ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 14

INDUSTRY RUNDOWN

Wearable Technology
Keeps Workers Safe,
Improves Efficiencies
In 2019, Royal Dutch Shell began
equipping its workforce with a
head-mounted wearable device
to fast-track maintenance and
repair activities. In another case,
Marathon Petroleum has developed an end-to-end wearable
gas detection and alarm management system. In the event
of hazardous gas leakage, the
system automatically triggers
an alarm, informs the individual
and nearby crew members and
sends an alert to the centralized
monitoring center.
These are just two examples of wearable technologies
that help keep workers safe and improve efficiencies and
processes through augmentation. Other devices do a bit
of both. We've gathered more examples across different
industries that might spark some ideas for adding wearables
to your operations.
WORKER SAFETY
Wearables can add value to any organization where employees
could potentially be at risk, especially in today's environment.
It's not unusual for workers to be working longer shifts due to
COVID-19, either because of high demand or because fewer
employees are willing or able to come to work.
Tech companies have you covered head to toe - literally.
They are developing smart helmets that can detect fatigue
and other impairments and safety vests that use LEDs and
sensors to increase visibility in low-light environments. Even
safety shoes are being developed that can automatically send
out an alert when the wearer falls down and are equipped
with a panic button that signals monitors and provides
location information. Some even have sensors that allow
you to send messages using Morse code.

14

OCTOBER 2020

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

Civil engineering and construction giant Ferrovial uses
wearables equipped with sensors to keep its employees
safe when they are working in remote locations. A bracelet
measures the wearer's vital signs and compiles environmental
information, a collar detects signs of drowsiness, and an ear
clip measures blood flow and can detect signs of stress and
fatigue. In addition to the monitoring equipment, employees
wear a device enabling them to be located in case of an emergency. The device includes an alert button which relays the
workers' precise location if they press it to request assistance.
WORKER AUGMENTATION
Microsoft's HoloLens and Google's Glass are relatively small,
lightweight, mixed-reality smart glasses with a transparent display for hands-free work. Many companies across industries
are using them for inspection and maintenance and remote
assistance. The wearer can pull up diagrams and instruction
manuals using voice commands. This function allows employees to work on equipment without the need to pick up a
manual and look back and forth between drawings.
Gloves with attached or embedded scanners can help in
warehouses by reducing scan times by a reported average of
50% per scan, and they are far more ergonomic than heavy
handheld scanners. These smart gloves can even learn the
wearer's hand movements and optimize themselves for faster
and more accurate scans.
BOTH WORKER SAFETY AND AUGMENTATION
Finally, there are devices that both protect workers and
augment their labor. Tech companies are working on smart
helmets that not only monitor location, vital stats and
environmental quality, but also have tools built in such as
a live-streaming camera, communication device and the
ability to connect to other industrial Internet of Things, or
IIoT, devices. So, not only can a worker send an SOS call
through the helmet and transmit their location, but the
helmet can also provide information such as an inventory
of tools, identify who is using them at any given time and
facilitate automated attendance logging for every worker.


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ILMA Compoundings - October 2020

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ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 1
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