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February 24, 2021

Spatial Computing— A Treatment for Workplace Safety Issues

Fatal accidents in the workplace have become a chronic disease. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (1), a worker died approximately every 99 minutes from a work-related injury in 2019, for a total of 5,333 lethal job accidents. And, sadly, the Canadian labor market displays dangerously similar symptoms. The 2020 Report on Work Fatality and Injury Rates (2) reveals that in 2018, 1,027 Canadian workers died due to workplace accidents.

Less catastrophic, but still harmful, are repeated physical injuries linked to the workplace. Bodily reactions and exertions, incorrect use of equipment, falls, slips, and trips are among the most common labor accidents. Those wounds are painful physically, of course, but also financially; businesses spend more than $1 billion per week on serious, non-fatal workplace injuries, reports the Liberty Mutual Safety Index (3).

When analyzing this business illness, ineffective safety training emerges as a common challenge among different industries. Traditional teaching methods and learning materials, which are mostly based on theory, offer palliative solutions, but no definitive cure. Generally speaking, manuals, videos, and online tests fail to hold participants’ attention, leading to poor knowledge retention and no guarantee of successful application. It’s definitely time to make a change, especially considering the astronomical $83 billion spent in training in the U.S. over the course of 2019 (4).

The thing is: training in environments that could present real dangers isn’t the solution either. It’s expensive to replicate a mine rescue session, it’s difficult to imitate a fire rescue scenario, and it’s unproductive to stop an industrial assembly line so employees can learn procedures.

So then, what to do?

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