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Loss Control Insights

The Future of Safety: Wearable Technology

Man wearing a meter in an armband around his left arm mobile view

Sometimes keeping employees safe on the job feels like trying to hit a moving target—you fix one hazard, and a new threat pops up to demand your attention. Dangers may range from keeping line workers safe from equipment failures to protecting those who lift and move large boxes to looking out for workers sitting at a computer all day. Each task has its own set of challenges and safety requirements.

Despite your diligence, the reality is that workers can be–and are–regularly injured on the job. Statistics indicate:

  • 500 workers get injured globally every minute
  • 1,000 workers head to work for their shift and don't return home after the workday
  • $1.2 billion is paid out in the United States each week in workers' compensation claims

What if you were able to predict where the next accident or injury is most likely to occur in your workplace? And even more applicable, wouldn't it be great to have access to information that could help you prevent that accident from ever occurring?

That's where EMC's partnership with MākuSafe (pronounced make you safe) comes in. MākuSafe can help you offer a higher level of safety protection for employees, allowing you to focus on unique risks and hazards at your facility. This system helps protect workers by catching near misses and acting on observations from the front lines.

What Is MākuSafe?

Some wearable devices, such as movement counters and smartwatches, gather personal data and may track workers' locations. Workers may be hesitant and worried that "spy systems" are checking on them–making sure they're doing what they are supposed to do and are where they're supposed to be.

That's not the approach MākuSafe takes. Rather than looking inward at the worker, MākuSafe monitors look outward to sense and gather information about the environment around the worker. The MākuSafe armband collects real-time data on environmental conditions, as well as potentially hazardous human motions like slips and trips. The armband also allows workers to voice report conditions they observed that may need attention.

Between 85% and 90% of near misses aren't reported. This could be because workers don't believe it is important information, they forget about it or they don't want to fill out reams of paperwork. With this in mind, it makes sense to put the reporting on autopilot, allowing workers to carry on with their assigned duties.

How It Works

MākuSafe CEO Gabriel Glynn points to these unique features that work together to provide safety managers with a 360-degree overview of safety and threats including:

  • Environmental Conditions.

    The system detects and transmits features in the environment, including light levels, humidity, temperature, air pressure and air quality. The information is transmitted in real time so that managers are aware of conditions that may be harmful to worker safety.

  • Individualized Environmental Details.

    The system provides details on each worker's microclimate. For example, if the workplace thermostat indicates the temperature is within safe limits, the supervisor won't be concerned for workers' safety. However, when receiving environmental data from all workers on the plant floor, the supervisor may notice that workers farthest from the fans may be experiencing dangerous heat levels. Those workers may need extra water, breaks or other assistance to prevent heat exhaustion.

  • Motion Data.

    An accelerometer collects motion data from workers, and machine learning categorizes whether each motion is potentially hazardous. It then determines if that motion is part of a larger trend. Gabriel says, "Workers' first reaction to a near-miss often is 'Oops, I should be more careful next time,' rather than 'I wonder if this might happen to others?' Over and over after someone experiences an injury we hear that others had a similar experience, yet no one took the time to report it because they weren't hurt."

  • Location Information.

    MākuSafe technology can show the workstation, area or department where indicators are detected. The details are transmitted in real time to the cloud platform so that potential problems can be addressed quickly by safety leaders.

  • Feedback From Employees.

    Workers who notice areas that need attention or experience an incident can activate a voice recorder on the device. This allows them to send a memo to safety supervisors. For example, "Water on the steps needs to be cleared," or "Light bulb out in the back corner–I nearly tripped over a box because I couldn't see it."

What MākuSafe Is Not

  • MākuSafe doesn't collect personal information.

    Despite the extreme amount of data collected, there is no relation to an individual. The software isn't constantly tracking where workers are, employee heart rate or how often they take a break. No biometric or personal data is collected about workers wearing the monitors. The data sent to managers indicates potential hazards and the location of that hazard. In comparison, Gabriel says, "Smartphones or fitness trackers are generally much more intrusive than our software."

  • MākuSafe is not two-way communication.

    Gabriel says, "This isn't a man-down device. Because we focus on environmental details rather than individuals, the armband won't transmit a distress signal."

  • MākuSafe isn't difficult to monitor and understand.

    Gabe explains, "You don't have to be a data scientist to understand the system and read the reports. It's visual and interactive, showing trends that point to actions you can take to protect worker health and safety."

  • Location Information.

    MākuSafe technology can show the workstation, area or department where indicators are detected. The details are transmitted in real time to the cloud platform so that potential problems can be addressed quickly by safety leaders.

  • MākuSafe isn't expensive.

    You won't need to buy one per worker as the armband monitors can be used for two shifts by different workers (it must charge during one shift period). The system is inexpensive in relation to the potential for injuries that lead to medical and workers' compensation claims. Gabriel adds, "Preventing one slip or trip claim can save an average company between $25,000 and $40,000. Multiply that by the number of accidents your company experiences each year to see what you could save by using MākuSafe technology."

Free MākuSafe Trial for EMC Policyholders

EMC work comp policyholders with industrial operations have the unique opportunity to participate in a no-cost, 12-month trial of wearable safety technology from MākuSafe.

Candidates should have at least 20 employees per facility and be willing to regularly use the systems and provide feedback. Less than 40 systems are available, and trial enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you know a policyholder who would be interested or want to learn more, they can visit to enroll or view a demo and Q&A session about the system.

Contact Us

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EMC policyholders have full access to SafeSchools Training online training library.

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