Connected Workforce Safety Testbed

Fast Facts




Construction (also applicable in Manufacturing, Mining, Oil & Gas, Transportation)


Worker safety is a primary concern in industries around the world. According to the International Labor Organization, 2.3 million people worldwide die annually as a result of occupational illnesses and accidents at work. Furthermore, there are 860,000 occupational accidents every day that lead to injuries. Overall, the direct and indirect costs of such incidents is estimated to be US $2.8 trillion worldwide. The principal goal of the Connected Workforce Safety testbed is to demonstrate how IoT technologies can be employed to improve worker safety and worker well-being, while facilitating safety compliance and enabling safe work practices. In turn, this testbed also ensures safe work operations in industrial workplaces.


The objectives of the Connected Workforce Safety testbed are:

  1. Evaluate and deduce optimal communication network architecture for a sensor-enabled workforce and smart infrastructure.
  2. Improve workplace safety by pre-empting or reducing near miss events and safety incidents and improve cross-site visibility for corporation-wide safety.
  3. Improve visibility into worker well-being by measuring worker health vitals in order to proactively manage worker health and job assignment.
  4. Build new safety-compliance indicators enabled by IoT by analyzing data feeds from connected workforce and operations in order to improve safety standards (eg. OSHA).
  5. Improve safety training by proactively incorporating insights from sensor/operations data into augmented and virtual reality-enabled educational programs.


The solution features an edge layer that includes a variety of sensors integrated into wearables, such as helmets, watches, eyewear; instrumented heavy equipment, gateways and access points; a platform layer that consists of device management and data analytics capabilities; and an enterprise tier that provides business applications and dashboards for an operations command center and emergency response teams. The effectiveness and success of the testbed will be ascertained by measuring and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with each of the usage scenarios that are addressed in this testbed.


Worker related injuries in the US result in direct costs for worker’s compensation costs to the tune of $60 billion; indirect costs can be up to 2 times to 17 times more. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performs 31,948 inspections per year of which 74% result in penalties. Costs of the penalties in US last year amounted to $259 million. The connected workforce safety testbed can potentially avoid direct and indirect costs associated with worker injuries and associated insurance-related expenditures.

Business benefits:

  • Efficient and productive work sites owing to increased sense of safety.
  • Increased proactive visibility into workforce operations as it relates to overall safety of the worker.
  • Faster response times, in case of safety incidents, as the Workforce Operations Command Center is enabled to monitor workforce operations in an uninterrupted manner.
  • Fewer safety incidents in workplace, leading to lower costs associated with worker insurance, emergency response, lawsuits, and accidents.

Economic benefits:

  • Optimized spend on safety training as the connected worker enables safety as a “proactive” exercise rather than reactive one
  • Increased revenues owing to fewer safety incidents that disrupts production/worker schedules
  • Productive workforce owing to fewer incidents resulting in increased yield

Societal benefits:

  • Fewer safety incidents, resulting in increased morale of workers and a sense of inherent safety, even when working in hazardous environments

The Testbed

The connected workforce safety testbed improves worker safety, reduces safety incidents, improves safety compliance reporting, and improves worker safety training programs by integrating sensor insights with augmented reality/virtual reality technologies. The testbed aims to evaluate and validate a connected system of personal protective equipment, sensors, and wearables, along with connected infrastructure, to deliver safe worksites for workers.

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