IoT: Reducing Back Injuries and Costs, Improving Productivity

April 18, 2016
Back injuries account for 20 percent of workplace injuries in the United States, UK and Australia and thanks to technology utilizing the Internet of Things and big data, one company was able to find solutions to some of its challenges.

Medical device company dorsaVi Ltd. has released a white paper that examines the impact of workplace back injuries and the efforts of construction company VINCI Construction UK to objectively assess high risk tasks with hard data.

Work-related injuries are a $250 billion problem in the United States, with lower back injuries accounting for nearly 20 percent of workplace injuries across the US, UK and Australia.

More than the economic implications, work-related injuries have a huge personal, social and cultural impact on the workplace, and therefore businesses that improve their workers’ physical safety also improve the overall health and wellbeing of the business itself.

dorsaVi’s white paper presents the latest success story with VINCI Construction UK, which employed ViSafe technology in the workplace to collect real-time data, ultimately proving the efficacy of the EcoSpot mortar board system in reducing workers’ risk of lower back injury.

ViSafe is an innovative wireless sensor technology that tracks and measures how people move in real time. It was worn by bricklayers during their working day on site, with workers using the traditional mortar board and then using the EcoSpot mortar board.

The data from workers at VINCI Construction UK found that the use of the EcoSpot system resulted in:

  • Time spent with back bent over 20 degrees reduced by up to 85 percent.
  • Up to 84 percent reduction in low back muscle activation.
  • Repetition of higher risk movements reduced by up to 70 percent.
  • 17 percent increase in productivity, measured in bricks per minute.

“Most organizations know the importance of effective OH&S practices, yet many struggle to prove the efficacy of one system over another,” said Andrew Ronchi, CEO of dorsaVi.

He added that in the case of VINCI Construction UK, ViSafe allowed an objective comparison between two systems and showed the benefit of one over another. “This kind of data-driven decision making should be at the core of all organisations looking to improve their workers’ health and the health of their business overall,” Ronchi said.

Safety doesn’t always have to come at the cost of profitability – in fact, both safety and productivity can improve simultaneously, as was the case with VINCI Construction UK.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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