10 Common Problems When Deploying Safety Wearables

Maximize the competitive advantages of implementing safety wearables by avoiding these common mistakes.

Successful businesses are always concerned with staying ahead of their competition. Maintaining competitive advantage by finding new ways to reduce costs, maximize efficiency, build strong, engaged teams and optimize work processes for maximum output. 

One of the key factors in achieving this advantage is adopting new technologies. Small lightweight wearable devices designed to monitor the behavior of workers and alert of any hazardous movements that could lead to back or shoulder injuries are taking the world by storm. These devices improve movement awareness and reduce the overall risk of injury. Allowing workers and management alike to track progress, complete training modules, analyze data and produce visually appealing reports through mobile apps and centralized dashboards to target and reduce ergonomic risk.

But the process of incorporating new technologies like safety wearables into the everyday working environment requires careful management. Safety technology is not a panacea; without recognizing and addressing the potential pitfalls in the implementation process, it will not work. It needs to be accompanied by a clear strategy. 

Adopting new technologies can seem risky but with a clear understanding of the common pitfalls and a well-thought out strategy, any organization can reap the benefits and competitive advantages. Let’s take a look at the top ten common problems:

1. Adopting Technology that Does Not Solve a Specific Problem

It is paramount that the decisions to incorporate safety wearables stems from the need to solve a real problem. The first step should always be to identify and understand the problem you are trying to solve. This allows you to find the right solution that addresses the problem and produces the results you need. Adopting tech just for the sake of having something new is more likely to cause problems than solve them.

2. Deploying Wearables in the Wrong Area of the Business

Closely linked to correctly identifying the problem is deploying wearables in the wrong area of the business. It is important to actually understand where the problem stems from and target the right department, task or role in your deployment to solve it.

3. Allowing Technology to Drive Business Processes

It is important that any new tech should support and improve existing business processes rather than driving processes. Safety wearables should be something that adds value to the processes your organization already has in place. This requires a thorough understanding of business operations and in-depth research on available technologies to understand how they will support your operations. 

The user experience is a vital aspect of any decision to implement new technology. For workplace safety wearables, this is even more important. Prior to deciding which tech to deploy, ensure that you have thoroughly investigated the user experience and that you understand how the tech would be incorporated into the existing routine of your workers. If the tech is not easy to use or easy to integrate into your workers daily work, it’s likely that they will not actually use it. This would result in a wasted investment.

4. Failure to Consider the Privacy Implications

In this information centric day and age, people are rightfully concerned about privacy. Safety wearables by their nature collect data. Therefore, failure to consider the privacy implications of the solution can lead to pushback. That is why it is paramount to research the solution, checking where the data is going and how it is being stored, thoroughly understanding what the wearables are tracking and whether this is appropriate for your workers.

5. Not Taking Internal Costs Into Account

Wearable safety technology should not be complex to incorporate into existing processes. Consider any internal costs that will arise as a result of the new technology and plan to minimize them. For example, the wearables you choose to implement should not take an undue extra amount of time out of workers’ daily schedules. Scheduling even just 30 minutes a day for workers to use the technology could be astronomically expensive. Possibly even more expensive than the cost of the solution itself.

Opt for easy to use solutions that only take 5 minutes or less for workers to use on-the-go. Workplace safety wearables should be designed to minimize the time workers need to spend in classroom manual handling training and facilitate a more productive, more active means of engaging workers in safety training.

6. Deploying in the Wrong Order

Implementing wearables requires an effective deployment plan. Failure to launch the technology in the right order will lead to suboptimal results. For example, it is paramount to get buy-in from all managers and supervisors involved prior to the deployment and to ensure that they are all fully trained prior to launch as they will be the first point of call for workers.

7. Failing to Get Buy-In

Buy-in from the key stakeholders involved in delivering the new technology is critical. In particular, managers responsible for delivering the new solution to the workers on the floor must believe in and buy into the vision for the solution, otherwise it will not work. Buy-in needs to occur at every level from executives, to middle management to workers.

8. A Lack of Investment in the Proper Training

Implementing new tech is not as simple as merely bringing the solution onsite. Training everyone involved in the delivery process is required. One of the most common overlooked aspects of this is ensuring that the managers leading the implementation of the new tech have a thorough understanding of the tech. These managers will be the first point of call for workers on the floor.

9. Not Monitoring the Success of the Deployment

You can’t just set and forget. The implementation requires ongoing monitoring and the willingness to adapt based on the data. This is why it is vital to ensure that the tech you’re investing in has dashboard data that is easy to read and understand. Anyone in your organization should easily be able to spot risks through the data collected without the need for a specialist to monitor analytics.

10. Failure to Use the Data Generated

Failing to use the data generated from the wearables results in reaping only half of the benefits of the program. Combining both the deployment and the full utilization of the data generated achieves maximum results. The data must be exploited to identify risks, improve training and speak to individual workers about their safety.

Originally published at OHS Online on July, 2022.

About Soter Analytics

Soter Analytics is a global safety science company producing AI-supported wearable solutions that reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries in the workplace. Soter wearables are widely used in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries, helping leading companies to prevent up to 55% of back & shoulder musculoskeletal injuries.

To see how Soter Analytics can help you improve safety behaviour, engage employees to self-manage their training and prevent workplace ergonomic injuries, simply Book a FREE Demo today.

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