Barriers to the Adoption of Wearable Sensors in the Workplace: A Survey of Occupational Safety and Health Professionals

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From: Human Factors(Vol. 60, Issue 3)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 251 words

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Abstract :

Objective: To gather information on the (a) types of wearable sensors, particularly personal activity monitors, currently used by occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals; (b) potential benefits of using such technologies in the workplace; and (c) perceived barriers preventing the widespread adoption of wearable sensors in industry. Background: Wearable sensors are increasingly being promoted as a means to improve employee health and well-being, and there is mounting evidence supporting their use as exposure assessment and personal health tools. Despite this, many workplaces have been hesitant to adopt these technologies. Methods: An electronic survey was emailed to 28,428 registered members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and 1,302 professionals certified by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). Results: A total of 952 valid responses were returned. Over half of respondents described being in favor of using wearable sensors to track OSH-related risk factors and relevant exposure metrics at their respective workplaces. However, barriers including concerns regarding employee privacy/confidentiality of collected data, employee compliance, sensor durability, the cost/benefit ratio of using wearables, and good manufacturing practice requirements were described as challenges precluding adoption. Conclusion: The broad adoption of wearable technologies appears to depend largely on the scientific community's ability to successfully address the identified barriers. Application: Investigators may use the information provided to develop research studies that better address OSH practitioner concerns and help technology developers operationalize wearable sensors to improve employee health and well-being. Keywords: consumer products, industrial/workplace ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders, physical ergonomics, tools, work measurement DOI: 10.1177/0018720817753907

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A536389000