New York Builder Brings Safety With Visibility via RFID

An active RFID system, provided by Triax Technologies, enables Lettire Construction Corp. to track the locations of 140 workers on its site at any given time, to ensure that they are authorized to be there, are not in harm's way and are working where they should be.
By Claire Swedberg

The sensor devices can be worn by a worker, and each has a rechargeable lithium battery built into it. They also come with an altimeter, an accelerometer and a gyroscope to identify an individual's movement, direction and impact in case of a fall. Each device contains an infrared sensor as well, to confirm that it is being worn.

The nodes installed around a worksite are about half the size of a lunch box, the company reports. They can receive transmissions from sensors at a distance of up to 1,000 feet in an open environment, or 200 feet in a dense indoor environment. An installation can also employ Triax boosters that forward data to the nodes. The nodes operate in a mesh network, with some of those nodes using a cellular connection to forward data to a cloud-basedserver, where software integrates that information with a company's management software.

The Spot-r system
Typically, each sensor is set to beacon every 10 seconds. Its transmission is then received by up to four of the closest receivers.

At the beginning of a project, Lettire and its subcontracting workers proceed to a site safety trailer for orientation. Each individual is given a picture ID once he or she has completed training, and that person's information is input into Lettire's Procore management software which helps Lettire manage and ensure safety compliance.

When workers arrive on site, the security guard scans the badge and assigns that person a Spot-r Clip which is stored with that employee's ID in the software. The software creates a historical and real-time record of worker activity and safety incidents, and management can use the data to view the total number of workers by floor and zone on the data dashboard.

The solution allows Ruf and other managers to view the activity on the worksite in real time, and if a potential incident takes place, they can receive an alert. For instance, if a Spot-r detects a sudden fall, managers will receive an alert indicationg when and where the problem occurred, whic worker was affected, as well as the distance of the fall; which they can use to help protect against potentially fraudulent claims. The software's algorithms can also determine whether the data is indicative of a fall, or if the worker might have simply dropped the device.

There have not been any accidents onsite since the system was taken live, Ruf reports, but the company has performed some simulations. The firm tied a sensor (belonging to a worker named Jose) to a cinder block, then dropped it from a second floor. "An alert came in that said Jose fell twelve feet and four inches," Ruf says.

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