Why employers may look to wearable technology to prevent work injuries

Aug 11 2016

From smartwatches to eyeglasses with built-in internet access, the wearable technology field is booming. Indeed, industry experts are predicting that sales of these so-called “wearables” will reach as high as $10 billion per year by 2019.

While the majority of people use their wearables for things like tracking fitness data, checking email or performing other everyday tasks, experts have indicated that recent advancements in the monitoring capabilities of this technology could mean that workplaces actually start deploying them as a means to prevent work injuries.

While this may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, experts have identified several types of wearables that could accomplish this goal:

  • Activity trackers: Activity trackers are essentially the ubiquitous wristbands that people wear to monitor their activity, heart rate, etc. In the context of work injuries, a case manager or physical therapist could conceivably ensure that injured workers were doing their required exercises and, if not, make the necessary adjustments.
  • Location trackers: Location trackers would prove valuable in preventing work injuries as they could serve to alert an employer when an employee has entered a hazardous area or keep track of employees in otherwise dangerous scenarios (demolitions, etc.).
  • Postural devices: Postural devices are actually designed to send workers notice when they are practicing poor ergonomics — slouching, etc. — and remind them to stretch or take a break.

If the idea of wearing any of these devices sounds unappealing, the data surprisingly suggests that you might actually be alone in this feeling.

Indeed, experts point to a recent study by Price Waterhouse Coopers, which determined found that roughly 75 percent of surveyed people indicated that they would wear a tracking device if recommended by a physician and nearly 68 percent would wear one if recommended by an insurance company.

What are your thoughts on the idea of wearables? Would you wear any of the aforementioned devices to help prevent work injuries? If not, would anything change your mind?

If you have suffered a work-related injury, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn about your rights and your options.