New High-Tech RFID Monitoring System Could Save Lives, Nerves

Beep… Beep… Beep…

We’ve all heard the sound of vehicles backing up at construction sites. A couple minutes of it can get on anyone’s nerves, but what if you worked there? Like an annoying co-worker, it seems that construction workers tend to just tune them out.

That’s dangerous if it means being backed over by a truck.

The City of Edmonton is conducting a trial of a new system called Scan-Link Armour, designed to detect workers instead of objects, in the hope of reducing construction site fatalities and injuries. According to GlobalTV Edmonton, there have been eight fatalities over the last two years in Alberta, resulting from equipment backing into people. Based on radio-frequency identification (RFID), workers will wear RFID tags, and the vehicle operator will be notified when someone/something with these tags is near.

“When you’re on a construction site and you’ve got a couple of pieces of equipment, every time they go into reverse there’s always a beeping sound, so what happens at the end of the day is you’re pretty much saturated with that sound,” says Edmonton’s Aggregate Recycling Program Supervisor, Blair Buchholtz. “With this technology, the operator in the cab knows that as soon as someone is within six metres at the back of that unit, it beeps in their cab.”

While each unit costs $3200, and each vest or helmet tag is $30 to $70, the units are not restrictively expensive. And, of course, there is also the added benefit for those living near construction sites.