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How smartphones can fight occupational injuries

In Louisiana and throughout the U.S., manufacturing factories heavily depend on their employees' labors to get their products made, packaged and delivered. Because of all the physical effort needed to do this type of work, factory employees are susceptible to repetitive motion strains that can cause a number of musculoskeletal injuries like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. However, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor is trying to use modern technology that could help reduce such high-risk job injuries.

For about 20 years, the engineering professor has been studying how to improve the way risk of injury is measured. Through funds from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the professor has been able to develop a way to calculate hand activity level with the use of computer vision algorithms.

Working with his colleagues, the professor is also developing a brand new measure for evaluating health outcomes. It will help track repetitive motions through video footage by creating pattern recognition of repetitive hand movements. Combined with the professor's epidemiology findings, it will allow his team to create a way for experts to measure injury risks so that certain workplace tasks can be redesigned.

The professor's goal is to turn these measurements into an app that companies can easily use. The applications can be accessed through smartphones. Both large and small-sized companies would then be able to use the handheld video device to measure motions and pinpoint any work-relate hazards that could lead to fatigue and possible injury.

Pursuant to Louisiana workers' compensation law, most employees who suffer an on-the-job injury are entitled to certain types of benefits, irrespective of how the accident occurred. Injured workers may want to have legal assistance during the claims filing process to help ensure that all required documentation has been collected.

Source: Phys, "Using smartphone technology to combat workplace injury", Lexy Brodt, Dec. 12, 2016

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