Real-time Monitoring Through A Connected Jobsite Platform

A mesh network system for monitoring worker location, equipment utilization and safety incidents.

Description:

Safety incidents can be reduced on construction jobsites by an innovative administrative control: a connected platform that provides real-time monitoring of workers and resources. This cloud-based platform uses data collected from devices worn by workers, tagged onto equipment or mounted at jobsites. It can help detect falls on the job and alert site personnel, ensure only authorized equipment is operated, act as direct reporting devices, and facilitate evacuation procedures.

A real-time monitoring platform, such as the Spot-r network by Triax Technologies, uses a proprietary mesh network that can collect jobsite data from three types of devices: Spot-r Clip, Spot-r EquipTag, and Spot-r EvacTag.  The Spot-r Clip and EquipTag transmit data to network hardware placed throughout the jobsite, which is then processed and displayed onto a cloud-based dashboard accessible by smart devices (figure 1).  This information can also be integrated with Building Information Modeling (e.g. Autodesk's software packages), a concept that offers software application to integrate building information for hazard identification and safety planning, or project management solutions like Procore for streamlined reporting.  

Figure 1. The Spot-r network dashboard displaying real-time information on smart devices (Source: used with permission by Triax Technologies)

Spot-r Clip


Figure 2. Spot-r Clip wearable device (Source: used with permission by Triax Technologies)

The Spot-r Clip (figure 2) is a wearable device that identifies the zone-based location of workers in real-time without using Global Positioning System.  It automatically connects to the Spot-r network when workers arrive on site, automating time and attendance and providing real-time workforce location by floor and zone. The device detects falls including who, where, and distance of the fall. By pushing the button at the bottom of the Clip, workers can report a hazard or other injury to designated supervisors from anywhere on site. And in situations that require evacuation, authorized personnel can trigger 80 decibel alarms emitted by each worker’s device.  Further, this device also stores worker accreditation information, including equipment operator certifications.

Spot-r EquipTag


Figure 3. Spot-r EquipTag (Source: used with permission by Triax Technologies)

The Spot-r EquipTag (figure 3) monitors real-time equipment location, operator identity, and utilization. This device works in conjunction with the Spot-r Clip to detect and record workers in proximity (up to 24 inches) of tagged equipment within the Spot-r network and references worker certification information maintained in the dashboard to send unknown or unauthorized operator notifications. Aggregate data derives operational history, such as active versus idle time within specific zones, and hours logged by subcontractor. The network enables it to be used indoors and outdoors within the Spot-r network, a key differentiator from traditional telematics like Global Positioning System (which always requires a clear line of sight to the sky) that only provides horizontal location information.  The Spot-r can also provide vertical/floor-based location information.  This device is rechargeable with a 6-month battery lifespan.

Spot-r EvacTag


Figure 4. Spot-r EvacTag (Source: used with permission by Triax Technologies)

The Spot-r EvacTag (figure 4), installed around the jobsite, augments current evacuation procedures with a 100 decibel alarm and flashing LED lights. In a situation that requires an evacuation, supervisors can trigger an alert via the Spot-r dashboard, and upon hearing and/or seeing the alert, workers can proceed to their muster point. Spot-r Clips and dashboard enable supervisors to monitor real-time worker headcounts and location, helping to streamline evacuation procedures.


Risks Addressed:

The large and dynamic nature of construction jobsites makes maintaining site control a challenge, particularly complying with regulations and monitoring the safety of workers. Consequently, a real-time monitoring platform can reduce construction risks from a variety of hazards, including falls and hazards associated with unauthorized equipment operation.


How Risks are Reduced:

Implementing a real-time monitoring platform to monitor workers and equipment in real-time can improve safety through preliminary risk identification.  In one example provided by the Lettire Construction Corporation, after receiving multiple three-foot fall alerts at the same location from Spot-r Clip devices, a site safety officer was able to reinforce a safety practice to use a ladder instead of jumping into an excavation pit.  With the Spot-r EquipTag, hazards associated with using equipment can be reduced by alerting management if an equipment operator is unknown or unauthorized to be using the equipment.  Finally, pairing the Spot-r EvacTag within the Spot-r network can also expedite evacuation times.

In 2011, a proof of concept system design was developed as a real-time identity information tracking solution for proactive accident prevention on construction sites (Yang et al, 2012).  This was a wireless sensor network system by ZigBee that utilized radio frequency identification based technologies to capture and transmit data from a tag.  The data can include workers' identification as well as access authorities, time of inspection, and conditions of equipment.  The concept was to affix tags onto personnel, equipment, and material which transponded data to routers dispersed throughout the jobsite.  The collected data was then uploaded to a network for analysis.  Results from this study demonstrated the feasiblity of the system and hardware design and their ability of tracking the near-miss events in the scenario of a construction site.  In conclusion, this study served as a technical reference design for future system integrations, in which more functions, such as environment monitoring and real-time location tracking, are considered.

 

Effects on Productivity:

Per a Lettire Construction project, productivity is increased through saving 214 total man hours per month with automated time and attendance.  Using the Spot-r network to check in one hundred workers took 9 minutes versus 40 minutes with two sign-in stations.  As a result, 109 man hours per month were saved by reducing line wait times.  In addition, by reducing manual work and eliminating the need for two security guards overseeing the check-in process (versus the originally-scheduled one), 105 support staff hours are freed up each month to focus on other tasks.


Additional Considerations:

While a real-time monitoring platform is convenient for keeping track of attendance and time-in and -out recording, security personnel at the gate should still be considered as these personnel also serve a role in directing emergency equipment when needed.

A real-time monitoring system can help identify lagging indicators (i.e. the three-foot fall alerts) to better prepare job hazard analysis documents and safety planning.


Contributors:

Jean Christophe Le, MPH - CPWR The Center for Research and Training
Bruce Lippy, Ph.D., CIH, CSP, FAIHA - CPWR The Center for Research and Training

This solution page was adapted from a direct correspondence with the Triax Technologies Content Marketing Manager Annie Christian.


Hazards Addressed:

Availability

Triax Technologies
To obtain information, visit Spot-r network or contact 1-203-803-9879

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.