Photo: Caterpillar Cat® Smartband
According to a National Sleep Foundation poll on WebMD, almost a third of U.S. employees report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month. More than 13 percent said they would nap during work. Adding to the problem is that the line between work and relaxation is blurring. Americans are working more, spending an average of nearly 4.5 hours each week doing additional work from home, on top of a 9.5 hour average workday. WebMD notes that those who work long hours report greater impatience, lower productivity and difficulty concentrating.
While an office employee might be able to catnap on the job, a field worker using heavy machinery or a truck has to stay alert to stay alive. According to research cited by Caterpillar, fatigued drivers cause more than 100,000 workplace accidents every year. Industrial and construction workers who are not getting enough sleep display impaired functioning and increased anxiety. When those workers are behind the wheel of heavy machinery, catastrophic work accidents can occur.
Sleepless in the Saddle
To help managers monitor the field workforce, Caterpillar has developed a wearable sleep monitor, Cat® Smartband, that can predict when the wearer’s fatigue level will become a safety risk. The band uses non-invasive actigraphy to measure motion with an internal 3-D accelerometer. Data from the IoT device is downloaded into an analytics program, where managers can see how sleep patterns are impacted by shift schedules and how sleep debt affects an individual’s effectiveness during work hours.
This device is another component in Caterpillar’s lineup of Cat® Connect industrial safety technology. The Smartband gives companies an easy way to capture data that Caterpillar says is “93 percent as accurate as the results of a laboratory sleep study, with no need for wires or a hospital gown.”
IoT for Better Health
A report from Caterpillar notes that “visibility into sleep levels not only helps operators cut down on fatigue-related accidents, but it can also indicate deeper health issues, like sleep apnea or even increased risk for heart disease.” It adds that individuals who get less sleep get sick more often and consequently miss more work, costing their companies exponentially more in health care costs.
The Cat Smartband can assess an individual’s ongoing sleep patterns. It uses a bio-mathematical fatigue model, SAFTE™, that can analyze data to accurately predict how a worker's fatigue will change for up to 18 hours after the start of their day.
Workers typically wear Cat Smartbands at all times for a period of 30 days. At that time, workers and their supervisors review the data and determine what changes should be made to ensure healthier wake and sleep patterns. During the 30-day study, users can push a button on the Cat Smartband to get an immediate alertness level score, ranging from 0 to 100. Higher scores indicate higher levels of alertness, while lower numbers indicate that fatigue is high and workplace safety may be impacted.
Predicting Fatigue Risk
The Smartband integrates with the Cat Driver Safety System to provide a full solution to mitigate and manage fatigue risk in the workplace. It gives visibility into every operator on site, so managers can ensure they are reducing fatigue-related incidents and improving efficiency across their operations.
The solution includes:
- A Predictive Dashboard, which helps managers pinpoint current and upcoming fatigue risks in the workforce.
- Data-backed insights to help identify workers with chronic fatigue issues.
- A mobile app, so workers can do their part to help improve sleep habits and understand their own risks.
If you have industrial customers, you may be able to help them sleep easier with IoT workforce monitoring tools. Learn more about the Cat Smartband wrist-worn fatigue assessment capabilities. Download Caterpillar’s white paper, “Reducing Fatigue Risk,” which outlines real-world results from Australian and U.S.-based mine sites.