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Wearable technology could reduce workplace accidents

Pennsylvania construction workers may soon be wearing hard hats with sensors and similar "wearables." The purpose of this type of technology is to improve the safety and health of employees. However, some workers may not be so thrilled about technology that can track their movements because of concerns about too much oversight by watchful employers.

Such technology may reduce workers' compensation claims and keep workers safer, but experts point out that it's also important to gain the trust of employees first before unleashing a slew of high-tech wearables on them. A civil and environmental engineer commenting on this issue notes that workers are more likely to be open to wearable technology if they see that it's primarily for health and safety reasons, not to measure their productivity. Some wearables use devices already in use, like personal gas monitors, and add data monitoring capabilities. In 2017, a security and infrastructure firm began looking at interactions between workers and machines. Also, one job site where wearables were used reported fewer instances of unwanted interactions between humans and machines and vice-versa. One study looked at electroencephalogram (EEG) devices to track employee stress at construction sites while another study determined that wearable biosensors that measure risk perception and other physical factors for construction workers could be a practical possibility.

Based on current assessments, it's predicted that the wearable technology market will significantly expand in the near future. This doesn't mean workplace accidents will be a thing of the past since many factors can contribute to injuries sustained on the job. Typically, the workers' compensation process starts with an employer. However, if a claim is denied, a lawyer may get involved and recommend appropriate legal steps or provide assistance with preparations for an appeal.

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