Experience Brings Results

New wearable tech may improve ergonomics among warehouse workers

In an attempt to improve work safety conditions, many warehouse owners in Oregon and across the U.S. may do nothing more than assert the existing standards without regard to individual employees. It can be difficult to apply a standard when 35% of all workplace injuries are because of poor ergonomic practices.

However, an ergonomics tech company called Soter Analytics offers wearable tech that can give employees specific information to help them safely perform risky tasks. Called SoterSpine, the device is connected to the back of an employee's shirt. It notes every time that the employee bends or shifts position and then determines in real time if the employee is about to make a movement that's hazardous to health or safety.

The tech will beep and vibrate to prevent employees from making those risky movements. At the day's end, employees can learn from the device where they could improve. The device can even offer videos on how to avoid certain injuries.

SoterSpine is meant to be worn as part of a short, 10-to-18-day training program. It can be valuable in the greater context of microlearning, which puts the emphasis on short-term and highly specific training as opposed to classroom training.

Ergonomic injuries, such as lower back injuries caused by heavy lifting, can be covered under workers' compensation benefits. The same goes for ergonomic conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Unlike with a personal injury claim, a workers' compensation claim can be filed regardless of who, if anyone, was at fault. Victims may face opposition from their employers, though, so they may want to discuss their case with a lawyer. Legal counsel could assist with the filing and with any appeals.

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