Crest Foods Shares Their Pilot Program Experience

March 9, 2020

Crest Foods’ Karen Yardley shares their perspective on a being part of the MakuSafe paid pilot program.

Safety in the 21st Century by Karen Yardley

It’s amazing what technology can do for us in the 21st Century. Think of
everything you do on your phone or in your vehicle that you never would
have imagined just 10 years ago. Think of all the advances in medicine.
Look at the impact Redzone has had on our productivity and quality. Now
think about how technology is affecting employee safety here at work.

When we talk about guarding today, in many instances it means highly
sophisticated light curtains. We are currently researching robots and how
we might integrate them into our process in the very near future. And we
recently had the chance to learn more about a new technology developed
by a software entrepreneur, Gabriel Glynn. He and co-founder, Mark
Frederick, who focuses on the hardware side of the technology, have introduced MakuSafe, a Des Moines, Iowa based company that offers a wearable device that collects all sorts of vital data from the environment we work in.
The program was introduced to us by our Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company, United Heartland. The whole goal of a program like this is to be proactive – look at leading indicators to prevent accidents and injuries not just lagging indicators (after the fact).

You may have seen the base station located at the Main Plant by the time clocks since mid-October. MakuSafe set us up with about 20 devices which charge here at the base station after being worn for an 8 hour shift. We have about 18 employees who wear the devices each day while here at work to collect the data – everything from humidity, temperature, noise levels, air quality and light levels. The device also has an accelerometer to detect slips, trips and falls. MakuSafe has piloted the program at 5 other locations but Crest was the first food manufacturer. One of the goals of the pilot program we are participating in here at Crest is to help the cloud-based software learn what to look for when actions are detected on the accelerometer and sort those as either a “non-risk motion” or as a motion that requires an assessment…and we’re not just talking slips, trips and falls. We’ve looked at tasks that require the use of tools like bats and scrapers or awkward motions like handling large, although light material.

The device also incorporates a voice recorder and gives the user a simple and handy communication tool to report near misses or other hazards. The recorded message is translated into text and sent to the dashboard for management review and follow up.

MakuSafe has been very impressed with the level of participation by our employees during the pilot program and we have been very impressed with their level of support with technical issues and willingness to incorporate suggested changes to the program to make it more user friendly. Thanks to all who supported this shared endeavor as we learn about new ways to stay safe while here at work!

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