversation, using specific, concrete examples instead of opinions or emotions.
8. Team building
A good leader is a bit like a football manager in that they have to pick strong players who perform different roles and then shape those players into a cohesive unit. As part of this:
· Remember, each person will bring their own unique skills and experiences, be motivated by different things, have different working styles, and so on. Embrace this rather than trying to get everyone to behave the same way.
· Model the behaviors you want to see: connecting as human beings, showing an interest, listening to each other, treating people with respect and dignity, and supporting one another.
· Give feedback and reward a job well done.
If you show up with a negative “this won’t work, that thing sucks, why do we bother” kind of attitude, it’ll soon spread throughout your team. Here’s how to lead from a place of positivity:
· Think carefully about the language you use, verbally and in writing. Use words with positive connotations – turning a “problem” into an “opportunity” being a prime example.
· Celebrate successes, big and small. Highlighting the little wins frequently can be just as impactful as sporadically celebrating the big wins.
· Resist the urge to complain in front of your team. As Tom Hanks says to his band of soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, “Gripes go up, not down. Always up.”
For me, being an authentic leader is a key part of building trust. So as well as being ethical (see earlier), you’ll want to:
· Practice self-awareness. A good leader is aware of their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
· Be open about those weaknesses rather than trying to hide them.
· Bring your whole self to work, as opposed to having one persona for work and one outside of work.
When it comes to investing in brand, startup businesses find themselves in a huge Catch-22 situation. Many startups understand that a powerful brand will be crucial to their long-term success. Especially when entering busy marketplaces, a clear brand proposition, well-executed, is essential to helping customers understand what the startup is bringing that is new, disruptive, and attractive, in a way that intuitively hits all the right notes.
But to get off the ground, and even get into that marketplace in the first place, startups need funding. And that often involves pitching to investors. Here lies the conundrum. Startups are often not branding experts themselves. Bringing in experts feels like an expensive exercise prior to securing funding. So, the temptation for them is to invest minimally (or not at all) in brand, before seeking funding and put the branding budget into the list of items funding will cover…if secured.
But securing funding involves convincing investors of your vision and persuading them to buy into it – literally. This surely is a job for great branding. Joseph Heller would be proud. If you want to secure investment for your brand, the best way is to already have a great brand. When explaining to startups the necessity to invest as high as possible in brand before going into a full funding round, the following five pointers may help:
1. Visions are visual
Your business plan may be rock solid, but going out to pitch is an exercise in selling the dream. And, if potential investors can’t visualize it, they’re unlikely to buy into it.
A strong brand identity at a funding pitch is a powerful way to bring investors into your vision. You’ll allow them to see what you’re about and what your future success looks like, increasing the likelihood they’ll want to come along for the ride.
2. Professional design gives you confidence
Walking into a room of investors can be a daunting experience. Throwing yourself (maybe literally) into a den of dragons is confronting for anyone, so you want to do everything within your powers to set yourself up for success. Any insecurities you have over rushed logos or DIY graphics will reflect in your performance, increasing your chance of disappointment.
Projecting an established and ambitious image through professional branding and design is a guaranteed way to instill yourself with confidence in your business that will radiate through your pitch. And confidence is infectious, so this will give investors assurance in you and your vision and provide them with the confidence they need to part with their cash.
3. Branding is more than aesthetic
Branding is often underestimated or dismissed by non-branding people as purely visual, so you may find yourself wondering how urgent it is to invest in it prior to pitching, when cash flow is tight. However, if you view branding as a purely aesthetic investment, you’re missing a trick and giving your competitors a chance to cut in line.
Your branding is how others perceive your business, and first-round investment is all about perception. By investing in branding before raising investment, you make an authoritative statement about what you stand for, how your vision aligns with your values, what you represent as a business, your corporate image, and what impression you intend to leave on investors.
Bringing this into focus sets you apart in a competitive marketplace and elevates your business to one that leaves its unmistakable mark.
4. You invest in growth, so why not funding?
Every savvy CEO understands the importance of investment to fuel growth, whether that’s in the form of creating a viable product, gaining visibility, or generating sales.
Therefore, why wouldn’t you take the same approach to raise investment? After all, securing capital will support your first-year targets, so if you fail to get the investment you need to get off the ground, you won’t see the growth you want.
5. Align your brand with new products
Of course, raising investment isn’t just for startups.Maybe you’re an established business seeking funding to support the development of a new product or service. If that’s the case, is your branding strong enough to support your new pitch, or is there a disconnect between your existing business and your new vision?
If it’s the latter, investors will sniff this out immediately and lose faith in your vision. Strong branding aligns all of your verticals and ensures your business is memorable and recognizable across all product lines, making your proposition more attractive to investors.
Ben Crabb, co-founder of tech startup Civitas Club, recently invested in branding through our agency, ahead of raising funds. Aimed at providing a way for fan communities to take ownership of sports clubs, Civitas Club is a project-funding, investment, and rewards platform built on the blockchain.
The branding project delivered by us was based on the central message of giving power back to the fans through the formation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). Ben Crabb said: “By creating the first fully fan-led ecosystem on the blockchain, Civitas Club harnesses the power of fans for change in sport.
Leveraging Web 3.0 cryptocurrency solutions, NFTs, metaverse communities, and fan collaboration, Civitas Club empowers everyone to ensure that community ownership in professional team sports becomes the new normal. The branding created by Studio LWD really helps us demonstrate and humanize our offering and has already helped us raise significant funding.”
“It’s remarkable how little men know about menopause,” says Dee Murray. “And that’s strange — because it’s likely to have a far-reaching effect on them, and not just for their romantic relationships, but their relationships with their daughters and colleagues. It’s crucial.”
That’s why Murray, the France-based founder of campaign organization Menopause Experts Group, has created the first training program designed specifically to make men more aware of a still somewhat mysterious and stigmatized biological phenomena which almost every woman will go through.
And, lo, it turns out menopause — put simply, the end of a 12-month-long spell during which a woman has had no period, and won’t have again, marking the end of her child-bearing years — is not all about hot flashes, that butt of many a poor joke. It’s not even the most relevant stage of the whole process: that would be what’s called peri-menopause, or the prior, symptomatic phase that may last up to a decade, typically starting around the age of 50 but which can start while a woman is still well within her forties.
These often misdiagnosed symptoms — running the gamut from itchy skin to a reduction in night vision, from joint pain to tingling extremities, from brain fog and memory loss to depression, a loss of libido, vaginal atrophy and, yes, hot flashes — are all hormonal, connected to a loss of estrogen.
“For a long time women’s health has generally been spoken about only within women’s circles, and I think while women tend to be nurturers, and so know about men’s health, the reverse has not been the case. Men tend to be fixers and get frustrated when there’s no clear solution,” reckons Murray, who suggests that the same furtiveness that long surrounded the topic of menstruation, and before that even pregnancy, still blights open conversation about menopause.
“We can’t blame men for not understanding menopause. It’s surprising how many women I speak to don’t either, how many younger women are unsympathetic towards those in middle age. It’s one of those messy bits of female biology that society prefers to hide away, and especially from men,” she adds.
Indeed, that menopause is still taboo is a product, she argues, not only of ageism, but in part also of vanity: women in a lookist society often refuse to admit they’re peri-menopausal, a particularly challenging thing to accept for some, it’s argued, when their daughters are often simultaneously at the most vital stage in a human lifespan. The impact of this on couples getting along day to day, on their parenting, on their sex life, can be huge. A shared understanding of what’s going on, and the options for response, could save a marriage.
“Men need to understand just how complex, physically but also psychologically, peri-menopause can be for women, and the more info there is about it, targeted at them, the easier it is for them to offer support, to help take away the pressure, to not misunderstand their partner’s mood or behavior,” says Murray, who has also provided menopause training to the diverse likes of the Finastra financial services giant and London’s Metropolitan Police force. “The situation is improving. I’ve been at board meetings with a table of men and when you tell them you’re a menopause educator you suddenly find you’re holding court — because they all know that they need to know.”
There’s a broader pressure to know, too. And it merits a response. Figures internationally are hard to find, but in the U.K. at least, employment tribunals citing menopause have quadrupled since 2018 — a catalogue of bosses having made light of the symptoms, of said symptoms effectively disabling employees. In most countries the law lags far behind a growing awareness of menopause’s potential impact.
“The fact is that the understanding of menopause has an impact on society at large,” argues Dr. Helena McKeown, a menopause specialist and ex-chief officer of the British Medical Association. “It has a big impact on productivity and staff retention. It’s a massive reason for women to leave the workforce, for example. Women don’t often experience all of the symptoms of peri-menopause, but sometimes just enough to stop them working efficiently, which leads to self-doubt, Imposter Syndrome, and so on, and yet employers don’t typically talk about this or address it. That’s no surprise when there’s this unconscious bias against it, and that’s not just among the half of the population that won’t experience it.”
Certainly, McKeown adds, look at the big picture and the discourse around menopause is political, as well. It’s one of a number of women’s health issues not well researched because there are so many variables in different women’s experience of it. “When many of us now live well into our 80s, menopause is something that’s going to happen to a lot of women a little more than half way through their life,” she says. “In terms of its relevance then to our working and home lives, that makes the menopause a societal issue as well, not just a women’s issue.”
It’s only in recent years that men have been encouraged to become much more involved in pregnancy, through the likes of attending antenatal classes and, in some countries at least, winning a right to paid paternity leave. So there’s catch-up to do with men’s understanding of and regard for the effects of menopause. What may shift the balance is, perhaps, a more comprehensive visibility for the changes of middle age, beyond the cliché of the mid-life crisis. As McKeown notes, “talk to some men about menopause and their first reaction is still ‘Well, men experience this too…””
In other words, maybe men would be more appreciative of the impact of menopause if it was framed in the context of their own experience: the typically far less extreme, less commonplace, but even less well-understood andropause, when a drop in testosterone levels can bring similar adverse effects to the male mind and body. But lesson one of understanding menopause is, well, that it’s not all about you.
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