Personal Wearables at Work Beware the Safety Risk
Think hackers are only interested in how many steps you took or when the last time was that you peed? If only they were that harmless. Imagine this.
You were proud last week of your latest new hire. Onboarding was seamless, and she’s sharp as a tack. Hey–she even took on two voluntary roles:
1. First aid resource person
2. Emergency evacuation chief
So when our new gal had a mild epileptic seizure while talking with me today, I knew I had serious decisions to make. Even though her last full-on seizure was, in her words, ancient history, and she optimistically thought her epilepsy was gone.
But deep down she knows better. Because the fact is, once a person becomes epileptic they are for life. The question is can we safely live with it at the office. We’ll have to make some serious changes. But never one to give up, I decided to look for ways to do just that.
Stark Reality of Statistics
According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control), 1.2% of the total US population have active epilepsy. That means about 3.4 million adults across the United States are epileptic.
Texas alone is estimated to have 245,600 people over 18 years old with epilepsy.
With these numbers in mind, I knew the right thing to do does not involve going back on my decision to employ this person. People with epilepsy are not necessarily unemployable.
One Smart Solution
My first decision was easy because I’m not one to quit anything at the first sign of challenge.
Instead, I decided to look to technology for a solution. I considered a device for our new hire to wear. XX, worn around the wrist, functions as a watch and much more. It has built-in sensors and algorithms that tell her and any other people she chooses when she is going to have a seizure.
We decided she can safely carry out her roles of First Aid Resource Person and Emergency Evacuation Chief under certain conditions. If we find two more volunteers to back her up. Those back-up partners would be connected to the device so they get notified about oncoming seizures. They would swing into action in our workplace if we need first aid or emergency evacuation at that moment.
Risk of Wearable Tech at Work
So remember those hackers? That mundane information they hack into, like how well you slept or if your breakfast was healthy? Think of it as a gate. If they unlock it, they can swing it wide open and step into your personal life. This means they’ll get your passwords and other financial details.
The next question is tough. When does the responsibility of data security fall on the shoulders of you, the employer? Particularly if your company is collecting data from your employees’ wearables to apply to studies of productivity.
Information: Your Ammunition
The wild west of wearables is chock full of ethical quandaries. At the same time, though, wearables can benefit your employees, your company, and yourself. But trusting all is safe with wearables simply because more and more companies are embracing them is risky. It could endanger your employees and your company. You need to arm yourself with information.
You’ll want to know the pros and cons of wearables in the workplace. It will help you decide how much you want to take your company into the wild west of wearables.