Caterpillar has added additional breadth to its MineStar Detect portfolio with the launch of its Connected Worker wearable technology.
Connected Worker, a Guardhat-developed system for safety and productivity at surface mines, links smart technology with analytics to offer workers an extra layer of protection from site risks no matter the size of the mine.
The technology is made up of three main elements: a wearable hardware, software that captures and reports data, and an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that gathers field reports and advances risk alerts to workers.
Connected Worker can also detect and report an operation’s hazardous areas and unsafe exposure to environmental elements and communicate those to impacted individuals; some include evacuation orders, fall detections, SOS signals and geofence violations.
“Connected Worker improves safety by alerting all connected workers of hazardous situations in real-time, delivering up to a 50% reduction in lost-time reportable incidents,” Cat officials said.
“The system’s ability to track worker location plus enhanced communications through audio, video and image transmission also help to increase mine site productivity. A range of safety, productivity and benchmarking reports, customizable to fit the site’s needs, boosts operational efficiency.”
Cat noted that there are three wearable options, offering an increased level of flexibility for wearers. A smart alternative to personal protective equipment, the HC1 Hardhat is the first and delivers real-time positions through an embedded global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) chip.
“With the use of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) at the site, the hardhat wearable increases situational awareness indoors by offering 3D-tracking – longitude, latitude and elevation – helping to quickly locate a worker in an emergency,” the OEM said, adding that the hardhat features video and audio call, push-to-talk and offline geofence and recording capabilities.
The second option, a TA1 wearable tag, offers GNSS and Bluetooth tracking outdoors and forwards SOS, evacuation and social distancing alerts along with geofence breaches.
“Workers can capture images and videos to report hazards, which are automatically shared with the safety control center (SCC), so teams can quickly develop geofences around the hazard to boost worker safety,” Cat officials added.
Finally, a companion hardware for hybrid deployment is a smartphone app for Android devices. This option can manage and monitor team members in an outdoor environment, according to the company, and also allows field managers to communicate with workers, issue SOS alerts, and capture images and video of hazardous areas.
With that data in hand, a wide range of customizable reports can be produced for mines to review, analyze and predict hazardous situations. The information can then be used to prevent future safety incidents
Connected Worker will be commercially available in the first quarter of next year.