Monday, March 19, 2012

"Bouncy Floors" and Other Innovations: Making Workplace Safer for Older Workers

In one of series of articles on older workers, Misty Harris writes that "[f]rom offices with flex-floors to injectable heart monitors and mobile medication alerts, experts predict our job sites could one day come to offer a standard of safety approaching that of a care facility." Among other developments in the offing that could come to the workplace, Harris points to:
  • biometric sensors no bigger than Band-Aids that will improve doctors’ capacity to remotely monitor workers’ overall health;
  • smart canes that provide real-time feedback on proper gait and potentially alert a person’s colleagues by text if a fall occurs in the workplace;
  • belts with built-in airbags that deploy when sensors detect that a fall is imminent; and
  • a "bouncy" floor that's compliant enough to absorb a fall, but hard enough not to inhibit regular activity.
As Harris points out, it’s "all part of a vision of the future in which employees and employers alike assume greater responsibility for workers’ well-being."
"If you’ve got people living longer, and they’re reasonably healthy, they need to be able to work," says Gloria Gutman, director emerita of the Simon Fraser University Gerontology Research Centre. "You could think of gerontechnology as the idea of, 'what can we (make) that will allow people to do that for as long as possible?'"
Source: Postmedia News "New tech helps aging workers bounce back from health issues, falls--literally" (March 19, 2012)

Additional Source: See also AARP Blog "Reading This On A Computer? The Glasses You May Need" (March 19, 2012)

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