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Hard hat sensor, transmitter assures social distancing and contact tracing

A new Internet of Things-styled wearable device automates relay of attendance records to a cloud platform and provides distancing alerts and contact tracing capability for construction, heavy industrial and manufacturing workers. Triax Technologies’ Proximity Trace offers added workplace protection during the Covid-19 pandemic, developers note, and helps companies get crews back to work safely while addressing recommended social distancing practices.

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TraceTag and the Proximity Trace program are the latest tools from Triax Technologies, whose fully connected Internet of Things worksite platforms leverage a communication hub geared to challenging IT environments. Released as Covid-19 exposure concerns steamrolled manufacturing and construction workplaces, Proximity Trace is a companion to the company’s flagship Spot-r system (inset). It elevates worksite visibility, safety and security while minimizing risk by connecting workers, equipment and management through a scalable, minimal infrastructure network, wearables and other sensors, plus cloud-based dashboard.

Affixed to a hard hat or lanyard, TraceTag emits a flashing red LED and progressively louder alarm when workers are too close to each other. An escalation alert feature allows a warning beep for timely distance correction. A button can silence or temporarily disable the alarm for accepted close contact work.

Proximity Trace enables plant and site crews to focus on work, rather than worrying about their distance to co-workers or potential virus exposure. The alarm can also serve to change behaviors by reminding users to practice safe social distancing. In the event of a confirmed Covid-19 case, an employer can gauge who may have been exposed by analyzing cloud-harbored, historical data captured passively by TraceTags.

By contrast, traditional tracing methods rely on workers’ memories and whether they can identify by name others they were in contact with during a given time period. With more reliable information, companies can decide who needs to be in mandatory or precautionary quarantine per Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and whether the site can continue to operate safely without the need to shut down the entire operation.

Proximity Trace is undergoing field testing and feedback from early customers will be incorporated into device production. “We’re rolling this out at active sites and excited about the role it could play in keeping workers safer,” says Jason Pelkey, senior vice president at Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co., an early device user.

“We leveraged our experience in IoT technology and workforce safety monitoring to address companies’ urgent needs for workers to maintain appropriate distances, to perform historical contact tracing for any employee testing positive for the virus, and to assist companies in getting their workforce back on the job as they implement new safety protocols,” says Triax CEO Robert Costantini. “Our solution is designed to ease the burden on workers to maintain appropriate distances as part of new safety practices that very well could become the next normal.” Triax Technologies, Norwalk, Conn., 203/803-9879; www.triaxtec.com