How Wearable Technology Could Revolutionize Workplace Safety
An emerging array of wearable electronic devices could revolutionize workplace safety, spare workers from injury, and save companies millions of dollars.
Such devices aim to prevent workplace injuries, either by alerting workers to imminent danger or helping companies take precautions by collecting data that enables managers to identify problem areas.
One technological platform can sense when a worker is getting too close to dangerous machinery or is entering an unsafe area. Other devices can detect unsafe practices, such as improper lifting or bending.
Still other wearable devices being developed include:
- A smartwatch for factory workers that allows them to send alerts or to be notified of dangers.
- Smart vests that could help prevent collisions between forklift drivers and warehouse workers, long a major problem.
- Sensors that monitor the impact from slips and falls.
- A baseball-style cap that uses sensors to monitor cognitive activity. Supervisors can track how tired their drivers are — and take appropriate action — based on data transmitted back to the home office.
Wearable devices can even help detect workers’ compensation fraud. For example, some can measure the impact of a fall, potentially flagging a fraudulent claim and heading off costly litigation.