Tunneller tracker technology to boost worker safety

1 December 2009

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) has announced that it has successfully implemented a solution to track workers in underground tunnel projects. The implementation is based on the Ekahau Wi-Fi RTLS solution that provides real-time location information on the whereabouts of people and assets anywhere within a site’s Wi-Fi network coverage area, using the existing enterprise Wi-Fi network as the infrastructure platform. This new venture is in conjunction with its Spanish integration partner, BAUTEL Comunicaciones S.L.

The current implementation is operational in the Vigo, Galicia, construction project, where FCC - Acciona is excavating 2 tunnels both 8km long. The Wi-Fi network is installed in the tunnels using fiber optic cabling for data, voice and tracking purposes. As the workers enter the tunnel in the beginning of their shift, they check in their ID cards for an Ekahau wireless T301BD safety badge. In case of an emergency, management is immediately alerted with the last known location of each worker in the tunnel. The solution also enables workers to call for help by pulling the emergency switch on the badge itself. Once the switch is pulled, safety personnel and management receive the help request with the location information of the incident.

"This was the first deployment we have done using Ekahau's new T301BD badge." Said Fernando Carnicero, Manager at Bautel Comunicaciones S.L.. "Ekahau is an ideal solution for this purpose, as it provides both the real-time location of the worker in case of an emergency, but also two-way communication with the workers in the tunnel, through the badge's text messaging capability. This has a very clear value to the construction company to increase the safety of its employees, as the construction site is operational 24/7 in 3 work shifts."