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RFID Cuts Worker Alert Response Time in Half

Gilbane Building Co. has reduced the amount of time it takes to respond to a worker's help call by about 91 percent, using an RFID solution from Triax to automatically detect a potential injury and issue an alert with that individual's location to the medics onsite.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 17, 2018

Global construction firm Gilbane Building Co. is expanding its deployment of an RFID-enabled worker-safety management system to a total of 12 construction sites this year. The Triax Technologies solution, already in use at six sites, enables the construction company to increase its response speed to the site of an accident or health emergency, and to reduce the amount of time required to account for workers during an evacuation. Eventually, the company hopes to expand further by using the technology to track some equipment on its sites, and to leverage analytics to improve efficiency.

After first installing the system last year at a single construction site at Connecticut's Fairfield University, the company found that the average time needed to locate an injured individual dropped by 91 percent with the use of Spot-r RFID-enabled clips, which not only detect a possible injury but transmit that data, along with zone-based location data, to software so that responders can quickly take action. The solution consists of Spot-r Clips worn by every individual on the work site, transmission-receiving nodes in worksite zones and cloud-based software to manage the collected data. Gilbane is also leveraging Spot-r EvacTags deployed around the site to aid in evacuations.

The system enables the construction company to reduce the amount of time required to account for workers during an evacuation.
Gilbane, headquartered in Providence, R.I., is the 12th largest construction company in the United States, providing both building- and facility-management services. It has completed such high-profile projects as the Prudential Center New Jersey Devils Arena in Newark and the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The company began looking for a technology-based solution to improve safety for its workers about 18 months ago, says Jason Pelkey, Gilbane's CIO and senior VP. While projects vary in size, a typical site might have 300 workers on location—both Gilbane employees and sub-contractors—and, at times, someone can become hurt.

Gilbane's Jason Pelkey
"All kinds of things can happen in day-to-day life—everything from cuts and scrapes to a twisted ankle," Pelkey says, noting that such injuries are often precipitated by a fall. The company has several layers of safety support in place, including medics stationed at each work site, an onsite safety manager, and a safety director at the company's headquarters to oversee all work sites.

Traditionally, if someone were to become injured, he or she would need to rely on the help of a coworker in the area, who would then have to use a phone or physically proceed to a medic's location. The company opted to deploy the Triax Spot-r system in late 2017 to make emergency communication faster and more effective. The Spot-r Clip's built-in sensors detect falls on the job, triggering an automatic message to an onsite medic.

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