Adobe Stock / weerasak

SangHyu Lee, an associate professor in the University of Michigan's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says that wearable sensors that monitor the health and activity of workers can improve safety and lower costs.

Many construction workers are forced out of their jobs because of injury or stress, he says, exacerbating labor shortages that already plague the industry. Wearables can monitor the physical and mental well-being of workers so health threats can be addressed.

While construction workers can't be expected to carry monitoring devices or stop work to send in data, small wearables, like a wrist band, can be worn without interfering with their jobs while continuously sending data. They also can be used for emergency communications, such as safety alarms.

Lee says sensing technology can lower insurance premiums because many companies provide discounts for companies that actively take steps to reduce workplace accidents.

"I’ve spoken with many construction companies and their workers, as well as insurance companies," Lee says. "Everyone sees the potential to improve construction safety and health. But they all want to see successful cases of return on investment, which we’re working on."

Read More