Recent developments in workplace safety tech include applications that support social distancing at work, personal protection equipment (PPE) appropriate for workplaces, and remote vital sign monitoring. London-based Soter Analytics launched the SoterCoach earlier this month. According to a Soter news release, SoterCoach is the first workplace wearable designed to prevent shoulder injuries.

SoterCoach is a two-component solution that consists of a wearable sensor and a mobile app. The wearable detects and monitors eight at-risk movements in real-time to alert the wearer about a hazardous motion. The device uses both audio and haptic alerts so users don’t have to check the mobile app or even have their phones with them. In addition to the real-time notifications, SoterCoach analyzes the worker’s movements during a 10-day training program. Each day the mobile app uses data from the individual’s actions to deliver personalized training and insight into the risks involved.

SoterCoach tracks and reports movements that could result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) including rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement syndrome, biceps tendinitis, and shoulder muscle strains. It even guards against motion that could lead to disorders of the large muscles that stabilize the scapula, including non-specific neck pain and tension neck syndrome.

In addition to wearer alerts and training, SoterCoach links to an organization analytics dashboard with objective information and risk data that enables managers to analyze and reduce workplace risk. SoterCoach’s objective is that an organization will reduce risk by adjusting job tasks, workplace processes, equipment, and training. According to Soter Analytics, SoterCoach implementation takes less than an hour and can produce tangible results following 10 days of use.

From our perspective, implementation is the key to technologies that report alerts to workers, along with sending individual and aggregate data to management. Workers need to wear the SoterCoach device on their upper arm, which some may see as an unnecessary intrusion. If workers accept that the primary purpose of the program is to promote safety and reduce injury, SoterCoach should have greater acceptance by workers than if it is seen as a way to track, monitor, or evaluate user performance.