The Current State of Wearable Technology in Workers’ Compensation
Engaging wearable technology in risk management programs empowers both employers and employees to take control of work site safety. This session at the 2017 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference presented by Thomas Ryan of Willis Towers Watson, Michael Skorup of dosaVi USA, and Todd Dreby of Randstad USA discussed the current capabilities of wearable technology and the benefits they may provide in being proactive in preventing workplace injury.
The technology is rapidly advancing; more discreet/less cumbersome devices are being developed and improvements in sensor accuracy and data security are constantly evolving to broaden application opportunities. Wearables feature devices with biometric screening and motion, direction, and rotation sensors, microprocessors that are collecting data, and transmitters that are routing live data for analysis. These features allow employers and employees to identify root causes of injuries, presenting opportunities for best practice improvements and safety updates to work sites and equipment to prevent future occurrences. They are also tools that encourage employees to be mindful about their ergonomic behaviors and work site surroundings.
While proactively addressing safe execution of daily tasks will be instrumental in injury prevention, wearables also have an important role in post injury compensability assessment and in return to work programs. Wearables support full communication between employees, employers, and their medical providers and identify compliance or non-compliance with recovery and disability management programs.
Leveraging and securing the data will both be critical in successful execution of the program in support of the bottom line. It is important to be transparent with the data collected and educating all stakeholders on how the data improves working behavior and enhances the safety culture overall. Dedicating resources to data ownership and security will be imperative for all employers engaging wearable technology. Defining who owns the data, how it is being used and distributed, and securing all transmission and storage applications is a critical part of program implementation.
Adding wearable technology to your risk assessment program can provide valuable insight that can translate to tangible solutions to improve safety culture.