Technology and Workers Compensation: How New Gadgets and the Changing Economy May Affect You

While you can't keep up with every development in technology, you can follow the overall trends to understand how it impacts your business. At the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), doctors reviewed how it's brought about a new economy, what it can mean for workers comp and how you prepare for the additional changes.

Regulation Unknown


The sharing economy only continues to grow, with 42 percent of people having used it and more than one if five people having profited from it. Technology gives workers new choices about how they can make money, and it gives older Americans a way to supplement their retirement funds. Applications like Lyft and AirBnB keeps people active and productive rather than sending out resumes into the ether. You may not currently make your living in an industry that uses contractors rather than full-time employees, but that could very well change based on the climate of workers and their demands. People today want more freedom, and there's evidence to support that giving them flexibility will help, not hurt, profits. However, it poses certain threats to workers safety as well. It's unclear how much responsibility the parent company bears when a worker is hurt on the clock. Certainly, it's in the company's best interests to deny that they bear any responsibility at all, but what does that mean for the worker then? As the government tries to cut through the red tape and current laws to make final decisions that you can be confident will stick, you would be smart to stay aware of how technology is influencing workers both in general and in your particular industry.

Monitoring in Safety

Employers should always have some idea of the way a worker performs their job, but sometimes the boss can't catch small mistakes that add up over time. For example, let's say you work in a warehouse where your subordinates need to lift boxes all day. Perhaps one worker is stretching his back just a bit too much every time he lifts one. He doesn't notice his wrongful maneuver until he pulls a muscle 6 weeks later. Wearable technology is already letting companies know when an employees is in danger of hurting themselves from overexertion. It could continue to improve so employees can stop themselves from going too far in a variety of tasks. Cutting back on preventable injuries is just another way technology is mingling with even the most low-tech of jobs. A warehouse employee may not care about the software behind what he's wearing, but he will care that doesn't have to spend 6 weeks in a back brace on his couch.
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