Artificial Intelligence to Monitor Workers’ Movements

November 13, 2018

A few years ago, major tech companies were working on introducing wearable devices into the mainstream. Businesses recognized that wearable technology could provide numerous benefits for the workplace, including:
  • Providing reward-based programs that encourage employees to make healthy decisions, thereby reducing health care costs
  • Eliminating the need for larger technological devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones
  • Monitoring physical movement to evaluate worker health and efficiency

Industrial and Warehouse Workplace Injuries

Industrial and warehouse workers are at high risk of certain workplace accidents due to the dangerous nature of their jobs. Workers in these industries may suffer catastrophic injuries from many potential hazards, including heavy machinery, explosions, electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, and toxic chemical exposure. Many of these accidents and fatalities can be prevented by following safety procedures and best practices. Wearable technology will help to reduce workplace injuries, especially those caused by body positioning or movement.

According to OSHA, lifting heavy objects is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. Many of these heavy lifting injuries occur because workers are bending, reaching, or carrying loads unevenly. Wearable technology can help detect awkward postures and other incorrect forms of lifting, bending, or twisting that often leads to musculoskeletal injuries, one of the most common among industrial and warehouse workers.

REFLEX Device

The One Million Metrics Corporation (OMMC) has created a wearable device called REFLEX, specifically designed for factory and warehouse workers. Noting that these types of workers have been left out of consideration by makers of wearable technology in the past, the co-founder of OMMC is hopeful that the new device will reduce accidents in these notoriously hazardous industries.

The device attaches to workers’ belt loops and detects unsafe body positioning or movement using sensors and artificial intelligence. If a person bends over too quickly or twists incorrectly, the device will vibrate and alert the worker. Among the musculoskeletal injuries suffered by industrial and warehouse workers, back injuries are by far the most common, accounting for 38.5 percent of missed work days due to musculoskeletal disorders, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

There were several prototypes of the device, including one that was integrated into a supportive back brace and another that had chest straps, before this pager-sized device was finally introduced. The current version also has a display screen on the device and does not require Bluetooth-pairing, making it unnecessary for workers to download the work app on their personal phones or take the device home with them at the end of the work day.

Concerns About the New Technology

Creators of the REFLEX device express concerns regarding the potential for privacy violations. Employers could theoretically use the device to collect data for disciplinary action or to fire workers who are most likely to get injured and cost the company money through workers’ compensation actions. Considering this potential for misuse, the creators encourage companies to only use the devices for health and safety purposes and to be upfront with workers when explaining how the device works and how the resulting data will be used.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Injured Industrial and Warehouse Workers

If you sustained an injury at work, contact an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. For a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW for a free consultation.

Conveniently located in Philadelphia, we represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberthNorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester, and Wynnewood.

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