Industrial safety wearables exist in a unique space due to industry’s controlled environments where employees are more likely to comply with technology requirements. Casual athletes, discharged hospital patients, students, and even adults concerned about their health are less compelled to adhere to program requirements than factory floor workers who could otherwise be out of work. We have written about a wide range of wearable tech developed to increase workplace safety, from smart hard hats to garments that antibacterial textiles for hospital workers and patients.
Last year we wrote about StrongArm Tech’s ErgoSkeleton that helps train workers and reminds them to follow recommended practices. The system can even augment their muscles and bones by redistributing lifting forces from their hands, arms, and lower back to their legs and core muscles. StrongArm‘s new Fuse Platform doesn’t do any heavy lifting with objects, just data. Fuse starts with wearable IoT sensors carried in shoulder holsters worn while people work. These devices monitor worker movements and transmit their data to the cloud where it is processed by a machine-learning algorithm. The Fuse Platform’s overall purpose is a greater understanding of both worker and workplace injury risk factors.
The system uses the data in four ways. Aggregate worker data analysis can help a company discover problem areas or procedures. The system also generates an ergonomic risk metric called a Safety Score for each worker. Based on an individual worker’s Safety Score, the system give workers feedback and suggestions to reduce their chance of injury. A fourth feature is an immediately predictive Safety Intervention Action in which the system notifies appropriate personnel in real time when it discovers unsafe behavior or movement so that the worker can be stopped or assisted.
Beyond the Fuse Platform’s workplace reports, StrongArm uses the collected data points to improve the algorithm’s speed and accuracy.
Constant physical monitoring can be a good idea in industrial settings. The costs of industrial injury are so great that such monitoring systems quickly could prove their value.