Where’s the Workforce?
December 16, 2011
Affixing RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags to badges or hardhats on a jobsite can mitigate risk, improve safety, allow for realtime decision making, and provide workforce documentation. For the construction industry, this technology could become the way of the future when it comes to monitoring the workforce at the jobsite.
The way the technology works is an RFID tag—which consists of a microprocessor that can store data and a small antenna that can communicate data—is attached to a hardhat or a badge. In some cases, the RFID tag is embedded in a sticker or other adhesive label that is easily fastened to an object. From there, data is automatically sent about an object’s whereabouts to a central system that monitors location and provides detailed analysis and reporting capabilities.
The construction industry has many success stories surrounding the use of RFID for the purposes of tool or material tracking. The concept of using RFID for workforce management is also gaining traction in the industry lately.
For example, ADR Software, www.softwareadr.com, Reston, Va., provides services for RFID-based labor monitoring and reporting for the construction industry. This week, the company announced the latest version of its service—Workforce Monitor. The service provides labor monitoring, automated daily reporting, compliance reporting, resource scheduling, text alerts, and daily notes, among others. This service is currently monitoring more than 15,000 workers at various jobsites throughout the United States.
Interestingly, one of the big benefits of this type of service is the ability to improve safety and response readiness. If there is an emergency on a jobsite, the general contractor can immediately identify where all employees are located.
Another huge value is risk mitigation and compliance reporting. For a general contractor, being able to monitor the manhours of subcontractors can avoid unnecessary delays. Recording and storing documentation about this can be helpful in the case of litigation.
For the construction industry, RFID can be used across a number of processes—tool tracking, material tracking, and others. The use of RFID tags to keep track of workforce could ultimately allow the industry to take a giant step forward in the areas of risk management and safety on the jobsite.