Safety Report Looks at Sensors for Fatigue


The American Society of Safety Professionals Foundation recently released the results of a three-year study on worker fatigue.

The report argues that wearable technology could be the answer in better defining worker fatigue and increasing on-the-job safety.

The Study

The ASSP released the “Advancing Safety Surveillance Using Individualized Sensor Technology: Final Progress Report” on Dec. 15, 2018. The study began in August 2015.

According to Occupational Health & Safety, the three-year study was led by Lora Cavuoto at the University at Buffalo and Fadel Megahed at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio, and also involved researchers from Auburn University and the University of Dayton.

The study involved 25 participants wearing wrist, hip and ankle sensors while working, doing things such as assembly, stocking and remaining static in a fixed position. The main focus of the study was to demonstrate that an employer can collect their own data using similar wearable sensors in a cost-effective way without interfering with work.

"Fatigue is a hidden danger in the workplace, but now we've tackled the measurement and modeling of fatigue through wearable sensors, incorporating big data analytics and safety engineering," said Cavuoto.

"Information is power, so knowing when, where and how fatigue impacts worker safety is critical. You can't identify solutions until you pinpoint the problems."

Cavuoto noted that the research looked at how workers performed a task in the first hour of working versus the third hour, and looking at sensored studies such as this could help determine when breaks should be taken, posture adjustments or if a worker should be taking vitamin supplements.

The study also found that the most impacted areas of an overtired worker are the ankles, eyes, lower back and feet, and that the causes of the tiredness were stress, shift changes and overall lack of sleep.


Tagged categories: Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; NA; North America; Research and development; Safety

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