Industrial workers and first responders perform jobs that often require them to be in dangerous and unsafe conditions. But wearable technology can connect these brave men and women to monitoring outposts, which can keep track of their activities as well as their health.
Earlier this month, Honeywell introduced its Connected Worker solution, which includes a mobile hub that collects data from a variety of sensors on individual workers. That information is then compiled to provide a broader and more accurate picture of what that worker is experiencing. For example, the Mobile Hub could pull a fire fighter’s data from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), a heart rate monitor, and several Intel Quark SE microcontroller-based devices, including a toxic gas monitor, an activity detection device and a non-verbal gesture device.
The solution monitors workers for toxic gas exposure, breathing, heart rate, posture and motion, which will help alert others if someone is in distress. Data and other intelligence are displayed remotely on a visual, cloud-based dashboard, providing plant managers and incident commanders the information needed to better anticipate unsafe conditions and prevent potential “man-down” scenarios that could pose a threat to worker safety. Further, the data can be analyzed and used to prevent equipment failure that could create unsafe conditions or lead to expensive downtime.
Such wearable solutions help protect workers from unexpected and previously undetected risks in industrial environments, as well as in emergency situations. A centralized command center manages the safety data, while a cloud-based service connects the multiple devices, systems and data sources. Data collection is then streamlined to safety managers, offering an integrated view of safety and compliance, in one place, accessible from a web browser.
Injured workers cost companies significant amounts of money annually: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs. Using wearable devices powered by the Internet of Things technology, companies can help prevent employee injuries and keep down workers' compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services.