Alright, so we’re talking about Health and Safety (H&S) policy, which is usually handled by the HR team. They’re the ones responsible for creating the company’s approach and making sure it aligns with UK Health and Safety laws. Now, when it comes to H&S training, it’s traditionally been a bit broad, just aiming to make sure employees know their legal responsibilities and how to avoid getting hurt.
But hold on, because we’ve got some new players on the scene. That’s right, we’re talking about artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable technologies. And let me tell ya, these bad boys have the potential to revolutionize H&S training. Over in the United States, they’ve already seen some major benefits from using AI in the workplace. Insurance claims for accidents and injuries have dropped, and employee sickness rates have gone down as well. And you wanna know why? It’s all because of the real-time data that HR teams can gather about the work environment.
See, workplace accidents, like musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are a big drain on productivity and a major reason why people call in sick. In the UK alone, there were over 477,000 work-related MSD cases in 2021/22. That’s a whole lot of injuries, and it’s costing us 24% of all work-related ill health days. But with these wearable technologies, we can get a handle on those numbers.
Now, in the UK, we’ve got some AI solutions hitting the market. We’re talking about the Modjoul SmartBelt, Ansell’s Inteliforz, and the WearHealth exoskeleton scanning technology. These puppies are gonna shake things up. They not only provide better protection for workers at high risk of injury, but they also gather detailed data that can help HR teams improve their H&S policies.
One of the great things about these AI algorithms is that they can detect patterns and correlations. They look at things like past manual handling tasks, workplace conditions, and previous injuries. By analyzing all that data, we can pinpoint the high-risk situations and tasks that are more likely to result in injuries. And here’s the best part: we can continuously track progress and generate detailed reports on specific movements and activities. This helps us identify areas where training may be lacking and where accidents are most likely to occur. With this knowledge, we can come up with targeted solutions to reduce the risk.
For example, let’s talk about bending over to pick something up. If a worker’s bending at the waist instead of using their legs, it’s a recipe for disaster. But with the Modjoul SmartBelt, we can monitor those movements and see how they change over time. They found that after just 10-25 hours of wearing the SmartBelt, workers started using better techniques and the risky movements decreased. The same goes for exoskeleton technology. It helps workers lift heavy weights while also retraining their muscles to prevent injuries.
Now, here’s a stat that might surprise you. New employees, especially those in physically demanding jobs, are at a higher risk of injury. In fact, within the first two months of employment, there’s a 70% increased risk of getting hurt. And get this, 1 in 8 workplace injuries happen on a worker’s first day. That’s just crazy. But with wearable technology, we can identify the factors that contribute to these injuries and take proactive measures to minimize the risk.
Once we’ve identified the weak points and come up with a plan, we can start implementing a more focused training program. This combines the use of wearable technology with traditional methods to gradually change behavior across the organization. And the beauty of it is that we can track the progress in real-time, set targets, and assess performance easily.
So, yeah, this more rigorous approach to planning and assessment has some great effects on staff wellbeing. Sickness levels go down, and employees feel like they’re getting the support they need from their HR teams.
Now, I know some of you might be worried about the cost of implementing all this wearable technology. But let me tell you, the US model has shown that it’s worth it. They’ve seen a drop in sickness and injuries, fewer claims, and more effective use of training budgets. And that’s the kind of data that HR leaders can use to strengthen their policies and make decisions that prioritize staff health and wellbeing.