How to Introduce the Value of Workplace Safety Wearables to Your Team

A new era of data-driven workplace safety protocols is dawning, giving health and safety professionals more access to the data they need to keep their teams safe. Data can be collected from your workforce, indicating risk factors before they happen. Realizing this future requires that your team is willing to adopt the necessary wearables in order to collect that data. To that end, here’s how to introduce the value of wearables in your organization.

As a health and safety professional, you have a mandate to protect your workforce. Reacting to situations that pose risk to your team and working to create a safe work environment comprises a large sum of work time. Wearables that collect granular, unbiased data from your team’s movements, especially at crucial joints like the back and shoulders, pinpoint risks so steps can be taken to prevent injuries before they happen.

For more information about how this is possible, read about LifeBooster’s Senz Platform.

Before You Introduce Workplace Safety Wearables

Getting buy-in from your workforce doesn’t have to be difficult if you take the right approach. After all, your investment in wearables and health analytics is all in the interest of keeping your team members safe and preventing injury.

With a carefully considered roll-out plan you can have your team embracing the idea of wearables and even looking forward to gaining access to them. Here are seven ways to help you introduce wearables to your teams, get buy-in, and encourage adoption of them over the long term.

     1. Make a Business Case

Whether you decide to introduce the use of wearables to your entire team at once or in smaller groups may depend on your corporate culture and your operational plan. You may opt for an all-hands meeting or smaller team briefings. If you already host regular safety briefings, this is the perfect time to introduce the concept to your workers. 

To help your teams better understand the value of wearables, make a business case that they will understand. Sharing statistics on injuries, chronic pain and suffering, and the potential direct financial impact of injury to workers is a great place to start. 

The key is to give your teams the understanding that your new data initiatives are in their best interests. If you handle this step correctly, you can create a desire to be the first team or shift to experiment with your new tech. Transparency communication across all levels of the organization which details the purpose of the program is essential for long-term success.

     2. Share an Anecdote

Data is valuable. It will help you do your job better and it presents a logical case for assessing risks with wearables. As humans though, we react better to stories. While it is helpful to present a data-driven business case for your investments in wearables and safety data, a story about why this is important can help a lot.

Your anecdote can involve a hypothetical, or an anonymized story about an actual workplace injury that could have been prevented with the data from wearables. The key is to help your individual employees see themselves in the scenario, with a tangible connection to the importance of the data collection you will embark on.

For example, you could explain a scenario where a musculoskeletal injury that sidelined a worker could have been prevented with better insights into the risks they were exposed to each day. Your anecdote could also include steps the company is taking to prevent injuries of that kind going forward, and specifically how this is made easier with the requisite wearables and resulting data.

     3. Offer a Demo

Either in the first safety briefing or in a subsequent one when the wearables and data access are available on-site, give your teams a demo of exactly how the technology works. This is crucial, as it will crystalize the reasons for the wearables and alleviate any concerns your team has about them. Transparency fosters success.

Emphasize the safety of the equipment itself, and the fact it poses no additional health risk to your workers. But also demonstrate exactly what data is being collected. Lifebooster’s Senz platform accurately reproduces the movement of key joints on your workers’ bodies at any given time. They are represented as a 3D avatar on screen; using risk severity color-coding, joints light up when physical activity puts a worker at risk of injury.

When your team sees the type of data being collected it will alleviate any hesitancy to use wearables and place the focus where it should be: on the importance of data collection for injury prevention. While you will have more information than ever about the movements of each individual worker, there is no reason for them to have concerns about invasions of privacy.

     4. Introduce WorkPlace Safety Wearables in Phases

Even if your entire shipment of wearables arrives on the same day, you may opt to introduce them to your teams in phases. If you have handled the above steps tactfully, you will be creating an appetite for trying this new tech. Start by introducing it with the teams that are at most risk — the ones with the most physical jobs that are most prone to preventable injuries.

With a phased approach, it gives your leadership teams an opportunity to adjust to this “new normal” in phases as well, and to adjust your strategy as you go. Any learnings from the approach you take with your initial test group can be applied to the next phases and so on.

     5. Make it Easy

Once your wearables have been distributed and are in play, you need to establish protocols to ensure the adoption of them. There are several deployment strategies for wearables including episodic, periodic and continuous use cases and all of them can be used in combination across your workforce. Whichever strategy you choose, remember, predictability is your friend. Highly visible storage areas for these wearables with numbered sets of the hardware, and conveniently located central charging stations are some of the ways you can make it easier for workers to suit up with their new hardware each day.

At the start of their workday, it should be part of their start work process — along with donning any other safety equipment like hardhats, or high-viz clothing should be the application of the wearables to the appropriate areas: upper- and fore-arms, back and hip. If your charging area and equipment assignments are clear, getting mass adoption of the wearables will be much easier.

It may take some time for this process to iron itself out. You may find, from checking your resulting data, that some staff are not wearing the devices correctly, and need to have another demonstration. You may also find that some have forgotten to wear the hardware. Establish policies for wearables as you do with any other safety equipment. Remember that the guiding principle is the safety of your workforce and continue to encourage 100% participation in the program.

     6. Share Some Data

Once your wearables are in use, you can further encourage an understanding of their value by showing workers exactly what you’ve collected. You can choose to show a high level view of collected data, including sharing the 3D animator with individual team members, it will be a hit!

Particularly with your crew leaders, sharing aggregated data will further demonstrate its value and will help you to get comprehensive buy-in from your workforce. While you yourself are beginning to understand and put to good use all of this new data, you can share your findings with key stakeholders which will help you hone your skills as well as with the cultural aspects of introducing new technology.

     7. Celebrate Wins

Whereas you were once stretched too thin reacting to situations after they happen, now you have a wealth of information about workplace risks that puts you in a position to act before an injury or incident takes place.

When you’re making great use of the data you collect and taking steps to prevent workplace injury, it isn’t always easy to see the “big moments.” Done correctly, your job will now be to make adjustments to workplace scenarios and equipment in the interest of injury prevention. This can take a number of forms, but be sure to recognize the impact of this knowledge by celebrating your “wins.”

For example, your data might show that workers are placing undue strain on their backs due to the height of a conveyor belt on your floor. Shifting the height of the conveyor belt, or accounting for the height variances in your team members might seem like a minor adjustment and simply “another day’s work for a health and safety professional, but it’s an example of a change that would have required a pattern of injuries in order to identify, rather than merely a pattern of data from your workers. These are the wins that need to be celebrated.

Workplace Safety Wearables — A Means to an End

When the data informs changes that keep your teams safer and prevent workplace injury or even your worker’s discomfort, that’s where you begin to extract real value. Your teams will appreciate these changes and continue to happily participate in the program when they see evidence that it’s working in their favor.

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