June 25, 2020
Every industrial employer is feeling the crunch right now. Alongside an accelerating rate of coronavirus cases, safety concerns are burgeoning in the workplace. How do managers protect workers in the face of a dangerous health pandemic? How can businesses remain open and productive? How will essential employees feel safe when they clock in for work?
Covid-19 is forcing companies to evolve their workplace safety plans in real time. Faced with new worries and heightened anxieties, employers are turning to wearable tech to tackle their top concerns.
1- Preventing Essential Worker Illness
Covid-19 is highlighting what we’ve long-known – our industrial workforce is the backbone of American industry. Now more than ever, it’s paramount to provide essential workers with practices and tools to keep them safe and healthy.
Although safe distancing is a top-recommended practice, the industrial workplace is faced with unique challenges when it comes to implementing this safeguard. Primarily, it’s difficult to manage the close proximity of large numbers of workers over extended periods of time.
Wearables are proving to be an effective tool for physical distancing in this environment. Workers wearing the devices receive a “proximity alert,” or warning signal, when they come within six feet of each other, helping them to increase their awareness and maintain safe distances. Additionally, the tech helps managers identify areas of congestion, reduce the daily number of close employee contacts, and decrease contact duration.
Companies have reported a 76-93% reduction in close employee contacts in a matter of days from deploying KINETIC wearable technology in their operations. And contact duration has been decreased from minutes to seconds.
2- Avoiding Temporary Shutdown
The prospect of having to temporarily suspend operations is a top concern and carries grave impacts. Unscheduled shutdowns affect not only production and profits, but also employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. As such, employers are implementing safety practices beyond illness prevention to include systems for managing a potential outbreak.
When an employee tests positive for Covid-19, managers must be mindful of local and state requirements to remain operational. While these differ around the country, contract tracing procedures are widely-recognized as integral to an optimized response. Wearable technology streamlines the contact tracing process with fast and accurate reports on interactions between employees.
Workers who may have been exposed to a sick or symptomatic coworker can quickly be identified to reduce the spread of illness. Furthermore, the time-consuming methods of manual contact tracing are eliminated. This speed and accuracy greatly minimizes the risk of closure.
3- Increasing Employee Morale and Productivity
According to a recent poll by Eagle Hill Consulting, 54% of U.S. employees say they are worried about exposure to Covid-19 at their job. The workforce at large is apprehensive to go to work, and employers are wrestling with how to address employee anxiety. Wearable tech empowers workers and operators with enhanced security during a time of uncertainty, allowing everyone to perform their best work every day and return home illness- and injury-free.
Beyond coronavirus-related safety features, select wearable tech solutions command a lasting role in a complete worker safety plan due to their proven ability to reduce injuries and increase productivity for the industrial workforce. Smart devices can detect high-risk postures and provide real-time feedback workers can use to improve their body-mechanics over time.
KINETIC’s wearable product has helped reduce worker injury rates by 60% while increasing productivity by 5%. Furthermore, a 90% decrease in lost workdays has been measured. (link to pre-Covid case studies)
A New Normal in Industrial Workplace Safety
Covid-19 – and possibly other pandemics – may be a reality we have to live with for some time. The wearable technologies that have been transforming industrial workplace safety in recent years can be employed in the fight to keep essential workers safe and productive, and operations open. It appears that wearable devices are becoming part of the “new normal” for industrial workplace safety during this health pandemic, and into the future.
CEO & Cofounder, KINETIC
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