People who have manufacturing jobs are at particular risk for acquiring musculoskeletal injuries. These injuries, which can include tendonitis in the shoulders, wrists and arms, can be hard on workers and can also result in lost time, reduced productivity and workers’ compensation, all at a cost to manufacturing companies. New Jersey residents who work in the manufacturing industry may be interested to know that smartphone technology may soon be a significant factor in preventing workplace injuries.
Using grants provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Institutes of Health, researchers have created computer vision algorithms to calculate hand activity levels. Another grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow the researchers to use videos obtained from various institutions to develop a new measure to evaluate health outcomes. The measure will track repetitive hand motions on the videos and combine that information with new epidemiology discoveries to create a foundation for engineers to begin assessing the injury risks in the workplace and to redesign specific jobs.
Smartphones can be used to make the measurements accessible to manufacturing companies. As a smartphone application, the measure could be implemented by simply directing a handheld video device, reducing the time consumption and intrusion that is typical of current measurement methods. The research, which uses the principles of various disciplines, will assist companies with making simple, but effective modifications to high risk positions.
A job injury can have a negative impact on a worker’s health and finances. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits in such an event, and an attorney can often assist an injured worker in preparing and filing the required claim.