Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

Futuristic wearables might keep you out of the hospital

If you are a construction worker in Pennsylvania, you might be skeptical about the prospect of working in an environment in which your employer can track your every move, and even watch you doing your job from a remote location. However, construction wearables aim to prevent injuries and fatalities and not to intrude. Embracing advanced technology will significantly increase your chances of returning home safely after each shift.

The wearable devices have built-in futuristic features that collect data about your activities, biometric conditions and environment before analyzing it to detect hazards. It can keep your employer informed about your safety and warn you when it is at risk.

How can wearables protect you?

They consist of sensors, electronics and computers that collect relevant data and analyze it, protecting you in the following ways:

  • Emergencies: In the event of an emergency, your wearable device will alert medical personnel and lead rescue workers to your location.
  • Alarms: Vibration or audible alarms will warn you of dangers like the approach of mobile equipment or being close to a leading edge.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion: The device will sense your level of exhaustion, and warn you when it becomes a safety risk.
  • Physical movement: The sensor can analyze your movements and warn you if your bending, reaching, twisting and lifting movements pose musculoskeletal injury threats.
  • Durability and strength: Specific wearables can alleviate skeletal joint and muscle stress.

How would you wear the sensors?

The following deployment configurations can make the wearables easy to wear and unobtrusive:

  • Clip-on: You can attach these sensors to your belt, vest or shirt.
  • Footwear: Sensors can be in your insoles or embedded in the soles of your shoes.
  • Attachments: You can attach sensors to your personal protective equipment, safety glasses or your hardhat.
  • Edge computers: A wristband can contain an edge computer to gather and analyze data.

The data collected by the sensors will not only protect you, but also provide valuable information to assist with improving overall safety levels on the construction site.

What are the different types of wearables?

The following examples of wearables form part of current pilot programs:

  • Sensing wearables: Badges, gyroscopes, biosensors and actuators sense and evaluate your location and the environment, and record your motions, impact, vital signs, temperature and blood gases. It will then interpret the gathered data and provide actionable information.
  • Visual wearablesThey are optical aids to put on your hardhat, visor or glasses, and they produce images to allow others in a remote location to share your visuals simultaneously. It is of particular value for training, troubleshooting and problem solving.
  • Tactile wearablesThis device serves as an exoskeleton to enhance your strength and endurance. The device will monitor the force of your movements on your muscular-skeletal frame to protect you from potential back injuries and other sprains and strains.

While you and many other construction workers in Pennsylvania may be awaiting the futuristic wearables with anticipation, you will continue to be exposed to the typical hazards of the industry. If you become a victim of work-related injuries, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you to obtain benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, among other applicable benefits.

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