Occupational injuries and illnesses are estimated to cost the United States as much as $250 billion a year. So cutting down on insurance costs in this area makes huge financial sense. In the construction industry, many companies are turning to wearable technology to better manage risks and incidents – and there are insurance benefits to be leveraged from doing so.
Connecticut-based Triax Technologies launched its sensor technology earlier this year. Designed to be worn on a tool belt, the sensors track workers’ whereabouts and have an emergency locator button for accidents and injuries. Triax’s technology is set up on a site using a mesh internet system to connect all areas online, where it can be viewed by a site’s safety personnel.
“It’s a safety system for construction,” says Triax COO Pete Schermerhorn. “If someone slips, trips or falls on site, this sends an automatic notification [to a site supervisor] that someone has hit the ground. The system logs how [far] they fell, where they fell on site and who else was in the geographic area – that’s important information, obviously, from a claims perspective.”
According to a recent McKinsey & Co. report, construction is the second least digitized industry in the United States, which is why companies like Triax are jumping in. “You’ve got an incredibly important part of the US and global economy … without the same tech resources that are available in something like manufacturing,” Schermerhorn says. “Unfortunately, incidents happen on construction sites. But if you can mitigate the incidents that have already happened or prevent incidents that have not happened, then you’re going to see claims go down.”
Elsewhere in the industry, insurers have endorsed and financially backed similar products. Last year, AIG
announced an investment in wearables manufacturer Human Condition Safety. Its trackable device, which is embedded in construction workers’ vests, is designed to monitor the movements of employees in factories, on construction sites and in other high-risk workplaces to help managers keep track of their workers’ whereabouts and also help to decrease fraud.