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Can wearable technology increase worker safety?

You may already use wearable technology to keep track of your daily health and fitness goals. But now employers may be eyeing the technology to help monitor their workers to prevent injuries, and therefore avoid potential workers' compensation claims. 

The  put out a report that detailed the ways in which wearable technology may be of use for employers looking to preserve worker health and reduce workers' compensation costs. According to a study by the Risk Management Society (RIMS), 76% of people would use a device if their doctor recommended it, and 68% if their insurer had recommended it. 

Devices that track activity, for example, can be used to help injured workers adhere to a physical therapy program. Similarly, workers who are at risk for injuries related to prolonged bouts of poor posture—for example, desk workers– could also use wearable technology to monitor when they are lapsing in to bad habits and notify them of the need to exercise correct posture. 

Wearable technology could also track employees' geographic locations. This could be useful for monitoring workers who may enter a dangerous area, alerting employers that the worker could be at risk for injury. The devices could also help locate workers who may already be in danger; for example, trapped mine workers or construction workers in a trench collapse. 

Wearable technology could also include robotic exoskeletons that could help injured or paralyzed workers return to work in some capacity. 

Until these devices are used more widely in the employment realm, it would be difficult to speculate how much of an effect they could have in preventing worker injuries and reducing costs. Certainly technology cannot prevent or address every injury that happens on the job. With or without the benefit of a wearable device, workers who are injured on the job should contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney for legal guidance.

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