2012
10.15

RFID: In Case of Crisis

Safety first. The mantra made popular by a number of different industries including oil and gas, mining, and construction, to name a few, can be achieved through the use of technology. More and more, I have been hearing about how RFID (radio-frequency identification) can be used to improve worker safety on a job—and even security of students at schools.

The concept is fairly straightforward: Workers are tagged and tracked on an online dashboard. In case of emergency, a manager can easily see where each person is located. This beats the traditional method—walkie-talkies and clipboards to track on-site personnel. At hazardous sites, which are required to comply with government regulations, detailed emergency plans and documentation are needed.

As of late, the technology has been advancing very rapidly and is even being readily deployed. One of the more recent examples comes from MobileCON, held in San Diego October 9-11. AeroScout, a part of Stanley Black & Decker, announced its new Evacuation Monitoring solution for process manufacturing plants, metal and ore processing facilities, oil and gas refineries, mining operations, and others.

Through a visual online dashboard, users can easily see where each person is on a facility map, giving managers situational awareness in case of emergency and providing data for post-even incident investigation. AeroScout says the solution can reduce evacuation drill times by up to 50%, which means hundreds of man-hours saved per year in drills and lives saved in actual emergencies.

This type of tech is also being more readily used in various industries. We see similar RFID-tracking stories being told on construction projects and even in schools.

The concept of using RFID to track workers in case of crisis has been met with a bit of debate across a number of vertical industries. Does it violate worker privacy or is it simply a means by which to improve efficiencies and safety? While employees might feel like ‘Big Brother’ is watching, the fact of the matter is the tech is set up to help workers, rather than hinder.

With natural disasters and national states of emergencies filling headlines lately, businesses can never be too prepared for a crisis. I don’t know about you, but I would feel much safer knowing all workers and students are accounted for in case of emergency.

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