May 4, 2021
By Wendy Johnson, Vice President, Supply Chain Environmental Health and Safety
Three years ago, we invested in a leading-edge safety wearable technology program and began deploying it at a Walmart grocery distribution center, DC 7016, in Gordonsville, Virginia.
Here are some of the results and impacts we’ve seen to date.
Setting the Stakes
Every day, every shift, our associates work tirelessly to provide essential items to millions of people worldwide. Their commitment to the customer is unwavering. Our commitment to their safety is the same.
“Safety is the one thing that our associates take home with them at the end of the day,” Curtis Wills, Gordonsville’s Assistant General Manager, said. “If they injure themselves, they have to take that home with them to their family.”
Turning to Tech
As part of our focus on associate safety, we are always looking for innovative technology to make the job easier and more efficient.
In 2018, we began pursuing a more data-centric approach to associate safety. We looked at a lot of options and landed on StrongArm Technologies and their FUSE Risk Management Platform. Their safety wearables were easy to integrate into our existing routine across multiple job functions. The data provided was intuitive and actionable, and they clearly cared about worker safety as much as we did.
From the beginning, we were transparent with associates about the goal behind deploying FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades they’d soon forget was even there. We wanted them to understand what the device is measuring (and what it’s not), why we're deploying it and how it works. Once they understood that it's a tool for their benefit, the adoption happened quickly.
Within the first year of deploying FUSE, targeted, ergonomic-related injuries decreased by nearly 65% across participating associates.