Insurtech start-up 'makes you safe' with workplace wearable tech

Product set to save workers’ comp insurers and help with effective risk management

Insurtech start-up 'makes you safe' with workplace wearable tech

Workers Comp

By Bethan Moorcraft

More than 1,000 people a day worldwide will never return home from work because of fatal workplace accidents. In addition, around 500 people around the world are injured in the workplace every minute.

Keeping employees safe at work is no easy task. Workplace environments vary enormously and slip, trip and fall hazards tend to present themselves in the most unexpected places and scenarios. That’s why workplace accidents are currently costing hundreds of billions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims every year in the US alone.

Imagine a Fitbit-type wearable device that captures workplace environmental data and hazards to improve workplace safety and helps insureds and carriers better process workers’ compensation claims. That’s effectively what MākuSafe, a Des Moines, Iowa-based insurtech SaaS/data startup has developed.

The MākuSafe wearable is worn by employees on the company floor and is constantly gathering real-time environmental and motion data designed to help manufacturers better understand workplace risks and automatically report near-miss or risky situations.

Live data collected by the wearable band is processed immediately in the MākuSmart cloud platform and presented on a dashboard that helps workplace safety managers identify trends, locate frequent problem areas and even proactively order equipment or supplies that will help mitigate workplace safety events or reduce downtime following an incident.

“We set out with the purpose of trying to solve two problems. We wanted to gather data constantly and in real-time, so we can identify before someone ever gets close to a dangerous exposure. Secondly, we wanted the device to be a wearable. The environment in manufacturing facilities is always changing, which is another reason why constant real-time data monitoring is so important. Things like lighting and temperature can vary greatly in the space a few feet. All of those things can impact the health, wellbeing, happiness and safety of a worker,” said MākuSafe CEO and Co-Founder Gabriel Glynn.

The MākuSafe idea was born out of a long family history and an iTunes podcast. Glynn’s father was a machinist and now works as a safety manager in a facility with more than 1,000 employees. This inspired Glynn to set up the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast, which provided him the opportunity to tour manufacturing companies across the country and find out about their safety procedures.

During one of these tours, Glynn came across a facility where all of the employees were wearing dosimeter buttons. The company was being audited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) because one of their employees had lost their hearing, potentially from exposures in the workplace.

“It got me to thinking: How do you manage environmental exposures? What kinds of environmental exposures impact workers? What are the rules and regulations around these things? I started doing some research and quickly became aware of just how big the problem of facility accidents really is,” Glynn told Insurance Business.

“I saw an opportunity to make a difference so I reached out to my friend Mark Frederick [now chief technology officer at MākuSafe] and we worked together to build a solution. One of the most compelling things about our software is the massive amount of data points we’re gathering. Front-line safety managers like my father are not data scientists, but at MākuSafe we visualize data in a way that’s easy and consumable for everyone, and we use machine learning to highlight high impact trends. They can identify risks and mitigate them before they become a problem.”

Not only does the MākuSmart dashboard help safety managers increase efficiency, but insurance carriers can also use the data collected by the wearables to create more accurate P&C policies for businesses and access detailed information for workers’ compensation policies. It’s also an effective tool for insurance brokers looking to implement risk control strategies and reduce client loss trends.

“Our platform acts as a collaboration tool between the insurance carrier and the insured. We believe we’ve identified a way to help insurance carriers better deploy their risk reduction resources to their customers based on proactive data. Whereas now, carriers deploy risk reduction resources based on claims, with MākuSafe solutions they can be more proactive about their customer service,” Glynn added.

“Everybody in this equation is in alignment. The goal is to send workers home safe at the end of the day.”


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