UPfront: Software solution for workplace safety

A lot of work injuries occur because people make their bodies do things they’re just not designed to do and the effects tend to be cumulative.

That’s problem being addressed by New Zealand-designed software product that promises to make workplaces safer and cut time lost through injury, stress or illness.

Work Analysis and Method (WAM) is new web-based integrated prevention and injury management product developed by Auckland company OccMed Services in partnership with US biomechanics expert and with funding help from Technology New Zealand.

Its point of difference is that it focuses on the biomechanical aspect of workplace tasks – the specific body movements and stresses involved in each and every job. The software collects and analyses data relating to both the workplace and individual employees (healthy and injured) providing means to better match employees with tasks and make those tasks safer to carry out.

This kind of workplace analysis is becoming an increasingly vital tool for employers who want to efficiently manage both prevention and injury processes, according to Chris Kirkham who is marketing the product through WorkPro New Zealand.

He says being able to match an employee’s physical capability against the specific functional needs of various tasks at the click of button means companies are less likely to hire someone who can’t do the work.

It also makes it easier to find alternative work for someone who has suffered an injury.

Psychological factors such as concentration and distraction – often the cause of accidents – are also taken into account, says Kirkham.

WAM is also able to manage all the requirements of the ACC’s Code of Practice for Manual Handling including identifying hazards, calculating risk scores for manual-handling tasks, suggesting measures to control risk and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of those measures.

Kirkham says the system will start reducing the amount of lost time in workplace within three months and has the potential to virtually eliminate it in the longer term.

He says New Zealand is “test bed” for the product which is expected to attract strong international demand.

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