Federal agencies Injury prevention

NIOSH launches center on sensor technologies

Washington – NIOSH has taken another step toward bridging rapid advancements in technology with its goal of preventing worker illnesses and injuries.

The agency recently launched the Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies, a virtual center intended to improve worker safety through the use of smartphones and other devices.

Through the project, NIOSH will analyze new developments in sensor technology and recommend ways to use those advancements in the workplace. Direct-reading devices and smartphone applications could help revolutionize industrial hygiene and safety evaluations, NIOSH Director John Howard said in a recent statement, by providing real-time data to detect harmful workplace exposures and other health risks.

A recent sensor-related project at NIOSH evaluated noise-monitoring applications, while another program being developed at the University of Michigan involves belt-worn monitors that detect volatile organic compounds. Technological developments offer great promise, Howard said, but also require further research to determine the accuracy of the measurements and how the monitors are calibrated.