Revolutionizing Ergonomic Training and Injury Prevention with AI and Wearables

Ergonomic Training

Do you implement ergonomic training sessions to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at your organization? If so, how would you describe them? How do you think manual workers perceive these sessions? 

The challenge with most current ergonomic training programs isn’t the content—it’s the format and maintaining long-term engagement with the recommendations.

Health safety and environment (HSE) managers fully understand the main ergonomic risks associated with manual tasks and workstations. These workstations are meticulously designed to adhere to the highest HSE standards possible, and the workload of manual tasks has already been minimized to meet operational requirements. Once designed, workstations and tasks rarely need substantial changes, but human factors are constantly evolving. Therefore, it is crucial to continuously assess and mitigate potential MSD risks due to manual handling through effective ergonomic training.

Traditional ergonomic training often involves an HSE manager explaining various risk mitigation strategies to workers. This method is vital, yet poses a question:

Even if workers are attentive and engaged during the session, can they apply all the learned tips the next day and maintain these habits indefinitely?

Unfortunately, human nature doesn’t support such optimism. According to the “Forgetting Curve”, we retain only about 2 to 3% of information from a one-hour lecture after 30 days. Continuous reinforcement is essential. A brief recap every few days dramatically increases retention. But what if we need not just to remember the content but also to apply it practically every day?

A significant study on habit formation in 2009 revealed that habits typically form over 18 to 254 days, with an average of 66 days needed to incorporate a new daily activity consistently. Regular daily practice is the most critical factor in making a behavior a part of someone’s routine.

Given these challenges, continuous and timely reinforcement is necessary to build long-lasting habits.

HSE managers, no matter how committed, cannot:

  • Monitor workers throughout the day.
  • Ensure ergonomic task execution.
  • Provide timely feedback—it’s simply not feasible.

However, with advancements in technology, there is no need for such manual oversight. With WearHealth, we leverage AI and wearable technology to provide ergonomic training that is both efficient and effective.

WearHealth Smart Training utilizes proprietary motion-sensing wearables, tailored for assessing high-risk manual tasks in industrial settings and providing biofeedback. By integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI), our system automates and enhances the traditionally tedious tasks of HSE managers, reinforcing ergonomic behaviors more effectively.

Ergonomic training
WearHealth Smart Training

So how can we apply such technology to leverage current ergonomic training?

Consider the case of Lukas, a 48-year-old warehouse worker, who spends 5 to 7 hours a day handling packages of varying sizes and weights. Despite learning proper lifting techniques in ergonomic training sessions, the rush of daily tasks often leads to neglecting these practices.

Imagine if Lukas were equipped with WearHealth’s smart wearable, clipped to the collar of his shirt, which uses AI to detect when and how he bends. Whenever Lukas begins to deviate from the proper lifting technique, the wearable vibrates gently, reminding him of the importance of maintaining correct posture to prevent lower back pain.

Moreover, by reviewing his daily or weekly data, Lukas can:

  • Identify specific high-risk trends or situations.
  • Monitor his progress towards reducing MSD risks.
  • End each workday free from musculoskeletal disorders.

This combination of wearable technology and AI not only facilitates real-time corrections but also provides a data-driven approach to injury prevention. The data collected can be analyzed to identify patterns and high-risk behaviors, allowing HSE managers to tailor ergonomic training sessions more effectively and address specific issues faced by workers.

Furthermore, this continuous feedback loop:

  • Fosters a culture of safety and mindfulness.
  • Encourages workers like Lukas to adopt and maintain proper techniques.
  • Ultimately reduces the incidence of MSDs and improves overall workplace health.

By integrating these advanced technologies, organizations can significantly enhance their ergonomic training programs and ensure a safer working environment.