Research Encourages use of Wearable Technology to Reduce Workplace Injury

January 4, 2019
Construction worker on site wearing a hardhat.

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has released a fatigue research report detailing the value of wearable technology in the workplace. The study encouraged employers to monitor worker fatigue levels to reduce injury and increase productivity.

According to ASSP, the study demonstrated how to capture a work’s safety performance and translate the data into personal fatigue levels. The research involved 25 individuals wearing wrist, hip, and ankle sensors while completing tasks performed by manufacturing workers (assembly, stocking, and remaining in a static or flexed position). After working three hour increments, the study showed it is possible to collect safety data without interfering with daily work routines.

“Fatigue is a hidden danger in the workplace, but now we’ve tackled the measurement and modeling of fatigue through wearable sensors, incorporating big data analytics and safety engineering,” Dr. Lora Cavuoto, a contributing researcher at the University of Buffalo, said in a press release.

According to the National Safety Council, fatigue costs employers over $130 billion per year in health-related productivity losses. In addition, a  U.S. company with 1,000 employees can potentially lose more than $1 million per year due to fatigue related injuries, increasing the workload on other employees. This is reported among the construction, manufacturing, warehousing, and truck driving occupations.

“We saw how workers performed the same task in the first hour as compared to the third hour when fatigue became a factor,” said Cavoto. “Wearable technology can uncover precursors to larger problems and help establish safety interventions that may call for scheduled breaks, posture adjustments or vitamin supplements that help the body.”

Source: ASSP