How Wearable Technology is Saving Lives

We’ve all heard about the coming boom of wearable technology, though how useful much of it will be to the construction industry is unknown. Integrating wearable tech into site safety procedures however, is already a win.

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Construction jobsites are busy places. There are workers on the ground, workers inside buildings and traffic from workers operating heavy construction equipment. When these workers aren't aware of each other, that is when accidents happen. In fact, according to OSHA over 10% of all construction fatalities are related to workers being struck by an object. But what if that could change through the use of new wearable technology?

SiteZone Proximity Warning System (PWS), is an audible and visual warning system designed to reduce the risk of vehicle personnel collisions and can be used anywhere the proximity of people and vehicles working together is of concern.

The devices use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to transport data. These tiny electronic chips transfer information from a transponder to a receptor. Pedestrians wear a small RFID transponder on their hard hat or sleeve, and a small unit is fitted to the vehicle. SiteZone PWS then produces a detection zone, or bubble, around a vehicle, machine or even a restricted area. This invisible radio frequency field completely surrounds the vehicle and is used to detect the presence of the wearable transponders. 

Is This the Hardhat of the Future?

"Don't Burst the Bubble" 

SiteZone uses the analogy of a "safety bubble" to help relay the message of their technology. The bubble is the danger zone that pedestrians should avoid to prevent accidental collision. When the detection zone is breached, the personnel wearing the SiteZone transponder has "burst the bubble."

The machine operator is immediately alerted to their presence and can take the appropriate action. When this occurs, both the driver and the operator receive warnings through vibration, audio or visual alerts. This two-way alarm is important since it is the responsibility of both the driver and the pedestrian to avoid a collision. SiteZone also offers optional external alarms that can be placed on top of equipment to sound in the event of a breach. 

The “Don’t Burst the Bubble” message also provides an easily memorable visual reminder to workers not to breach the danger zone of any vehicle or heavy plant, useful in staff inductions and training programs.

Importantly, if a pedestrian does breach a safety zone, SiteZone automatically logs the incident. SiteZone's developer, OnGarde, has also now launched its OverSite product which transfers all logged data to a secure website. And since each RFID transponder can be individually identified, managers can identify repeat offenders and target further safety training.

Through use of this technology, workers are becoming inherently more aware of the risks they encounter every day and are adapting their behavior to protect themselves from potentially dangerous situations.

The Sitezone PWS can be deployed onto a wide range of vehicles and machinery across multiple disciplines. It can also be used to tag critical or valuable assets to prevent vehicle collisions or create exclusion zones around no entry areas and hazardous machinery.

More: Radio Sensors in Construction Safety Vests Could Be the PPE of the Future