Five workers on one of BAM Nuttall’s rail projects in Wales are wearing special head bands inside their hard hats that monitor brain activity and can alert the wearer if signs of fatigue set in.
The wearable technology is supplied by Australian firm SmartCap Technologies Pty Ltd, a specialist in fatigue monitoring. Its LifeBand can be worn on its own or worn inside a worker’s safety helmet.
“BAM Nuttall has a real appetite to explore technology solutions around the issues regarding health and safety on site,” says the company’s head of innovation, Colin Evison. “After hearing about SmartCap’s success with drivers of vehicles in Australian mining operations, we made initial contact last year with their team to see whether they could transfer their technology to suit more of a construction environment. Things have progressed and we now have five units being tested on our rail framework in Wales and a trial in Scotland is imminent too.”
LifeBand gives out early warning alerts via Bluetooth to vehicle drivers or operators of plant if they show the early signs of fatigue.
“It’s still early days, but early results indicate that fatigue awareness is already raised by those wearing the LifeBand. This device is effective in detecting symptoms of fatigue; something many people may be unaware of when at work, ensuring our workforce is safe on and off site,” Mr Evison said.
The original technology behind Life was developed within CRCMining, a Cooperative Research Centre established by the Australian government and supported by four universities and 13 industry partners including equipment manufacturers and mining companies.