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Wearable tech has workplace safety applications

Connected technology created by the Internet of Things has emerged as an important tool to help workers prevent injuries or get help when accidents happen. Many workers in New Jersey operate alone, and small wearable tags, such as a Wearsafe tag, can give workers an easy one-touch way to contact an employer or emergency contact if they feel threatened or get hurt. A device like this can provide a person's location and allow for group chat.

Other companies have developed worker applications that can be used on smartphones. Employers can use the geolocalization technology loaded in the smartphone to customize settings for workers' specific safety concerns. Wearable technology connected through the internet can also collect data about a worker's actions and environment. Employers could monitor this data to gain insights about worker behavior and potential safety problems. Sensors attached to a worker might alert a person to malfunctioning equipment in a manufacturing setting and potentially prevent an accident.

Technology has also created opportunities for employers to use biofeedback from workers to monitor health and safety. The smart helmet developed by Daqri measures a person's heart rate, blood oxygen level and skin temperature and sends the data to a central monitoring station. The information could alert supervisors to environmental dangers or a worker losing focus.

Although wearable technology could improve workplace safety, employers still have an obligation to address safety hazards, train workers to use equipment properly and provide workers compensation benefits to those who suffer a work-related injury. At times, a person might encounter barriers to benefits if an employer or insurer wants to limit a settlement. Legal representation may inform a person about their rights to coverage. An attorney may prepare an insurance claim and even a file a lawsuit to challenge a denial from an insurance company.

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