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When Does Tracking Workers Make Sense?

The right system can provide safety, privacy and security, and serve the interests of both a company and its employees.
By John Shoemaker

What about the cost of such a solution?
Of course, every facility is different. Requirements are variable, and specific objectives can be paramount. The installation of a plant- or enterprise-wide solution involves much more than ID cards, tags and readers. It also requires architecture (including design, installation, integration and support for both hardware and software) that can deliver real-time visibility during practice and emergency evacuation drills. Such an advanced solution might cost up to $500 per worker, but the systems are proven, easily deployed and reliable, and the cost is normally recovered completely after two or three evacuation drills, due to the time saved during the drill while having an automated, audited system.

Other benefits of a worker-location system include lower insurance premiums, auditable compliance, and the simple confidence and peace of mind that comes from knowing there is an effective system in place to safeguard employees. This is attractive for existing staff members, as well as for the recruitment of new personnel.

Finally, for senior management, a company's reputation is often at stake, and their commitment to worker safety using active RFID should clearly be more than a simple written statement, policy or poster. What's more, the increased visibility provided by the technology might result in saving a worker from being injured or killed onsite. How much is it that worth?

John Shoemaker has spent the past 25 years in the AIDC industry and functioned at the C-level for several technology companies with wireless and sensor solutions serving many industries worldwide. Currently, he is the executive VP of Identec Solutions Inc., a supplier of active UHF RFID technology designed to increase people safety, productivity and efficiency in harsh environments.

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