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Wearable Tech at Heart of Collaboration to Improve Worker Safety

An insurance company, a technology company and a construction firm have partnered to explore the benefits of using wearable devices at work sites.

The Travelers Companies, Inc., IoT company Triax Technologies and Gilbane, one of the nation's biggest contractors, will collaborate with the hopes of finding "innovative ways to help contractors manage employee safety risks, promote a culture of safety and support business continuity," according to Travelers.

The crux of the partnership will be Triax-developed devices worn by workers to collect data from those working at construction sites. The data will be reviewed by Travelers with the aim of identifying ways to improve construction site safety.

More than 130 employees will be equipped with the Spot-r ClipTM, worn on the workers' waist belts, to allow “faster response times to possible injuries by automatically detecting worker falls and providing supervisors with real-time notification of worker location and other safety incident details."

The device will also allow employees to report incidents and hazards. “Work-related injuries remain a significant source of exposure for contractors, and it’s a priority for us to find new ways to help them manage risk and keep workers out of harm’s way,” said Rick Keegan, president of construction at Travelers. “This project will help us gain valuable data-driven insight, and we look forward to working with Gilbane and Triax to identify the best uses for wearable technology to help improve outcomes and employee safety.”

In 2016, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 5,190 workers were killed while on the job. That extrapolates to an average or nearly 100 per week. Nationwide, deaths are down, though, from 38 deaths per day in 1970 to 14 per day in 2016.

“Travelers understands our industry and helps us to manage the unique set of risks our employees face on the work site,” said Don Naber, senior vice president and director of risk management at Gilbane. “We are excited to collaborate with Travelers and Triax to determine how wearable technology can keep jobs on track and, most importantly, keep workers safe.”

Pete Schermerhorn, president and CEO at Triax Technologies, said safety is a critical metric in the construction industry, but to date, it has been difficult to quantify. He said this partnership will fix that problem. “With real-time data and notifications, and visibility into what is actually happening on the site, wearable technology has the potential to transform safety and risk management practices in one of the most dangerous professions," said Schermerhorn.

"It’s exciting to see how our technology is being used by innovative companies like Gilbane and Travelers to improve safety, and we look forward to seeing how their practices continue to evolve.” According to the company, Travelers also developed the Early Severity PredictorSM, a model used to gauge the likelihood an injured employee will develop chronic pain—thus reducing the chance the worker would be prescribed opioids or other painkillers—as part of its commitment to improving the construction industry.

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