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Wearable tech for workers faces cost and privacy concerns

Many workers in New Jersey are using wearable technology, which refers to any mobile electronic device that attaches to the body for a set purpose. Some of the common types of wearable tech in the workplace are "smart" personal protective equipment, hard hats with sensors and safety glasses with heads-up displays.

Wearable tech plays an important role in boosting workplace safety, mainly by connecting workers to a group of safety professionals who can monitor their health and other vital statistics. For instance, electroencephalogram devices could monitor workers' stress levels. Biosensors that attach to the wrist can measure this as well. Other devices measure fatigue.

Wearable tech can also be used for proximity detection in mines or at construction sites. For example, a firm can use radio-frequency identification to monitor interactions between workers and machines and thus determine when a potentially serious event might occur. This then helps in training employees.

However, there are concerns that monitoring workers' health and safety means monitoring their productivity as well, which could be an infringement of workers' right to privacy. Wearable tech could buzz and do other things that could prove distracting. Cost is another concern as employers would need to devote resources to the translation of data. Only one versed in analytics can do that. This has reportedly kept many employers from investing in wearable tech.

While wearable tech does come with safety benefits, it naturally cannot prevent all accidents. Employees who are injured and who cannot blame their employer for the incident may still be able to file for workers' compensation benefits and be covered for medical expenses and a portion of the wages they lost during recovery. It may be wise to hire a lawyer before filing the claim since employers still have the power to deny claims. The lawyer may assist with the appeal.

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