ISU awarded research grant to improve workplace safety
NORMAL (25 News Now) - A workers’ compensation firm is awarding Illinois State University $30,000 to investigate whether wearable sensors can improve performance and also decrease injuries in the workplace.
The MEMIC Group, a subsidiary of the Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company, chose ISU to conduct the study.
The sensors can be placed in helmets and can warn of fatigue. They can also provide data to guide treatment plans and training programs that would reduce injuries.
The primary investigator is James R. Jones, director from ISU’s Katie School of Insurance and Risk Management.
Jones said in a news release that the warehouse setting is ideal for monitoring the use of wearables and real-time feedback, since there are more than 2 million warehouse employees in the United States, average age 39, with overexertion injuries that continue to vex safety managers.
“With the availability of wearable technology to monitor and potentially reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, there is a sizeable potential for cost-savings, increased productivity, and overall improved worker health, which we hope to be able to uncover and detail,” said Jones.
“We are proud to have established this grant partnership and congratulate Illinois State University researchers on their successful proposal as we look together for ways to integrate technology into workplace practices that protect workers,” MEMIC Vice President of Loss Control Maryann Hoff said in a statement.
This is the second round of MEMIC Safety Research Center grants that started with a 2021 grant to a faculty team at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Safety Sciences investigating ways to limit workplace slips, trips, and falls.
At ISU, the Katie School’s Jones will work with Tice Sirmans, assistant professor and principal technical investigator. Two graduate students in actuarial science and four undergraduate risk management and insurance majors will also work on the study.
More information can be found on the MEMIC Safety Research Center website.
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