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Smartphones may help prevent workplace injury

Texas residents may be interested in an innovation that may revolutionize how companies identify and prevent workplace injuries. University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are pioneering a computer algorithm that will analyze video information to give employers more accurate risk assessments than are available through human observations. If the technology works and is widely used, it could greatly help companies lower the costs of workplace injuries and protect their employees.

According to the researchers, the best use of the technology may be through a cellphone app. This would give employers and employees a readily available and economic means of utilizing the program. Such small-scale requirements would make the technology available to businesses of all sizes, and it may even allow independent contractors or the self-employed to analyze their own work behavior.

Analyzing such data allows employers to make adjustments to employees' work process or environment that helps them to avoid injuries. These minor adjustments can be difficult to determine without such technology. The head of the study hopes that the technology may be expanded to analyze a job or work space before employees are even involved. This could help prevent injuries from ever occurring.

Although technology and companies continue to make headway in identifying and preventing workplace injuries, it is unlikely they will ever be entirely eliminated. Workers in factory and office positions where repetitive injury is common are still at great risk. Carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis are common and debilitating conditions for those who work in such conditions. They can also be expensive to treat and result in a great deal of lost work time. Workers' compensation benefits might be available in these situations, and those who have developed these types of issues might want to have the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing the required claim documentation.

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