An increasing number of companies are using technology to help track and monitor employees, according to TechHQ, an industry publication focused on technology in the workplace.
Worldwide, the International Labor Organization estimates 151 workers suffer a work incident every 15 seconds. Each year, more than 321,000 workers die in occupational accidents.
Technological advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), including connected wearables and sensors, is permitting employees to better monitor their work environment and employers to better monitor employees. While the added ability to track employee movements has both positive and negative implications when it comes to workers’ rights, making the work environment safer is quickly becoming a major benefit of such emerging technologies.
Improving Workplace Safety Through Technology
Improving safety of lone workers has been a major benefit for early adopters of this technology. An estimated 15 percent of all employees work by themselves. Employers are increasingly turning to smart technology such as Wearsafe, which is a wearable tag workers can use to alert employers and emergency contacts when their safety is in danger.
The advent of smartphones and smart watches is allowing a wide range of work-safety apps and tools to be attached to a single device, further simplifying the introduction of safety technology into the workplace.
An Iowa workers’ compensation attorney continues to see similar technologies being deployed in healthcare, to track injuries, patient care and benefits. While privacy issues abound, these technologies can also assist in proving or documenting work injury cases.
Companies are already using wearables, GPS and real-time data to track employees and extract insights into the behavior of workers. The technology is also being used to identify malfunctioning machines and equipment in the manufacturing sector.
Technology and Iowa Work Injury Claims
Technology is even being deployed to track the health of workers, particularly in dangerous fields or adverse weather conditions, where severe heat or cold could put outdoor workers at risk of heat stroke or exposure.
Iowa Code Chapter 85 contains the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers’ compensation benefits are provided to employees on a no-fault basis as part of the act’s exclusive remedy provision. What this means is that it’s not necessary to show fault or negligence on the part of an employer to collect benefits, nor is fault or negligence on the part of an employee a bar to making a claim. In exchange, the employee in most cases forfeits the right to pursue a personal injury claim against an employer.
However, in many work injury cases, a third-party liability claim may be filed against at-fault parties other than an employer, such as a property owner or general contractor. Data collected by these devices could be used in such claims and may be valuable in proving cause and extent of injury in traditional workers’ compensation claims.
The increasing complexity of technology being deployed in the workplace is one more reason consulting with an experienced Iowa workers' compensation attorney is the best course of action when it comes to protecting your rights to injury benefits.