The Latest Tech Improving Workplace Health And Safety

Updated on April 9, 2021 | by James Stone

In the United States, an employee is injured every seven seconds while working, which totals 4.7 million injured workers every year. Moreover, investing in health and safety improvements can save businesses $4-6 for every $1 spent by boosting productivity and employee morale, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports. New advancements in technology are now helping businesses to improve workplace health and safety, and therefore reduce employee injuries, absences, and sick leave. With cutting-edge health and safety tech, employees are also more engaged and productive, which ultimately helps business owners to boost their bottom line.

Posture Improving Devices

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one the largest workplace health and safety concerns in the United States. In fact, there are roughly 388,060 MSD cases every year on average, which account for as much as 34% of all injury and illness cases. In turn, this results in a significant proportion of occupational morbidity, lost workdays, and associated expenses. MSDs in employees are commonly linked to repetitive tasks, including, lifting, carrying, and handling. Employees who experience a workplace injury on the job like an MSD may also be left with medical expenses and lost wages if they have to take time off to recover. In these cases, a work injury lawyer can help injured employees pursue financial compensation to help them move on with their lives.

Fortunately, new technological solutions are also helping decrease injuries and MSD cases. For example, 8sense is creating sensors that attach to clothing or chairs to collect data on movement and posture in office environments. Employees are then provided with virtual coaching on ways to prevent back pain. Additionally, Matvisio has created software that recognizes bad posture in employees in real-time. As a result, employees can adjust and improve their posture to avoid injuries. Similarly, Laevo has created a lightweight passive exoskeleton that helps workers to avoid injury when performing repetitive and challenging physical tasks. 

AR and VR Safety Training 

Traditional safety training is performed via a combination of classroom exercises and computer modules and testing. However, these methods have been criticized as being ineffective, as they don’t create a realistic environment for employees. Poor retention and lack of engagement are also cited as issues. But, now, AR and VR technologies are improving safety training by providing employees with practical and immersive experiences without the physical risks. For example, Lenovo recently launched ThinkReality, an AR/VR headset, which enables companies to train their employees more effectively. Additionally, NxtBase provides an assisted reality solution to help employees perform tasks to the correct safety standards in real-time. Strivr also provides businesses with the power to create their own VR training programs for their employees.

With VR safety training, employees are better able to engage with the course content. As a result, they’re left better prepared when exposed to real potentially dangerous situations, which ultimately decreases the risk of accidents and injuries. AR/VR-based immersive learning ensures better safety practices across all jobs, but particularly those that are high risks, such as vehicle manufacturers, construction workers, and airport personnel. Additionally, improving safety training with this tech ensures that training is more accessible and scalable; employees can be given new opportunities to learn on an ongoing basis, rather than being given the standard periodic refreshers. 

Employee Wellness Tech

The workplace wellness market is set to be worth $74 billion globally by 2026. New technology can provide employers with effective ways to promote good mental and physical health in the workplace and avoid burnout. For example, startup Unmind has created an online platform designed to improve employee mental health. On the platform, managers can monitor their employees online for stress and anxiety levels and provide ways to help improve their mental wellbeing rather than make the situation worse. Additionally, PsycApps has gamified mental health with the aim of helping managers and employees to better understand their own mental health, strengthen communication skills, and boost overall awareness of mental health issues.

When it comes to physical health in the workplace, Padoa makes software and smart devices that monitor vital employee health stats like BMI, blood pressure, hearing, and vision. Similarly, Smartfuture has devised health kiosks to install in the workplace; these allow employees to monitor health stats like glucose levels, blood pressure, and electrocardiography data. The kiosks also give personalized fitness and nutrition advice. And, since taking the time to relax and unwind is important for both mental and physical health, Capsix has developed a robotic arm that gives personalized massages. In fact, the arm can adapt to the unique morphology of each individual worker to provide them with ultimate relaxation.

Excellent workplace health and safety is essential for reducing employee injuries and absences and boosting engagement and productivity. With multiple exciting new advancements in technology, business owners can now better protect their employees and their bottom line. 

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