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The future of wearable technology and workers' comp

Wearable technology is the next big thing for retailers. From Samsung’s smart watch to Google’s Glass, the world of mobile technology has a great deal to offer consumers and employers alike. For employers, wearable technology can provide a number of opportunities to expound on safety measures and take further action to prevent injuries.

Additionally, wearable technologies are poised to give employers better opportunities to correctly assess injuries; which in turn, can help in diagnosing and assessing injuries, so that benefits can be correctly distributed. A number of our posts have focused on the troubles that come with employees who falsely claim injuries or fail to report that they have made it past injuries in order to continue receiving benefits. 

Ostensibly, a FitBit or similar technology could alert employers of potential abnormalities that could lead to injuries. For example, high heart rates could be a sign that an employee is under the influence of illegal drugs while at work. Similar technology could detect alcohol levels in employees. Imagine if wearable technology could send real time reports to employers?

While it is not certain whether employers will soon begin requiring workers to have these devices while on the job, but it is only a matter of time before the benefits of such technology leads employers to invest in it. When that time comes, it would be prudent for employers to consult their workers compensation providers to determine whether doing so will merit any discounts on coverage, or whether prior risks could be eliminated.

Source: “Wearables and work comp” Robert Wilson, July 29, 2014

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