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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.

December 3, 2019

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Arco Innovation Award

Ergonomics and wearables in safety

The advent of differing types of ergonomic PPE and wearable technology, designed to keep workers safe, has seen an increase of new products coming into the market. They form the second two categories of the Arco Innovation Award finalists.

Thinking ergonomically

The importance of workplace ergonomics to everyday health and safety is widely understood. Workplace ergonomics is the discipline of designing a system where individuals can work safely, efficiently and comfortably. When applied effectively, ergonomics can reduce the risk of workplace  injury, prevent long-term complications and increase worker productivity.

The latest technology is transforming and improving workplace ergonomics, acting as both a diagnostic tool and a preventative solution. With solutions ranging from cameras that capture footage of workers’ movements while undertaking day-to-day tasks to wearable sensors that are affixed to an individual’s clothing to track each and every move as it happens, it’s never been easier to monitor workplace ergonomics. Using the data gathered from solutions such as these, advanced computer-based analytics tools are able to assess individual interactions and highlight any potentially harmful flaws in the system. This includes the potential risk of sustaining an injury, such as a musculoskeletal disorder.

The wonders of wearables

exoskeleton

Working in conjunction with analytics software, wearable sensors are not only useful for assessing worker ergonomics – they can also reduce a wide range of potential safety risks. For instance, sensors that track worker movements can also monitor location. This is invaluable for businesses with isolated workers such as technicians and security officers, allowing them to remain updated on their exact location and receive alerts in the event of an accident. Wearable devices can also monitor the external environment of the user, collecting and analysing data on aspects such as noise, helping to monitor for unsafe levels.

Wearable solutions can also provide users with additional strength or capabilities. The most well-known example is the exoskeleton, which can greatly enhance the physical strength and mobility of its wearer. However, wearable solutions also exist in the form of hands free remotes, allowing its users to control potentially hazardous machinery without the need to physically touch it. This minimises the risk of injury.

Click here to see the second batch of nine finalists.


The Arco Innovation Award aims to drive innovation in the health and safety sector. A specialist agency has identified 36 start-ups who will go through a detailed assessment, the first 13 finalists can be seen here. The second batch of nine can be seen here.

As part of the launch, SHP visited Arco’s Headquarters in Hull to sit down with Director of Marketing, Adam Young to find out more about the competition and how it works.

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