Wearable Tech Safety Vest is a Win For Workplace Insurers

The IE theme for November is Wearable Tech: How Can It Help Claims & Rehab? So although this is more prevention than cure, it does highlight how tech can monitor potential risk, or mobility after an injury. It is an interesting hi-viz for fleet, commercial and property insurance specialists. Here’s the word from Swanholm Technology;

When former Scania intrapreneur Jonas Svanholm saw the statistics on how prone truck drivers were to accidents and injury at work, he and his team decided to take on the challenge of making such workplaces safer for all professionals, by making the safety vest the drivers are obliged to wear outside the vehicle into something smarter and more helpful in hazardous situations.Being a professional truck driver tops the most hazardous work environments both in Sweden and across the globe; out of 404 fatal work accidents, truck drivers make up 66 deaths during the period 2011-2020 according to the Swedish Work environment authority.

The need for connected safety goes well beyond just truck drivers of course, this vest can be worn in many industry situations; construction, property repairs, major events, security incidents etc. The main purpose is very straight-forward: to make the end-user safer and provide the owners with insight how to build a safer work environment in close co-operation with companies to find new business models and new products to sell.HOW DOES IT WORK?Truck drivers often experience long hours, regularly with potentially stressful situations as well as demanding weather conditions, and it was vital to work out of the platform they already had. The vest needs to comply with the EN 471 class 2 safety standard, also when equipped with smart technology and become the Alert Vest.

This vest essentially monitors any falls the wearer might have, plus the dataset leading up to the fall can be analysed. In addition the vest has a light which starts flashing if a fall is detected, which can alert colleagues on-site.


Fig 1. Collaboration is key, workers in a mining operation, the Alert Vest and private networks allow workers to be safe even deep down in a mine

On sensing a person falling; the fall itself is registered as a split-second event; usually starting off with a small change in the motion vector, followed by milliseconds of apparent weightlessness, and then a sudden, greater rate of change in the resulting acceleration vector, such are the characteristic of a true fall.Using a safety vest as platform, the nape of the neck proved to be a good placement of the sensor to get consistent readings, while everything else like the batteries and the embedded computer can be placed on either side, or both for weight symmetry. In machine learning there are the traditional series of steps to be taken, each affecting the efficiency and accuracy of the resulting model.

In specific applications, whereas a dataset covering the exact use case may be hard to find, hence additional training data has to be captured. This was done using a Bluetooth-connected accelerometer with concurrent video capture. The video capture, even though not used itself in the final application, allows labeling of the data both in real-time as well as in post-production, using the Imagimob mobile capture app for Android.


At one point, a professional judo practitioner was hired to perform a large number of pre-determined falls, but just couldn’t trigger the algorithms of the smart vest, as the falls performed were too soft (judo meaning “the soft way” may be part of the explanation). Subsequently, a 70kg crash test dummy was acquired to be a less-skilled fall agent, and suffered through a number or ordeals, only too numerous to mention from a wide range of starting positions and fall heights.

The connected vest also is equipped with an explicit pushbutton switch on the front, to raise attention should an operator become stuck, wedged or otherwise pinned in a work situation without being able to call someone using their phone. There might not be a fall at all, and this makes up a secondary way of calling for assistance to compliment the AI detection algorithm.

You can find out more details at the Swanholm website.


About alastair walker 12536 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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