Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

Illinois-Based Employer Introduces RFID Technology with Potential to Enhance Construction Site Safety

| May 29, 2024 | Construction Accidents |

Construction workers face a variety of risks on the job. Illinois construction accidents can arise from fall risks, from trips or slips and falls due to improperly cleaned or unsafe workplace conditions, or from falling construction materials. Workers also can face potentially serious injuries caused by construction vehicles like forklifts. Modern technology may be offering some assistance to workers in protecting them in one of these areas, since wearable RFID devices may help prevent worker-versus-construction-equipment injuries. The 2017 American Society of Safety Engineers conference featured such devices, including one developed by Illinois-based Caterpillar, Business Insurance reported recently.

Caterpillar’s new device, called CAT Detect for Personnel, works in two parts. On one side, an RFID beacon is placed in workers’ safety gear, such as their hardhats or protective vests. On the other side, an antenna is placed on the company’s construction vehicles. The antenna and the RFID communicate with each other, and, if a worker wearing a hardhat or vest with RFID and an antenna-equipped vehicle come too close to each other, an audible and visual alarm goes off within the vehicle to let the vehicle’s operator know that there is a worker close by. A loud alarm also sounds outside the vehicle cab to let the worker know of the vehicle’s proximity.

This technology potentially can be helpful in the construction industry, where collisions between workers and heavy equipment are still too common an occurrence. OSHA reported 4,379 workers killed in private industry in 2015. Of those deaths, more than one-fifth (21.4%) were people who worked in the construction industry. Of those 937 deaths, more than 600 resulted from just four types of injuries:  falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and being caught in or crushed by equipment or objects. Eliminating those deaths that were results of being struck by objects or equipment and those resulting from being caught in-between would have meant 157 fewer construction-related deaths in 2015. Potentially, RFID and other wearable technology may be able to help improve safety and reduce these numbers.

Of those 4,000+ workers killed on the job in 2015, 172 of those happened here in Illinois. Illinois saw 29 construction workers killed in 2015 as a result of impacts with equipment or objects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just recently, CBS Chicago reported in early August on a warehouse worker in Des Plaines who was killed when he became pinned between a forklift and a truck. Back in February of this year, the Chicago Tribune reported on the tragic case of a construction worker who was believed to have been crushed to death with an aerial lift.

All of these tragic deaths highlight the need for those in charge to do their utmost to protect the lives and well-being of their workers. For those times when proper procedures are not in place to protect workers, and someone dies or gets injured while working in construction, the law gives that worker certain avenues to recover damages or benefits based upon the harm that he or she suffered. In order to give yourself a good opportunity to secure an award of damages or benefits, you need to make sure you act promptly. Reach out to the hardworking Chicago construction accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our team has been helping injured construction employees and other injured workers get what they deserve for many years. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

What do I do when I am injured at work?, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Aug. 15, 2017

Illinois Court Upholds $22M Judgment Against Contractor for Carpenter’s Permanent Injuries, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Dec. 23, 2016