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Workplace Safety Technology Providers We Talked With

While workers compensation insurers often tout the importance of workplace safety technology to reduce worker injuries, many employers may be unaware of such technologies, their availability or their potential benefits. Technology is rapidly changing the way businesses operate, and workplace safety is no exception. Advances in hazard detection, personal protective equipment (PPE), remote monitoring systems and training methods are just some of the areas where technology is making it easier to prevent workplace accidents and injuries.

All of the technology providers we interviewed mentioned their motivation to create their products stemmed from a desire to help prevent workplace injuries. Some had first-hand experience with family members suffering from injury and/or saw a lack of focus by workers’ compensation professionals on prevention.

Our interviewees focused on a wide range of products, including hazard detection sensors and software, wearables for tracking employee location, virtual reality training programs to simulate hazardous scenarios, remote monitoring systems and automation through robotics. They also discussed the need for employee and employer support to ensure adoption of the technologies.

Most of the safety technology providers we spoke to focused their efforts on workers who are exposed to a high level of risk for injury, such as manufacturing and warehousing. Several shared examples of reduced worker injuries and workers’ compensation claims due to their technologies. One provider, for example, uses a combination of sensor and artificial intelligence technology to identify when workers are not wearing their hard hats or safety glasses. It can even detect whether they are carrying a heavy load or are using dangerous chemicals.

Some of the most promising technologies are those that track and monitor a worker’s well-being, such as fatigue monitoring and ergonomics tools. Some of these technologies have already been used by companies such as Walmart and other retailers for employees in their distribution centers. For example, the company’s use of a system that measures a worker’s posture to ensure they are standing upright has been associated with a 68% reduction in musculoskeletal injuries.

Many of the safety technologies we spoke to can be easily integrated into existing business processes. For example, a hazard detection sensor can detect gas leaks or temperature fluctuations, which is an easy and cost-effective way to improve safety for employees. In addition, smart PPE can monitor a worker’s stress levels and fatigue, and can help to ensure they are following safety protocol.

Many of the technology providers we talked to indicated that they are working with insurance carriers to make their products available to insured workers. They often offer their products at a discount or provide them complimentary with a workers’ compensation policy. Some are also aiming to bring their products to small and mid-sized employers, particularly those with 50 or more employees or a $50,000+ annual premium in workers’ compensation. They also envision their technologies being combinable, providing a more holistic approach to workplace safety. They are also exploring a future that includes customizable products, expanded use of AI and real-time/instantaneous feedback.

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