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Thinking Inside the Box to Save Lives

Texas Mutual thinks inside the box to save lives

David Wylie, Senior Technical Writer

Safety resonates loudest when we deliver the message where the work gets done – auto repair shops, manufacturing facilities, oil rigs. So I decided to ditch the comfort of my ergonomically correct office chair and walk a construction site this morning. The experience could have cost me my life.

Everything was fine until I got distracted by a text message and fell about 20 feet off the roof I was scrutinizing.

If you believe bad things happen in bunches, the ensuing events won’t surprise you.

In the span of five minutes, I managed to absorb the blow of a falling cinder block, get engulfed in a trench collapse and run head-on into a high-voltage wire. Talk about a shock.

Fortunately, my brushes with death were virtual, not literal, thanks to a new app developed by Texas Mutual. The app, aptly named Safety in a Box, empowers users to learn life-saving lessons without putting themselves in harm’s way. Here’s how it works.

Safety in a box walks users through four common construction site hazards.

The user downloads the Safety in a Box app onto their smartphone. Then, they slip their phone into a cardboard viewer also aptly named Google Cardboard. The app takes it from there, walking the user through a construction site, where they encounter the industry’s four deadliest workplace hazards: falls, electrocutions, struck-by incidents and trenching incidents.

Safety in a Box is a product of a new phenomenon that is changing the way we protect workers from on-the-job injuries. Of course, there will never be a substitute for time-tested safe work behaviors. But those behaviors are increasingly being supplemented by tech tools that remove human error from the equation.

The union between technology and safety has already been fruitful, and there’s certainly more to come. In case you haven’t been keeping score, here’s a quick review of where were are.

Apps
Millennials live life largely from their mobile devices. Safety professionals are meeting them on their terms with a host of powerful apps. Concerned your employees need hearing protection? There’s an app for that. Want to know what to do in case of a tornado, fire or other natural disaster? There’s an app for that, too.


Driver-assist safety tools
Wearables
The wellness industry has been leveraging wearable technology for years to help people eat, exercise and sleep their way to better health. Technology and safety professionals built on the concept, designing wearable tools that gather data about us and our surroundings, and then nudge us toward safer behaviors.

Blind-spot warning systems, smart headlights and other driver-assist safety features are a priority for 76 percent of drivers who are at least 50 years old, according to a new survey. The survey suggests older drivers equate advanced technology with enhanced safety. Still, safe-driving principles will never go out of style. So buckle up, slow down, stay awake and focus on driving.

Autonomous vehicles
Driver-assist safety tools represent the half-way point toward technology’s ultimate destination: removing humans and our flaws from the act of driving. Google has been testing fully autonomous vehicles in select markets, including right here in Austin. With backing from the government, 10 million self-driving cars could be on the road by 2020. At that point, we’ll simply be along for the ride.

Stay tuned
Technology is revolutionizing safety at a dizzying pace. Today’s trendy tools could be tomorrow’s relics. Follow our blog and stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

About Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Austin-based Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a policyholder-owned company, is the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance. Texas Mutual provides coverage to 40 percent of the market, representing over 66,000 companies, many of which are small businesses. Since 1991, the company has provided a stable, competitively priced source of workers’ comp insurance for Texas employers. Helping employers prevent workplace accidents is an important part of Texas Mutual’s mission.