Technology at the North PolePosted on by
Even modern images of Santa’s toy shop depict elves carving wooden toys and creating loveable stuffed animals. This got us thinking. Where are all the hot new toys made? After all, electronics are among the most requested gifts this holiday season. Does Santa have a secret manufacturing facility? Surely, he is looking out for the elves’ safety and health. Perhaps Santa has used the NIOSH nanotechnology topic page to ensure the elves are properly protected when working with nanomaterials when creating the latest tech gadgets. Maybe he is one of the pioneers using predictive analysis to reduce risk and algorithms and workforce management apps in a way that gives the elves more opportunity to use their talents and try new kinds of work.
How tech savvy is the North Pole? Has Santa’s workshop starting using robots for some of the more tedious tasks? Robots could also help with the more dangerous jobs but how will they fit in at the North Pole working side by side with the elves? This is just the sort of thing the new NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research can evaluate.
From robots to reindeer. Do you think the reindeer are worried about their job security with the increased use of autonomous vehicles? Not to mention drones. If drones delivered the packages, Santa and the reindeer could remotely control deliveries while curled up by the fire. To be safe, you might still want to put out the milk and cookies.
If Santa is still delivering the toys, hauling those large bags must take a toll on his back. An exoskeleton might help reduce some of the strain. If that’s not an option, the NIOSH NLE Calc app can help Santa quickly calculate manual lifting risks as they occur. Other NIOSH apps could also prove useful. If a ladder is needed, either on a rooftop or at the North Pole to string lights or place a star, the NIOSH Ladder Safety app is a must. The NIOSH sound level meter app can measure the sound of tools in the workshop or the roar of the wind as the sleigh speeds though the night.
Now let’s get to the sleigh. If Santa upgraded his sleigh with the latest safety technology, research shows that advanced vehicle safety features can be daunting at first for older drives like Santa. The NIOSH blogs How Employers Can Keep Older Drivers Safe at Work and How to Make Safer, More Knowledgeable Drivers—On and Off the Job explain safety features such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control for of drivers of all ages. NIOSH also offers computer-based training on fatigue management for pilots which could come in handy for someone covering the globe in one evening.
Finally, that trailing naughty and nice list could be converted to a database viewed on wearable technology—more convenient and environmentally friendly as well!
During the holidays we appreciate nostalgia and tradition. Maybe Santa’s tried and true systems are working just fine for him and the elves. But as new technologies are implemented in workplaces across the world, they may even have a role at the North Pole. NIOSH research on emerging technologies helps to protect the health and safety of workers in the 21st century and ensure that these new technologies don’t create new risks for workers. We are happy to share our research with Santa should he choose to modernize his work practices.
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!
Read our past holiday blogs to see how NIOSH might help Santa with other potential workplace safety and health issues at the North Pole.