Local start-up uses AI and cameras to detect violations to improve workplace safety

Invigilo Technologies founder Vishnu Saran said the AI system's aim is to increase safety awareness and correct safety lapses. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - A local start-up is exploring ways in which video analytic tools may be used to improve workplace safety and prevent accidents on site.

Invigilo Technologies employs cameras and a proprietary Safekey software to alert users to safety violations.

The firm showed how the artificial intelligence (AI) system works in a live demonstration on Monday (June 6) for President Halimah Yacob at its Ayer Rajah Crescent office.

When an employee put on a helmet and safety vest in front of a camera, a label appeared on-screen to indicate they were being used.

But when the helmet was removed, the software sent out a safety violation alert.

"Our aim is to increase safety awareness and correct safety lapses," said the firm's 28-year-old chief executive Vishnu Saran.

"A thousand near misses happen before an accident does, so we want to identify these thousand near-misses to prevent accidents," added Mr Vishnu.

President Halimah praised Invigilo Technologies for improving workplace safety through innovative safety solutions and behaviour-based technologies.

"Companies have a responsibility to keep workers safe. I hope that more companies will harness effective solutions to prevent workplace accidents and ensure a safer workplace for all," she added in a Facebook post.

Last month, companies in Singapore imposed a two-week safety timeout after 10 workplace fatalities were reported in April.

To date, there have been 24 workplace deaths this year - the highest number of fatalities for the same period since 2016.

Mr Vishnu, who is the firm's founder, said the system is able to detect workers' usage of personal protective equipment, such as helmets and safety vests, as well as their proximity to heavy machinery.

The software analyses images captured by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras of workers, objects and machinery.

When a safety violation occurs, real-time alerts are sent to the on-site safety management team.

The video analytics solutions are already being put to use by several organisations in the construction and manufacturing sector, including JTC and the Housing Board.

The firm is currently developing portable AI cameras which can be positioned in various locations across workplaces, enabling for greater flexibility when analysing safety lapses.

Mr Vishnu said the use of AI would allow for a more complete understanding of how workers go about their tasks, including whether they flout safety rules.

"I've had relatives and friends who have suffered from serious injuries working in heavy industries (overseas), and I saw the potential for technology to help," said the Singaporean, whose family moved here from India when he was seven.

"Safety is very meaningful to me and I wanted to do something about it."

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