What is the AlertMeter?
The AlertMeter is a non-intrusive, worker-friendly graphic test taken on a touchscreen tablet or smartphone that requires less than 90 seconds to complete. The interface displays different shapes that the user has to identify accurately and quickly.
The scoring algorithm, which is based on each individual’s baseline, takes speed, accuracy and item difficulty into account and then compares each day’s new score to the employee’s baseline score. The test measures both minimal standards and a permitted baseline deviation, both of which can be adjusted to different job risk profiles.
How is it used in a workplace?
Most organizations affix the touchscreen tablets to the wall near clock-in devices or common entries. Another option is using the mobile version of the test on smartphones. Both tests can be taken at any time throughout the day, or multiple times.
Deviations from personal baselines can provide helpful feedback on alertness, which can help an employee decide whether to proceed with critical tasks that require full focus, take a break, or reschedule the task. In addition to the platform’s ability to check for safety risk, it also assists individuals in maintaining high performance levels as a personal alertness metric.
How was the system developed?
The AlertMeter was developed from technology created by Bowles-Langley Technology through funding from NIOSH. It focuses on practical applications of well-proven brain testing technology. The patented design does not simulate any particular job function, but challenges a number of key brain functions that are necessary for all jobs. It was originally created to detect fatigue and is now being tested to confirm its ability to detect other types of impairment.
What do employees think of the test?
Surveys overwhelming show that employees appreciate the non-invasiveness of alertness tests, and employers feel that alertness tests create a safer work environment.
How does management know when someone deviates significantly from their baseline?
The system provides a dashboard that is accessible through login credentials. We can also set up text messages or other notifications for supervisors when a deviation is flagged. In addition, the user gets instant feedback at the screen after they take the test. Based on the company’s choice, the system can offer the worker a second opportunity to take the test if the deviation is too high.
What happens when someone’s score reflects a deviation that is too high?
Based on the company’s use of the system, supervisors or appropriate management will follow a procedure that may include having the employee take a retest to confirm results, a confidential conversation or safety observation, reassigning the employee to less risky duties for the remainder of the shift, a drug test, or other appropriate action.
Can you game the system?
The software has built-in detection for gaming that can be made more or less sensitive. If it detects gaming, the system aborts for a set period of time. As users become more adept at taking the test, their baselines automatically roll forward into more recent scores to reflect their improvement with the test, and the system is designed to notice if someone is intentionally trying to manipulate their baseline.
Is it difficult to learn?
Not at all; the test is actually enjoyable to take, and most people like to see their daily score as an insight into their current mental acuity.
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