Where has 5G been deployed to enhance worker safety?

PLINX is a construction safety system that manages the proximity of workers to hazards. Worcestershire 5G deployed the system over a private, secure and robust network, with the high-bandwidth and ultra-fast speeds inherent to 5G—enabling the system to share 360-degree data in real-time to identify movements on-site. The technology has also proved useful amid Covid-19, encouraging workers to maintain social distancing and providing detailed contact data which can help manufacturing companies reduce the impact of an outbreak. 

Ericsson’s 5G smart factory in Nanjing, China is also using 5G to improve workers’ safety. Misplacement, loss or damage to appliances, such as fire hoses, can have a severe impact on safety while entailing unnecessary costs and a decline in efficiency. The manufacturer has therefore equipped 250 fire hose cabinets with liberation sensors, using IoT to monitor unwanted movements (i.e. accidents, unauthorised relocations, or even theft) of equipment. As a result, key assets now can be located immediately, while manpower needed for paperwork and regular checkups is reduced. 

Ericsson and Audi have successfully tested a robot cell similar to those operating in Audi factories today, but over 5G connectivity—to improve safety in operations. A robot arm was used to build an airbag while a laser curtain protected the open side of the robot cell; the ultra-low latency and reliability of 5G ensured that if a factory worker were to reach into the cell, the robot would stop instantly, preventing accidents. This quick response is not possible through traditional Wi-Fi or previous-generation mobile networks: such machines typically require restrictive wired technology.