How Wearable Technology is Increasing Workplace Safety

How Wearable Technology is Increasing Workplace Safety

11 Oct. 19
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While we have mostly seen wearable technology in the form of fitness trackers and smartwatches, the technology covers a broad spectrum of device types and purposes. For instance, they can be found within accessories like eyewear or they can be integrated into clothing pieces to monitor an individual’s vitals. Wearables can perform basic computing tasks, or they can provide sophisticated tracking metrics on heart rate, fatigue, calories burned, and stress. The impact that wearable technology is having is powerful and extensive, bringing new untapped opportunities across several industries including workplace safety.

What Is Considered Wearable Tech in workplace?

When we look at work wear, we see plenty of personal safety equipment in hard hats, safety glasses, flame retardant vests, and high visibility gear. But when we look at how wearable technology can improve these items, we see safety glasses with a heads-up display, hard hats with sensors, and high-visibility gear with wearable technology threaded throughout that monitors things like cortisol levels and tiredness. What this does is take personal equipment that the employee is responsible for wearing and utilizing and turning it into personal safety equipment that watches out for the employee. Essentially, it allows for there to be more visibility on the employees, as professionals can track the data and send for help if it is needed.

What Are Some Use Case Examples of Wearables Being Used for Safety?

  • Personal Gas Monitors.Wearable technology can be placed inside these gas monitors and data can be sent over the network to another party who can monitor the information that the gas monitor is collecting. This can help protect the individual wearing the gas monitor as the other party who can read the data, can warn the individual if they are in danger based on the data being sent back and forth.
  • Radio-Frequency Identification + Machines.Another use is with workers who are at construction sites or are inside mines, as wearable technology can be used to monitor the interaction between radio frequency identification (RFID) on employees and the interactions they have with machines (equipment). Essentially, an RFID chip with wearable technology is inserted into an individual’s hard hat or on their vest and it measures how often and how close a worker gets within a certain number of feet to equipment. This data can be used to determine if there are “near misses” between employees and equipment. This ends up helping the company create a hazard analysis, get a baseline between interactions, and then manage unwanted human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions.
  • Using Wearable Tech on Construction Sites for Fatigue. Wristband-type biosensors can be used to measure an employee’s stress, risk perception, physical demands, and fatigue. This is measured through how one’s head moves up and down, whether their eyes close and for how long, and how straight they walk. If data comes back and it states that a worker is fatigued, they can be pulled off the construction site and told to rest, preventing any serious risk to all employees on the site.
  • Wearables Can Provide Risk Assessment for Musculoskeletal Disorders. Those who do manual work or those who sit for long hours at their job are at a higher risk for musculoskeletal disorders due to poor posture and tough working conditions. Wearables can provide a way to measure risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders and create ergonomic checklists to help individuals who are at risk.

The only current problem associated with wearable technology in the workplace is related to privacy concerns. Employees are less likely to take to the idea if they believe that their productivity levels are being monitored or that their personal data will be used in other non-consented ways. The key with this is for companies to be transparent about how the data will be used, offer employees the ability to opt out of using wearables, and provide a self-assessment program so that workers can see how the wearables are helping them.

Looking for increasing workplace safety with using wearable technology? Feel Free to Contact Us now.  Our expert team of wearable app developers and consultants provide expert wearable solutions worldwide.

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Lets Nurture
Posted by Lets Nurture

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