Despite recent decreases in the incidence of workplace injuries as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 3 million nonfatal injuries in private industry in 2014. Of those injuries, more than 900,000 resulted in days off from work with a median work absence of nine days due to the injuries. According to LifeBooster, musculoskeletal injuries in the U.S. represent 33 percent of workplace injuries at a direct cost of $21 billion. Even as the absolute number of injuries lessens slightly, the financial costs are not decreasing.
LifeBooster’s ErgoSenz system tracks, records, and analyzes movement and posture. The system consists of wearable wireless sensors and a cloud-based risk analysis engine. The system looks for early signs of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). For example, the system analyzes improper lifting form, awkward posture, and repetitive movement. The system tracks an entire workforce to build a database for reference and produce reports and guidance to prevent injury.
Designed to lessen MSD injury rates, ErgoSenz data can alert company health and safety professionals to company-wide and individual problems. For example, a routine or action involved in a particular job or task may put workers at risk. The information could serve as a warning and a guide to modification of the task or the processes that increase risk. For the individual worker, ErgoSenz may detect a worker who consistently lifts objects improperly. The system could kick out a report and recommendation to give the worker feedback and help learning to lift in a manner less likely to result in injury.
With the program still in the development stage, LifeBooster is seeking companies to pilot the ErgoSenz system.