Construction work sites remain some of the most dangerous workplaces. It takes vigilance on the part of employers and employees to minimize workplace hazards and reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses. However, with vigilance, a great deal of construction workplace injuries can be avoided.
One tool being looked at to help is a wristband monitor. Technology has advanced significantly in this field. An associate professor at the University of Michigan is researching using sensors in wristband monitors to measure data, such as heart rate, skin temperature, and electrical activity on skin. He is using advance signal processing and machine learning techniques to relate these indicators to potential hazards. The hope is that these devices can help workers monitor their status and avoid things like excessive lifting, poor lifting technique, heat stroke, and more.
Additional research is being done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have developed a Safety++ suite of wearable monitors, which includes jackets that measure and warn workers of dangerous levels of air contaminants or ambient noise levels and shoes that detect when excessively heavy loads are being carried.
Products in the Marketplace
Other countries are also developing workplace-assisting wearable devices. A Dubai-based startup, WakeCap Technologies, has been developing a mesh network of sensors that can be attached to headgear. The sensors can monitor things like sleepiness. Injuries related to inattention can be prevented while using the sensors. A similar device is being developed by SmartCap, an Australia-based company. That system uses a headband and accompanying application to analyze EEG brain waves to determine wakefulness. If a worker is sleepy, the device uses voice and vibration to warn the employee.
Do Wearables Work?
This is a relatively new field and has not been fully integrated into the workplace. A recent study by Dodge Data & Analytics, a private company offering data and analytics to the construction industry, found that only 13 percent of those surveyed use wearable monitors at work. Among the uses, the majority felt that the wearable monitors had a positive impact on their jobsites.
Construction companies and workers, as well as insurance companies, see potential for safety improvements arising from use of wearable monitors. Acceptance of the idea varies as older workers are skeptical and want more specific proof that the monitors will be helpful to them. Younger workers tend to accept they are of value and are willing to wear the monitors.
The University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada is developing artificial intelligence that uses sensor suits to detect and provide immediate feedback on ergonomically beneficial ways to perform skilled trades. The idea is to train workers from the beginning on best practices. This could minimize wear-and-tear injuries from poor positions and posture during work activities.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Construction Worker Safety
If you or someone you know has been injured working at a construction site, contact one of our experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law. Contact us by phone at 215-426-4493 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation. With an office located in Philadelphia, we serve clients from the surrounding areas.