Mitigate Operator Fatigue with a Wristband
BY Sandy Lender
Switching from nighttime to daytime paving, working long hours in one cab or any number of off-the-job factors can result in worker fatigue during the job. When project activities require operation of heavy equipment, it’s essential that workers remain alert not only for their own safety, but also for the safety of colleagues in the area.
To assist workers and managers in assessing when a worker has become fatigued while operating machinery or injured somewhere on a jobsite, safety-minded technologies step in.
In a recent Insurance Business Magazine article titled “Wearable Tech Cuts Costs in Construction,” the authors discussed a sensor technology from Triax Technologies of Connecticut, specifically. The report stated the Triax sensor is designed to be worn on a tool belt, thus can track workers’ whereabouts with an emergency locator button in the event of accidents or injuries. The technology is set up on a site using a “mesh” Internet system to connect all areas online; from there, the site’s safety personnel can view what’s going on.
The COO for Triax, Pete Schermerhorn, explained that the sensors are aware of the worker’s position. If a worker slips or falls on the site, within the virtual grid, the sensor knows it and sends an automatic notification to a site supervisor. Schermerhorn explained that the system will log how far the person fell, where the person fell on the site and who else was nearby.
Human Condition Safety also has a trackable device, according to Insurance Business Magazine, which is embedded in the construction worker’s vest. It is designed to monitor the worker’s movements in any high-risk areas.
A company that may be more familiar to readers, and which has a fatigue-monitoring device in its safety arsenal now, is Caterpillar. The company shared with AsphaltPro:
“The Cat system (developed by Seeing Machines and acquired by Caterpillar) is very popular for large mining trucks, which operate 24 hours a day with drivers often working 12-hour shifts. The system is finding its way into smaller trucks and smaller operations (i.e. aggregates) as the problems presented by fatigue become more widely known and understood. Caterpillar also offers a remote monitoring/fatigue assessment service as well as fatigue/shift work training through Caterpillar Safety Services.”
The device is a Cat Smartband, worn as a wristband, that can be scanned when the worker arrives on site. It “tells” what level and quality of sleep the worker has had, and what percentage of risk the worker poses to the job at hand. Then the Driver Safety System (DSS) provides real-time driver fatigue intervention—the in-cab monitor keeps its eye on the operator. When a driver is distracted or begins to drift off to sleep behind the wheel, an in-cab alarm and seat vibrator alerts the driver at that moment. The system also sends an alert to the fleet monitoring center to help the company mitigate fatigue and distracted driving events.
The goal, of course, is to protect workers. But the system also has a goal of improving operations by allowing operators to focus on their jobs; eliminating requirements to interact with the system.
Also see information about the Cat wearable fatigue assessment device here.