Exploring wearable technology use and importance of health monitoring in the hazardous occupations of first responders and professional drivers

Sarah Tucker, Soundarya Jonnalagadda, Cheryl Beseler, Aaron Yoder, Ann L Fruhling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) pose risks to the health and safety of professionals involved with transportation and emergency responses. Two distinct occupational groups that encounter HAZMAT events are first responders and professional drivers. Wearable technology is a tool that can assist with monitoring the health of professionals involved in HAZMAT events. The aim of this study was to compare and evaluate the perceptions of first responders and professional drivers on wearable technology and attitudes toward health monitoring. METHODS: A survey was administered to first responders (n = 112) and professional drivers (n = 218). Statistical approaches included bivariate analysis, latent class analysis, logistic regression analysis, and path analysis for the variables of interest. RESULTS: There were significant differences between the groups in perceptions of the benefits of monitoring certain health indicators. Professional drivers were more likely to have a history of wearable technology use compared with first responders (odds ratio [OR] = 10.1; 95% CI, 4.42-22.9), reported greater exposure to HAZMAT (OR = 4.32; 95% CI, 2.24-8.32), and were more willing to have their health data monitored by someone other than themselves (OR = 9.27; 95% CI, 3.67-23.4). A multinomial regression model revealed that occupation was not a significant predictor of class preference for acceptance of monitoring specific health indicators. CONCLUSIONS: Occupation appeared to be important but further analysis uncovered that characteristics of individuals within the occupations were more salient to the use of wearable technology. HAZMAT exposure, someone else monitoring health data, and experience with wearable technology use were found to be important factors for perceptions about benefits of health monitoring with wearable technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 4 2024

Keywords

  • first responders
  • HAZMAT
  • health monitoring
  • perception
  • professional drivers
  • wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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