There are a number of technologies evolving to keep track of staff and contractors moving around on a mine site, the two most important of which are personal trackers with GPS, and what is known as an RFID mesh.
Personal trackers with GPS have the advantage that they provide 2-way communication: in the event of an emergency a single message can be sent to every single person on site to vacate, and tracking happens as and when it occurs. Operations management can have a single screen in the control room and every single person would be visible every minute of the day. Some of these devices also have duress buttons and call-back capability to a limited number of pre-programmed numbers, something which enables a worker to advise of a duress situation. Potential problems with this solution are however that staff may not be prepared to be tracked down to that level, also that these trackers typically would need to be charged overnight and, considering human nature, a number of staff would on any given day forget to charge the unit and show up with a unit that is not working. This system as such would then also have to be backed by a paper system of sorts, with the hope that over time staff would get in the habit to charge the units overnight when they charge their smart phones.
Another way is the RFID mesh way: by making use of a number of RFID readers, combined with what is known as triangulation, every person would be visible all the time. Movement management in this case becomes less direct and the information obtained is more of an after-the-fact case: management will know where and when people moved around. Another problem with this solution is the significant costs associated with a an RFID mesh, but these, as with most technologies, are on the way down.
For now there is no cheap, easy and generally accepted way to facilitate the management of staff movement, but DigiCore Australia believes that, with the lower costs and obvious benefits, both of these methods will over time become more accessible and in common use on Australian mine sites. We today already offer both solutions – call us if you would like to discuss this in more detail!