As Christmas approaches, many of us will be purchasing gadgets and wearables that are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). This is the term for the interconnected web of networked sensors and devices that share information with each other. Wearables are one of the most direct ways that we interact with this IoT, and many companies are starting to use this technology in order to help promote and maintain worker safety.

With the capability to incorporate accurate sensors and data monitors into networked, wearable hardware, companies are now looking to IoT tech to increase worker safety and productivity. For example, SmartCap Technologies of Australia produces a wearable that monitors brain waves in order to detect “microsleeps” in truck drivers and heavy machinery operators, making sure that they are awake and alert at the wheel. Other solutions monitor biometrics and stress levels in employees and then broadcast specific safety warnings that corresponded with the individual users particular situation.

This safety net is flexible enough to function across different industrial applications, from construction and mining, to trucking and firefighting. IoT improves safety in three areas. First, it encourages the adoption of safety programs because it helps to change worker behavior towards safer practices. Second, it helps generate data on safe/unsafe practices. Since IoT devices are networked, companies can use data from wireless sensors, GPS, and wearable biometric monitors to see how certain situations impact the health and safety of employees. Finally, IoT devices connect employees to their work environments in order to actually generate this data. Supervisors are able to identify potential causes of a workplace accident, and can step in before a mishap occurs. This capability could significantly lower the 317 million occupational accidents that occur each year around the world.