The future of compliance – a changing landscape powered by Computer Vision

The future of compliance – a changing landscape powered by Computer Vision

How is Computer Vision changing the world?

The information age, the computer age, the digital age; whichever name you choose there can be no doubting that the 21st century has brought a wealth of technological advances to the world. From the internet to cryptocurrency, the word processor to predictive text, the pace of technology growth in the last century has been exponential. Even within the digital age, however, there are some developments moving more rapidly than others – it is estimated that globally AI in Computer Vision by unit will experience a compound annual growth rate of 37.8% in the next 5 years, with the market value for AI in Computer Vision reaching $73.7 Billion[1].

Drone hovering over a field and sprayingOne of the factors contributing to the growth in the Computer Vision industry is how it is increasingly used to enhance existing practices – by empowering machines to see the world and understand it, they can then improve conditions in all manner of industries. A simple example of this is the use of Computer Vision in agriculture, enabling the detection of crop health, monitoring of soil condition and spotting abnormalities much more efficiently and accurately than human monitoring[2].

So, what is Computer Vision?

Computer Vision, by definition, is the act of computers deriving meaning from still images or video sequences. As humans we do this intuitively, building an understanding of the world around us and developing an increased sophistication as we learn to recognise objects from an early age. There are some similarities here with how computers can learn to recognise objects through the use of machine learning models. This is accelerating Computer Vision’s role in helping to solve real world problems – by giving computers the ability to see and understand, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for how they can be used to help us in our day to day lives.

What is the role of Computer Vision in artificial intelligence?

Computer Vision plays a key role in the field of artificial intelligence by providing computers with the ability to interpret and understand visual data from the world around them. This allows artificial intelligence (AI) systems to be trained to understand patterns of behaviours, and make decisions based on the visual information they receive. In this way, Computer Vision is an essential component of many AI systems and is used in a wide range of applications, such as self-driving cars, medical image analysis, and security systems. An example could be where a Computer Vision AI solution recognises a specific hazard, such as a liquid spill, then notifies staff to deploy a wet floor sign and clean up.

Computer Vision initiatives relating to compliance

Blue background with words relating to complianceAs the use of Computer Vision expands, the ways in which it can be deployed to improve health and safety also expand. By removing reliance solely on human interpretation of safety, and additionally marking key areas for monitoring out to a Computer Vision model, businesses can see, understand, react and engage with non-compliance and take action to prevent incident opportunities from arising.

In the US, OSHA non-compliance costs businesses billions of dollars every year, where some of the simplest things that ensure safety and regulation compliance can also be the easiest to overlook. For example, firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers must be conspicuously located, access to all firefighting equipment to be maintained at all times, and equipment should be inspected periodically with defective equipment immediately replaced[3]. Should an extinguisher be obstructed or missing from its designated location the onus is on the business to immediately rectify this or risk fines should an inspection take place, or danger to life and invalidation of their insurance should an incident happen.

What are the 3 parts of an exit route?

Another important, but sometimes overlooked aspect of continuous fire safety are the emergency exit routes. OSHA defines an emergency exit route as a “continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety”[4]. Exit routes are made up of three parts, with each being treated with high importance; the exit access – the pathway leading to an exit, the exit route – a defined and usually separate area providing a protected way to reach the exit discharge – the part of the exit route leading directly outside or to an open space with access to the outside.

Within the regulations for emergency exit routes, there are a host of regulations for each individual part of the exit route, some examples include exit access width, clear line-of-sight to an exit sign at all points of an exit access, ensuring exit routes are unobstructed, exit discharges should remain closed and objects projecting into an exit not reducing the regulated width of the exit discharge.[5] As the regulations then differ for different floors, building structure and number of employees, it can be difficult for businesses to ensure they are continuously compliant, and despite the best efforts to ensure a safe working environment simple actions such as placing stock in a designated exit route can cost businesses thousands of dollars as well as jeopardising the safety of employees and patrons.

Who does OSHA put the greatest responsibility on?

Employers bear the greatest responsibility for OSHA compliance; they must provide a workplace that is free from serious hazards, follow OSHA standards and to find and correct health and safety problems.[6] Creating a detailed risk assessment is the first stage of ensuring they are acting on this responsibility, and then set out the mitigating actions for known risks.

Businesses then need all employees to follow procedures developed from the risk assessments and to adhere to regulations set out state to state, region to region. For the business this can be difficult to maintain – with stores in different regions under different regulations, high employee turnover, and employee underestimation of risk, the struggle to remain compliant is ever-present.

Man with trolley moving boxes aroundAn example of this could be excess stock deliveries in advance of the holiday season. A store may have 20 employees, 5-10 might be new to the store or company and are tasked with unloading stock from the delivery vehicle into the storage areas.

With a need to prove themselves, and a lack of understanding around OSHA compliance, the employees may see an open space and fill it with stock. This open space is actually a fire safety regulation for safety around electrical panels – 29 CFR 1910.303(g) “For equipment operating at 600 volts, nominal or less to ground, electrical panels must have a minimum of three feet of clearance in front of the panel and a minimum clearance width of 2.5 feet or the width of the equipment, whichever is greater”[7].

For an employee aware of the regulations they may underestimate how much space this requires, for an employee unaware of the regulation and the impacts this can have for businesses, this clear space may be the prime spot for unloading stock. This regulation is for the safety of everyone, ensuring access to the breakers should there be a need to turn off the power, but this may not be immediately clear to an employee trying to ensure they complete their tasks. An unexpected visit from an OSHA inspector could cost that business $14,502 – if the store has a violation recorded in a different store that fine could be $145,027. According to OCWR, electrical hazards are amongst the most common safety hazards found during inspections.

How does Computer Vision help businesses?

Computer Vision AI offers a never-before-possible view of the world, and as a result, an unparalleled opportunity to take strong preventative action for loss-generating areas of businesses.

By harnessing infrastructure already in place, businesses are simply a button press away from seeing problematic areas of their estate and taking action. In partnership with Ocucon, the SeeWare platform powers a suite of health & safety solutions, including SpillDetect® and HazardDetect® – a revolutionary approach to continuous compliance with health & safety legislation by utilising Computer Vision AI technology.

HazardDetect® enables round-the-clock compliance monitoring for emergency pathways, electrical panels, extinguishers and exit doors. By mapping and protecting these zones businesses take pre-emptive action to ensure that they are not creating opportunities for their employees to cause violations. This approach ensures that alerts are sent directly via the in-store comms to employees to take immediate action, with managers having full visibility of non-compliance events and how quickly these are resolved following notifications.

By deploying Computer Vision in this way, businesses benefit from an unparalleled ROI with savings in fines and business insurance, from risk reductions across the business and ensured safe access to electrical panels, exit routes, extinguishers in the event of a fire increasing the safety of all using the premises.


[1] AI in Computer Vision Market 2022-2027

[2] Top 5 Computer Vision Use Cases in Agriculture

[3] OSHA – 1926.150 – Fire Protection

[4] OSHA – Emergency Exit Routes

[5] OSHA – Emergency Exit Routes

[6] OSHA – Workers Rights

[7] OCWR – Fast Facts: Electrical Panels