In March 2021, Automation World’s David Miller detailed PepsiCo’s use of Reflex wearable devices from Kinetic. The technology has had a definite impact on both worker safety and company culture.
Wearable technology is a fast-burgeoning field that is not to be neglected. Augmented reality (AR) headsets have allowed field service professionals working in dangerous conditions to access hands-free schematics, instruction manuals, and even real-time audio-video feeds for remote assistance. New types of wearables are allowing end users to generate useful data insights as well.
PepsiCo, which recently outfitted its workers with Kinetic’s Reflex devices, has seen those benefits clearly. It’s a belt-mounted wearable sensor that can automatically detect when a worker is assuming high-risk postures such as bending, overreaching, or twisting that could lead to repetitive strain injuries while on the job. From here, the actions taken are twofold. First, workers receive real-time feedback via a gentle vibration that alerts them that they have assumed a high-risk posture, helping them to adjust their behavior. After that, the data is shipped upstream to a cloud-based web dashboard that can be used by management to produce actionable insights on how to improve workplace ergonomics.
Not only does this help to improve the health of workers by averting injuries, but it saves PepsiCo money by reducing worker compensation costs related to repetitive strain and other workplace related impairments.
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Wearable Technology Bolsters Worker Safety