Remote tracking system could prevent construction accidents

Remote tracking using ultra-wideband frequencies could improve safety on construction sites.

The system, developed by Calgary University’s Schulich School of Engineering, enables the precise location of people, equipment and building materials.

‘Most construction accidents happen because of workers clashing with equipment and people or objects falling off edges,’ said project lead Farnaz Sadeghpour of Calgary University. ‘Our system will address both.’

While the tool is still under development, researchers plan to enable the system to trigger an alarm when someone gets too close to a certain piece of equipment or when a worker or a piece of building material gets too close to an edge. The warning could come in the form of an alert on a mobile phone or an urgent announcement on a worksite.

A tracking system would help to ensure that materials are properly secured and kept a safe distance away from open thresholds. Other advantages include inventory and theft control. Removing an item from a site without authorisation, for example, would trigger an alarm.

The enabling factor in the research was the decreasing cost of ultra-wideband technology — which could one day be widely used by industry as a cost-effective way to track important and valuable items.