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  • Writer's pictureTeam Syook

Safety First: How RTLS Provides a Timely Solution

Safety in hazardous working conditions is a paramount concern for industrials. Statistics reveal a troubling landscape of violence and incidents that jeopardize the well-being of workers and employees. 

In the United States, approximately 2 million people fall victim to workplace violence annually. In 2019 alone, there were over 40,000 nonfatal assaults and intentional injuries at workplaces, resulting in significant downtime and recovery periods.

These alarming figures underscore the necessity of robust safety measures. Today, simple technologies like SOS or panic buttons on tags, are helping industries to protect and secure what matters to them the most - people. 

Worker safety

Safety with RTLS and Tags with Emergency Buttons 

Monitoring occupational health and safety (OHS) in real-time is the need of the hour in various sectors involving risk and hazardous tasks. The ability to remotely monitor and track lone workers and SOPs, and define rules has not only reduced accidents but also reduced the time to respond in emergencies. 

Call it panic or SOS buttons on wireless tags, these devices allow workers to alert security personnel or emergency teams just at the press of a button. From protecting lone workers to managing emergency evacuations, these tags provide precise location tracking and immediate alerts, enabling swift responses and proactive interventions. 

That’s not it, heat stress and fatigue can also be monitored keeping track of workers' vital signs and activity levels, ensuring timely breaks, and reducing health risks. Additionally, challenges like mitigating collision risks involving heavy vehicles or forklifts can also be addressed. These safety solutions are part of RTLS technology that can significantly contribute to creating a safer and more efficient work environment.

Addressing Safety with RTLS in Hazardous Workplaces

Maintaining workplace safety for both workers and valuable instruments is particularly challenging in several specific industries - Energy, Oil and Gas, mining, manufacturing, etc. 

In these verticals, safeguarding employees and assets relies heavily on precise knowledge—specifically, knowing the exact location of workers and equipment. 

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) provide this critical information, enhancing monitoring and improving working conditions across these industries. Let's deep dive into some of the use cases of RTLS and tags with emergency buttons.

Lone Worker Safety

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) greatly enhance lone worker safety through precise location tracking. Workers in isolated or hazardous environments can be continuously monitored, ensuring their whereabouts are always known. This capability is essential for an immediate response in case of an emergency, such as an accident or health issue. If a worker remains stationary for an unusual amount of time, the system can trigger alerts to supervisors, indicating a potential problem.

Beyond location tracking, RTLS can integrate with wearable devices that monitor vital signs like heart rate and body temperature. These devices can detect abnormal patterns that might indicate distress, fatigue, or other health concerns. Real-time alerts are sent to the control center, enabling quick action to assist the worker. This proactive approach helps prevent minor issues from escalating into major incidents, ensuring the safety of lone workers.

Moreover, RTLS systems can create virtual boundaries, known as geofences, around hazardous areas. If a lone worker enters a restricted zone, the system sends an immediate alert to both the worker and their supervisor. This warning system helps prevent accidents by keeping workers aware of dangerous areas. Overall, RTLS provides a comprehensive safety net for lone workers, combining real-time location tracking, health monitoring, and geofencing to ensure their well-being.

Emergency Mustering

Emergency mustering is crucial in hazardous work environments, and RTLS plays a key role in streamlining this process. During an emergency evacuation, RTLS can quickly account for all personnel by tracking their locations in real-time. This ensures that no one is left behind and that everyone reaches the designated muster points safely. Supervisors can monitor the progress of the evacuation on a digital map, identifying any stragglers or missing individuals.

RTLS improves the efficiency of emergency drills by providing accurate data on the time taken for personnel to evacuate and reach muster points. This data can be analyzed to identify bottlenecks and improve evacuation procedures. Additionally, real-time alerts can be sent to workers' devices, guiding them to the nearest safe exit and providing instructions on the safest route. This reduces panic and confusion, making the evacuation process smoother and more orderly.

In the event of an actual emergency, such as a fire or gas leak, the RTLS system can integrate with other safety systems to provide comprehensive situational awareness. For instance, it can interface with fire detection systems to highlight safe and unsafe areas on the evacuation map. Real-time alerts keep everyone informed about the evolving situation, ensuring that workers receive up-to-date information and instructions. This integration significantly enhances the overall effectiveness of emergency mustering procedures, safeguarding the lives of all personnel on-site.

Heat Stress Break

In environments prone to high temperatures, RTLS plays a crucial role in managing heat stress among workers. Wearable devices integrated with RTLS monitor workers' body temperatures and environmental conditions in real-time. When the system detects that a worker's body temperature is approaching unsafe levels, it triggers an alert recommending a heat stress break. This proactive measure helps prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

RTLS can also enforce mandatory break schedules based on individual worker exposure to heat. By tracking each worker's location and duration of exposure, the system ensures that breaks are taken at appropriate intervals. Real-time alerts remind workers to take breaks, hydrate, and cool down in designated rest areas. This systematic approach helps maintain the health and productivity of the workforce in hot working conditions.

Furthermore, the data collected by RTLS can be used to analyze patterns and optimize work schedules to minimize heat exposure. For example, tasks requiring heavy physical exertion can be scheduled during cooler parts of the day. Supervisors can also receive alerts if a worker's heat stress indicators reach critical levels, enabling immediate intervention. This comprehensive monitoring and alert system ensures that workers remain safe and healthy in high-temperature environments.

Fatigue Breaks

Managing worker fatigue is crucial for maintaining safety and productivity, and RTLS provides valuable tools for this purpose. By tracking the movement and activity levels of workers, RTLS can identify signs of fatigue, such as reduced movement or extended periods of inactivity. When these signs are detected, the system prompts the worker to take a fatigue break, ensuring they rest and recuperate before resuming their tasks.

RTLS can integrate with wearable devices that monitor physiological indicators of fatigue, such as heart rate variability and sleep patterns. Real-time alerts notify both the worker and their supervisor when fatigue levels become critical. This enables timely interventions, such as reallocating tasks or scheduling breaks, to prevent accidents caused by tiredness. By proactively managing fatigue, RTLS helps maintain high safety standards and reduces the risk of errors and accidents.

In addition to individual monitoring, RTLS can optimize break schedules across the entire workforce. By analyzing activity data, the system can stagger breaks to ensure adequate coverage while preventing group fatigue. Real-time alerts and reminders ensure that workers adhere to their break schedules, promoting a culture of safety and well-being. This systematic approach to fatigue management helps sustain a healthy and alert workforce, crucial for maintaining safety in hazardous work conditions.

Heavy Vehicle or Forklift Collision

RTLS significantly reduces the risk of collisions involving heavy vehicles or forklifts by providing real-time tracking and alerts. In busy industrial environments, RTLS monitors the positions and movements of all vehicles and pedestrians. If the system detects a potential collision course between a vehicle and another vehicle or a pedestrian, it sends immediate alerts to the drivers and nearby workers, allowing them to take evasive action.

By integrating RTLS with vehicle-mounted devices, operators receive real-time feedback on their surroundings. This includes alerts about nearby workers or obstacles that may not be visible due to blind spots. The system can also enforce safe driving practices by monitoring speed and alerting drivers when they exceed safe limits. This constant monitoring and feedback loop helps maintain a high level of situational awareness, reducing the likelihood of accidents.

Additionally, RTLS data can be used to analyze and improve traffic patterns within the workplace. By identifying high-risk areas and times of frequent congestion, safety managers can implement changes to traffic flow and vehicle operation protocols. Real-time alerts and historical data analysis work together to create a safer environment for both vehicle operators and pedestrians. This proactive approach to collision prevention helps protect lives and reduces the risk of costly accidents in hazardous work conditions.

How Do RTLS and Tags Work?

At Syook, our workplace alerting system, part of the Simply Sensors range, uses the LoRaWAN network to enhance workplace safety. 

LoRaWAN Gateway

The LoRaWAN Gateway is the communication hub, with a range of 300-400 meters indoors and several kilometers outdoors. Multiple gateways can provide virtually unlimited coverage, ensuring constant connectivity.

Bluetooth Tags/Beacons

The Bluetooth Beacon is a battery-operated device that maps internal locations. Each Beacon has a unique ID and is placed strategically With a battery life of up to two years, it transmits its ID every 1000 milliseconds for consistent tracking.

LoRaWAN Panic Button

The LoRaWAN Panic Button is designed to detect Beacon IDs as it moves. In an emergency, it transmits the nearest Beacon ID, triggering an alert with the location on the portal and app. Equipped with GPS for outdoor use, it is compact, lightweight, and features a rechargeable battery for reliability. Below are some of the key features of these tags:

  1. Wireless Connectivity: Most panic buttons are wireless, allowing them to be placed virtually anywhere within the workplace without complex wiring.

  2. Portability: Some panic buttons are portable, allowing employees to carry them on their person. This is particularly useful in large facilities or for workers who move between locations.

  3. Discreet Design: Panic buttons are often designed to be discreet, ensuring that they can be used without drawing attention. This is crucial in situations where an employee may be under threat and needs to call for help silently.

  4. Integration with Security Systems: Many panic buttons can be integrated with existing security systems, including CCTV and access control systems, to provide a comprehensive safety solution.

  5. Customizable Alerts: The alerts triggered by panic buttons can be customized to suit the specific needs of the workplace, whether it's sending a silent alert to a security team or triggering an audible alarm to alert nearby colleagues.

Optimizing Workplace Safety: RTLS for Effective Protection

Maintaining workplace safety for both workers and valuable instruments is particularly challenging in several specific industries. In these verticals, safeguarding employees and assets relies heavily on precise knowledge—specifically, knowing the exact location of workers and equipment at all times. Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) provide this critical information, enhancing monitoring and improving working conditions across these industries.

In an era where workplace safety is more important than ever, panic buttons are an essential tool for protecting employees and ensuring swift responses to emergencies. By integrating these devices into your safety protocols, you can create a safer, more secure environment that benefits everyone in the workplace. Curious to know more about RTLS, Tags with SOS, or panic buttons? Connect with us.



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