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28 -April- 2022

Regina tech startup debuts new proactive safety software

Regina tech startup Betterworks Technologies debuted a new safety software tool on Wednesday that aims to streamline the way construction sites analyze workers’ safety risk.

Vergo, standing for “video ergonomics” is an AI-powered safety software that founder and president Christian Browne sees replacing current technologies geared toward safety evaluations.

The project was developed in partnership with Innovation Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) as part of this year’s innovation challenge grant program.

Browne gave a demo of Vergo’s safety software, which allows users to upload video of workers preforming tasks on site, to be processed and returned with a detailed risk assessment report within minutes.

The AI tracks the subject’s body movements and joint angles, allowing the report to pinpoint behaviours that could lead to workplace injuries on a high-to-low risk scale.

The software’s AI uses the Rapid Entire Body Assessment tool, considered to be the international standard in safety evaluation. It largely assesses for potential musculoskeletal injury, which Browne said is currently a leading workplace safety concern.

“The cost of these injuries is astronomical,” said Browne. “And more importantly, it negatively affects the lives of millions of workers and their families.”

For SCSA board chair Errol Fisher, who pointed out that Saskatchewan’s construction workforce is anticipated to expand by 10 per cent in 2023, this type of technology could play a vital role.

“Part of finding and retaining skilled workers is injury prevention,” said Fisher.

Vergo doesn’t require any wearable devices and provides data before potential injuries occur, which Browne said sets it apart from other programs on the market.

“You’ll be able to clearly identify risks before they become a problem on the worksite,” said Browne.

It also allows for more regular safety assessment at a lower cost in both time and money, with minimal disruption to worksites.

Browne said the consultation process largely spoke to construction leaders, but the software could be utilized in almost any workplace scenario concerned with ergonomic improvement.

“Not just the construction industry but manufacturing, health care …” said Browne.

Innovation Saskatchewan issued this year’s challenge in June, asking tech startups to work on creating safer workplaces in construction.

The winning company selected is provided a $10,000 grant to develop its pitched product, during a 16-week window with the challenge’s partner.

For Vergo, Browne felt that the opportunity to work directly with the SCSA and, ultimately, Vergo’s end-users was very beneficial to development.

“One of the real goals of this was to connect us with industry,” said Browne. “And we’re excited to continue those partnerships.”

Browne said the new tech is slated to be offered on a subscription basis for users. But first Vergo is seeking industry collaborators in the province to take part in a pilot period, before the software launches fully.

“We want to be able to do some reliability testing from clients and end users,” said Browne.

News Courtesy: Regina Leader Post

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