Two wearable technologies that make use of data collected in real-time on workers through sensors or environmental data to reduce work-related accidents and risks are ViSafe and UBIQUITOUSWARE solutions. Through the implementation of ViSafe, a grocery store achieved an 87% reduction in lumbar flexion repetitions and a 21% reduction in the required time for a lifting task.
- ViSafe is a wearable movement sensor designed by dorsaVi Ltd to “track, analyze and report on how your employees move through their daily work lives and take the guesswork out of workplace injuries and safety risks.”
- ViSafe was implemented by a major grocery store that wanted to reduce the occurrence of low back injuries resulting from the unloading of milk into display fridges and handling of milk crates.
- In a detailed assessment protocol, two employees were fitted with ViSafe sensors and were assigned to load milk crates into a display fridge manually and then with the aid of a self-supporting hand truck.
- The data captured by the sensors was synchronized with video footage of the task and run through some proprietary algorithms, which provided a precise and unquestionable understanding of the body’s position during the tasks in real-time and real work conditions.
- The results revealed that “the standard way of stacking fridge shelves resulted in 30 repetitions of lumbar flexion greater than 20 degrees, and it took the employees 3.5 minutes to stack the shelves. With the self-supporting hand truck, there were only four repetitions of lumbar flexion greater than 20 degrees, and it took the employees 2.75 minutes to complete the task.”
- This represented an 87% reduction in lumbar flexion repetitions and a 21% reduction in the required time for the task. Further trials by the company across 30 more stores over 12 months resulted in an 88% reduction in low back injury rates.
- The outcome of the experiment allowed the management of the grocery store to move from manual lifting to a self-supporting hand truck, thereby drastically reducing the risk of injury for their workers.
2. UBIQUITOUSWARE solutions
- UBIQUITOUSWARE solutions designed by Fujitsu is a range of solutions made to generate business insights from raw sensor data. UBIQUITOUSWARE is made up of three components: sensors that collect a range of data from users, algorithms that help analyze the collected data, and software for confirming detected events.
- NIPPO Corporation, Japan’s largest road construction company, adopted UBIQUITOUSWARE workplace safety solutions, which included a beacon (BLE locator), for indoor detection and a GPS, for outdoor detection.
- The company was faced with “serious accidents are a common occurrence in the construction industry. Workers cannot always call for help in emergencies and their location cannot always be located in real time.”
- According to NIPPO Corporation, the introduction of Fujitsu’s safety management support solution helped the company to ascertain workers current and precise locations.
- Through the solution, NIPPO Corporation achieved a “detection error of about 3m for locations indoors and partially outdoors, and around 5m outdoors.”
- The company plans to adopt more of such solutions by Fujitsu, such as the use of smartphone apps.