Road maintenance workers in north-east England took part in an 8-week project in which they wore a number of biometric and location sensors to monitor their physical activity and surroundings.
The sensors, developed by Fujitsu, consist of a bracelet that measures the wearer’s vital signs and compiles environmental information, a collar that detects signs of drowsiness and an ear clip that measures blood flow and can detect signs of stress and fatigue.
Road maintenance crews are exposed to high-risk work environments. They work alongside traffic, in adverse weather conditions and in hard-to-access areas; furthermore, they all drive, which adds an element of fatigue.
In addition to the monitoring equipment, each employee wore a device enabling them to be located in case of risk. The device includes an alert button which relays the worker’s precise location if he or she presses it to request assistance.
The pilot test results were highly satisfactory, and Amey has started to consider the possibilities offered by this type of technology for use by workers in the rest of its business units as a means of improving workplace safety.
Commitment to workplace safety
This project comes on the heels of one implemented a few months ago in Wolverhampton. For 10 days, a total of 28 volunteers in the refuse collection service wore smart vests to monitor a range of health parameters: heart rate, breathing, steps, posture and stress. A positive outcome of this test was that all participants were found to have acceptable levels of heart function.