University professors seek to prevent workplace injuries using smartphones

Dive Brief:

  • Employers might soon be able to redesign jobs to prevent workplace injuries using smartphone technology, according to Rob Radwin and Yu Hen Hu, two professors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are heading a team of engineers and scientists to investigate this possibility.
  • Using technology to calculate repetitive motion and other physical work activity might provide data that could allow employers to redesign jobs to eliminate or reduce injuries. Radwin told that the goal is to use smartphones to access that data.
  • The project has support from the Centers for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which gave the researchers a $1.4 million grant; National Institutes of Health; and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Dive Insight:

The Economic Policy Institute says 23,000 workplace injuries occur each day in the U.S., while the cost of workplace injuries and illnesses is an estimated $250 billion annually. U.S. employers pay nearly $1 billion a week alone in direct workers’ compensation costs.

Reducing the number of ill and injured workers — along with the high costs involved — begins with preventing those incidents in the first place, if at all possible. Smartphone technology might help employers do that by redesigning jobs to make them safer.

Fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities also mean greater protection for workers, less accident-reporting and fewer penalties for employers under the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's requirements.

Filed Under: HR Management HR Tech & Analytics
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