The World’s 1st Wearable Solution to Prevent Shoulder and Back Injuries
Wearable technology is shaping the future for safe movement at work. Will you adopt, or be left behind?
- By Toni-Louise Gianatti
- Oct 05, 2020
No one believes in consumer-centric design for injury prevention better than Matthew Hart, founder and CEO of Soter Analytics, “Putting ourselves in the shoes of our client’s, truly understanding their problems, barriers and facilitators and engaging in empathetic listening, we are now so proud to launch our new SoterCoach solution that has been built off the back of direct customer feedback”.
What is it?
One small 2x3cm lightweight wearable device interchangeable between the upper back and the shoulder that alerts the wearer of any hazardous movements they are making via vibro-tactile and auditory biofeedback. This information is then pinged back to a personal mobile app or workplace tablet and the user works through a choice of 3 different 10-day micro-learning manual handling training programs. There is an online dashboard for management that displays discretionary aggregated or anonymous objective data providing valuable AI-driven insight for injury risk.
The original wearable solution developed by Soter to prevent back injuries has been so successful and proven itself on average reducing up to 55% of manual handling injuries across multiple industries including warehousing, manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare. This has been the cornerstone of which their new and improved first to market technology has grown which now includes the shoulder risk, more training programs and a completely updated app and management dashboard.
Giant Eagle, one of North America’s top food retailers, saw improvements among all categories of workers. Their long-serving ergonomics advisory team conducted a detailed review of the product and they reported that the device was accurately detecting and providing warnings for hazardous movements that have high potential to cause injury.
The Soter team takes a human-centric approach to solution. It’s their customers that drive the product potential and growth and continual feedback is highly encouraged and received with gratitude. This consumer first mentality has greatly aided in creating a one of a kind solution that is now not only the world’s first, but the most up to date easy to use and deploy wearable technology for ergonomic safety on the market.
A brand new, revolutionary first to market solution and app based ergonomic coaching program. One interchangeable wearable device preventing both back and shoulder injuries.
One small device, huge injury prevention and reduction in costs
The device prevents both shoulder and back injuries by:
Monitoring the workers individual movements and posture and providing real-time biofeedback* to the user by means of vibro-tactile, auditory or visual data on an accompanying mobile app
Providing 3 different micro-learning Manual Handling Training programs that can be completed in-situ
Exhibiting objective data on an available online management dashboard to empower organizations by providing them with valuable insight on injury risks to improve the safety of the entire workforce
*An article published by the Frontiers of Physiology reports that biofeedback in the form of vibro-tactile, auditory or by means of objective data provided to the individual can help to optimize training and health and prevent injury and overuse (8).
SoterCoach New Features:
One device interchangeable between back and shoulder placement
Streamlined deployment process
Easily switch between 3 different micro-leaning coachings available:
Back, Shoulder and Early Intervention Manual Handling Training programs
Tracking and Monitoring the Most Common Hazards that Cause a Shoulder or Back Injury:-
Protecting the two most common areas in the body prone to injury, the shoulders and back. With the ability to now easily switch between training programs and simply move the wearable device from either the back or shoulder, workers are gaining even greater results reducing the hazardous movements that result in injury. Working independently from the phone in the workplace, the solution can be implemented across very large and diversely located workforce, with the set-up process requiring less than 1 hour for 100’s of workers.
The advanced technology can pick up not just the movement but also the quality of a movement
Pushing and pulling
Static arm elevation
Repetitive arm movements
Twisting through the spine
Long awkward static postures
High Intensity: Faulty lifting/lowering with additional risk
Preventing Shoulder and Back Injuries Resulting in MSDs such as:
Rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement syndrome
Shoulder muscle strains
Disorders of the large muscles, including non-specific neck pain and tension neck syndrome
Sprains and strains of lower back muscles
How the Shoulder Solution was Built
The shoulder training functionality wasn’t built in a bubble. Soter Analytics partnered with St John of God (Subiaco) hospital (SJOGSH) in Australia to build the solution. SJOGSH reached out to Soter last year, deploying the existing wearable technology to prevent back injuries. They then put the Soter team up to a challenge - could the solution be adapted to help their workforce (like nurses, orderlies and a range of maintenance staff) prevent shoulder risk and reduce injury? Assisting Soter with some funding and making their workforce available for testing and refining the solution, the accuracy of the device and the usability was a great success - SJOGSH and Soter have now begun a multi-year relationship to help drive down both back and shoulder risk within their workforce.
Shane O’Brien, Manual Task Consultant from St John of God Subiaco Hospital was instrumental in assisting the development, “The Soter device has been successful in supporting caregivers in a variety of roles, including nursing, engineering, cleaning and maintenance. It has even been useful in ensuring the safety of injured staff returning to work”.
Research Team at Soter
Wearable tech for safety is proving to be a valuable tool to help reduce injury risk and is no longer subject to the ‘shiny object syndrome’ that technology can sometimes emit. One of the challenges for Soter Analytics in the beginning was to remove the fear from different organizations of deploying what was thought to be simply another short-term solution to their long-term injury risk problems. As we move into a more connected workforce, wearable devices such as SoterCoach are becoming part of an everyday solution and gift provided to workers to keep them safe, and are now proving to show ongoing benefits.
“In one simple instance, the device highlighted that one of our colleagues was bending at a low level roughly around 100 times a day so by easily moving some things around we have reduced around 26,000 high-risk bending movements in a year” Vimel Budhev, Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Travis Perkins.
Soter Analytics has over 5 years of user experience that has continually assisted them to build a product that is up to professional standards. The wearable solution has been proven by multiple case studies, white papers and a team of doctors, engineers, ergonomists, movement specialists and data scientists with all parameters backed by international safety standards for musculoskeletal safety in the workplace.
Based on direct feedback and insight from the wearers, tweaking all aspects of their technology in order to create high engagement and success . They understand the design issues that lead to discouragement of use (wearability, weight, size, app engagement, encroachment) and have worked hard to build a product that is easily deployable and user friendly with feedback showing a 98% positive rate of engagement and in app manual handling training programs.
This is a formula to keep working bodies healthy by allowing self-tracking of movements, providing bite size chunks of in-situ learnings, reminders and self-evaluation data displays, all combined to prevent injury on a daily basis, long term. An autonomous and individualized training, furnishing the movement behavioral change necessary for long-term injury prevention with objective data insights provided for management to identify key areas for change.
Lincoln Butler, Swissport General Manager Systems and Safety Pacific says, “We have seen what fitness trackers and smartwatches have done for engaging people in their own general well-being and fitness, and I expect this type of simple, effective device will help drive more preventative behavior at work.”
Completely Covering an Employee Work Life Cycle
With all bases covered, one wearable device, a framework with 5 elements consisting of the most data-driven employee work cycle solutions with a suite of AI tech products protecting and automating the process: -
Data-driven hiring: Data-driven job profiles and role requirements
New starter training: Worker driven wearable training program to build good working behaviors
Continuous improvement: Data to measure and reduce workplace risk
Early intervention: Fight the early stages of pain to avoid recordable injuries
Return to work: Training to manage a return-to-work and avoid re-injury
Long-Term Benefits in Brief
Material and measurable reduction in number of high-risk hazardous movements which reduce the potential of musculoskeletal injury
Materially safer workplace which reduces the need for employees to perform at-risk movements
A safer workplace, improved employer reputation and an increase in profitability
Soter provides a wearable solution and ergonomic coaching program which boasts accuracy above that of other observational techniques, is minimally invasive, easy to implement, and delivers multi-level results from the individual worker to the upper management. The Soter wearable device presents a new item in a safety manager’s toolkit for measuring musculoskeletal injury risk.
Please head to Soter website for more information www.soteranalytics.com. If you wish to conduct a trial or directly order SoterCoach click here https://soteranalytics.com/try-soter/ or if you simply have questions or want to chat to one of the Soter team members, email [email protected] and one of their ergonomists will happily assist you.
Düking, P., Holmberg, H., & Sperlich, B. (2017). Instant biofeedback provided by wearable sensor technology can help to optimize exercise and prevent injury and overuse. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 167–. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00167