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MakuSafe Wearable & MakuSafe Risk Analytics Platform
Workplace injuries can result from various factors, including unsafe conditions, unanticipated risks and the weather. And while continuous safety upgrading and innovations are making headway, accidents still claim lives.
For Gabriel Glynn, co-founder and CEO of MakuSafe, a winner of a Business Insurance 2021 Innovation Award, this is personal, because his father, before his retirement, was responsible for the safety of more than 2,000 workers, he said. Mr. Glynn also learned that much of his father’s time was spent filling out forms and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
When he began to dig deeper into the issue of workplace safety, “what I discovered was tragic,” Mr. Glynn said. “More than 1,000 people a day lose their life in a workplace accident.”
Because many workplace conditions can lead to injuries or fatalities, “an important question was what convergence of factors is responsible for accelerating risk?” he said.
This led to the insight that if such data could be collected, “we could begin to do what meteorologists do and forecast when and where risk will be heightened,” Mr. Glynn said.
To be effective, however, data would need to be gathered on an individual worker basis. Identifying the issues would mean processing the data in real time to pinpoint unfavorable conditions and intervene before an accident occurred.
The outcome was MakuSafe, a matchbook-sized device worn by workers that was launched in the fall of 2020. Numerous sensors monitor environmental conditions faced by each worker in real time, without collecting personal data.
The device is also nonintrusive. “We don’t provide feedback to the worker such as beeping, shocking or alerting to make them think they are doing something wrong,” he said. Instead, when conditions become unsafe, such as exposure to heat exhaustion, high noise levels, poor air quality or low light levels, real-time notification is sent to safety or operations people.
Once they have this information, “they can address the problem directly with the person involved,” he said.
The results, especially from insurance industry companies that have tested the product with policyholders, “are remarkable,” Mr. Glynn said. “They are seeing a more than 50% reduction in claims and more than 90% reduction in the severity of claims.”
The take-up “has been pretty lightning fast for us,” he added. “Since our launch in the fall of 2020, we now have job sites in about 20 states and two countries — and soon we will be in four countries.”
Restrictions on in-person collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic do not seem to have stifled innovation in the insurance and risk management sector.