Can workwear reduce work-related injuries? We believe so and are therefore part of the Swedish research project “Smart textiles for sustainable working life”, aimed to contribute to prevent work related injuries by developing smarter workwear with integrated wearable technology.
A HISTORY OF EXPLORING NEW TECHNIQUES
Snickers Workwear have a history of exploring new techniques within workwear and always strive to push the boundaries as regards advanced design allied to superior functionality, comfort, protection and durability. New technology, as wearable technology is now opening up for new possibilities to improve the professional life of hard-working craftsmen.
6 OF 10 EXPERIENCE PAIN OR PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT AT WORK
A recent study made by SIFO shows that six out of ten Swedish trade professionals experience physical discomfort or pain as a result of their work. Of these, almost half experience neck and shoulder pain, and one in three has pain in their hands.
“The SIFO-study clearly illustrates the need to identify smarter solutions and new ways of working. Our focus has been on preventing work related injuries through better workwear for craftsmen. We are now working continuously to try and combine technology and IoT solutions with workwear”, says Jenny Falk, Project Manager for Snickers Workwear.
GOVERNMENT FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECT
The research project “Smart textiles for sustainable working life” aims to develop smarter workwear by integrating wearable technology. The project is partly funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s government agency for innovation.
Besides Snickers Workwear, some of the project participants include Scania CV AB, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Cars, The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Karolinska Institutet. Together they share the long-term aim of preventing work-related injuries by developing workwear that measures, analyses and visualises the wearer’s heart rate, muscle activity, posture, movements and any additional load.
PREVIOUS TEST ON 100 CRAFTSMEN
Already in 2016 Snickers Workwear carried out a test with wearable technology, where 100 craftsmen across five countries worked in trousers featuring wearable technology, in order to measure their performance. Read about the test here.
“The tests didn’t just change our view on technological solutions. The test subjects themselves were suddenly able to see in black and white that they were putting too much stress on their knees or were using too much force. An ideal way to challenge the unfortunately all too widespread ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude,” says Jenny Falk, Project Manager.
NEW TESTS WITH TWO PROTOTYPES
As part of the “Smart textiles for sustainable working life” project testing has begun of two prototype products at Scania in Södertälje Sweden; a glove that measures the hand’s force and angle and a t-shirt with sensors that detect the back angle, which provide a system with actual values, enabling the user to correct his or her working techniques.
The aim with the project is to reduce sick leave due to work-related injury by 10 percent within five years after the introduction of a finished product.