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Wearables, Computer Vision Highlighted as Key Safety Tech at NCCI

15 May, 2024 Frank Ferreri

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Orlando, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) -- When you think of personal protective equipment, you might think hardhats, vests, goggles, ear plugs, and the like.

But according to a panel of experts at NCCI's Annual Insights Symposium Tuesday, computer vision and wearable devices could be right alongside traditional PPE sooner than you think, and workers' compensation carriers might be the ones to lead the way.

In a session titled "The Future of Workplace Safety," Kinetic's cofounder and chief strategy officer Haytham Elhawary and Voxel board member Aidan Madigan-Curtis, shared insights on what they have learned from their companies' experience with tech and safety in the workplace.

What's the Tech?

Elhawary explained that Kinetic makes wearable devices that look like a pager and clip on a worker's belt. When the device senses that the worker is engaging in a "high-risk" movement such as bending, twisting, running, or jumping, it vibrates to alert the employee and sends a report to the employer, which can be used for coaching and training.

"It's collecting data about what workers are doing on the floor," Elhawary said, pointing out that it does not track down time an employee might indulge and cannot be used to check up on how much work workers are doing.

"We'll give you a to-do list based on the data we collect," he said.

Madigan-Curtis said that Voxel's technology uses computer vision that is trained on "typical AI" and a battery of cameras in a workplace that can quickly detect safety hazards, such as missing PPE, "near misses" involving forklifts, and improper techniques for working.

The data the cameras receive is compiled into a dashboard that tracks safety metrics and prepares points for instruction.

"With our detections, Voxel can work with safety managers for a highly active reduction in claims," Madigan-Curtis said. "It's a tool for coaching."

What's the future?

Madigan-Curtis told attendees that despite the sometimes "scary" narrative around AI and technology in the workplace, which includes concerns about privacy, costs, and the loss of jobs, adoption of innovations will prevent injuries and keep costs down.

"We'd love to be a partner to stop claims before they start," she said.

Elhawary said that workers' compensation is a changing environment, thanks to technology. Kinetic partners with carriers to provide its devices at no charge to policyholders, and Elhawary encouraged insurers to think differently about their role in the claims cycle.

"Being a workers' comp carrier is changing, and it's going to be about providing employers with tools to prevent injuries," he said. "Don't just be a payer of claims but adopt a better way to provide to policy holders."


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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