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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
Nov 21, 2017

Hundreds of workers come and go to and from a busy construction site in New York City each day, from a dozen or more different contracting companies. Managing which individuals are at which locations, and when, has traditionally involved manual head counts or bar-code scans, at best.

Lettire Construction recently adopted Internet of Thing (IoT)-based technology, using active RFID, that not only automates the identification of individuals and the companies they work for as they move around its work sites, but also tracks workers' activity and reduces the risk that anyone is injured.

Acacia Gardens will be situated on the corner of East 120th Street and First Avenue in East Harlem, N.Y.
The Spot-r worker safety system, provided by Triax Technologies, allows the construction company to identify employees wearing Spot-r IoT sensors, and to connect workers and management onsite in the event of an emergency. With the technology in place, Lettire reports that it has achieved total digital worksite visibility, improved communication and safety, and reduced the amount of time personnel spend tracking down people and information. Spot-r also helps Lettire to meet city jobsite compliance regulations, and provides historic data that can be used to create safer, more efficient worksites.

Lettire builds sustainable and affordable multi-family housing and mix-use properties in New York and the Tristate area, says Bernard (Bernie) Ruf, Lettire's director of operations. The company is using the Spot-r system at its 205,000-square-foot, 12-story Acacia Gardens project, Ruf says—a new brick building on the corner of East 120th Street and First Avenue in East Harlem. The development will create 179 new affordable homes for residents with low and extremely low incomes, some of whom were formerly homeless. Going forward, Ruf says, the Triax technology will be utilized at all of its construction projects.

When it comes to access control in New York City projects, Ruf says, there are many layers of control and documentation required. Managers must track who is onsite at any given time, the companies they work for and the training they have had. Access to a site can also expire due to safety training requirements, for instance, so Lettire must ensure that no one is onsite whose authorization is out of date.

For access control, Ruf says, "We already have photo ID cards" that can be scanned, providing a record of who reported to work at a particular site, and when. The Spot-r system, he explains, "doesn't replace that—it kicks it up a notch."

Spot-r consists of 900 MHz active proprietary RFID sensors about the size of a traditional beeper, as well as receivers known as nodes. These, says Chad Hollingsworth, Triax Technologies' CEO, create a proprietary mesh network.

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