14th April, 2014

New technology ‘will reduce workplace injuries’

Workers' compensation insurance claims could be set to fall in Australia after the development of new technology that aims to reduce workplace injuries.

Insurance giant Allianz has teamed up with medical device firm dorsaVi to promote the use of the latter company's ViSafe technology.

Using biomechanical and electrophysiological breakthroughs to measure employees' muscle activity and general movement, the device should help people better manage the demands of physical jobs such as construction and the trades. 

The technology is also expected to help evaluate how soon and in what capacity individuals can return to the workplace after suffering an injury.

Norm Cockerell, general manager for Victoria workers' compensation at Allianz, said the partnership will benefit all parties involved in the workplace injury process.

"ViSafe is a unique device that has ability to assess the stress and strains on an employee's body while undertaking their job, providing information that can be used to make changes to improve workplace safety and reduce injuries," he stated.

"This is clearly good for workers, but there are also significant benefits in reducing the economic impact of workplace injury on the employers and the broader community."

Victorian health services provider Monash Health has now commenced a biomechanical assessment program of workers using the device.

Safe Work Australia figures show there were 132,570 workers' compensation claims for serious work-related injuries or illness in 2010-11. One fifth of these involved bad back problems. 

In 2011-12, sprains and strains made up 42.4 per cent of serious claims, while musculoskeletal disorders were responsible for 13.7 per cent.

Andrew Ronchi, dorsaVi chief executive, said the ViSafe product will help companies to identify higher risk areas of their occupational environments and subsequently make improvements.

He remarked: "The likelihood of workplace injury can be reduced, which cuts down on costs associated with workplace health and safety."

Author: Murray Bruce