Radio-Frequency Identification RFID Technology

Construction companies are beginning to use radio-frequency identification RFID technology to track and record the exact location of workers on the road or on the project.

I knew from the onset that RFID had this potential. It was first introduced as a method of tracking tools and equipment, But in no time the software was developed to monitor employee locations.

Here's how it works in the construction industry: Tags attached to hardhats or ID badges send data about workers' whereabouts to Web-based devices. Instead of having an employee number on your hardhat you will have a radio transmitter in an attached tag, embedded in a sticker or permanently embedded in your hardhat. Coupled with GPS technology or strategically placed transmitters it could convey the workers exact location at all times.

That sounds innocent enough, or does it? Intelligent software could turn RIFD into the ultimate Head Checker's clipboard on steroids. A head-checker will no longer need to monitor porta-johns or hang out at the water cooler. Never being seen in the field, he can sit in an air conditioned office and monitor hundreds of workers in real time on his monitor.

To date the software builders taut the technology as a tool to help managers make more informed decisions by integrating information with daily reports, work schedules, and accounting. It takes little imagination to see where this is going. I may be doing a bit of a Chicken Little act here but I can see this big brother device as a potential see all, know all bird-dog behind every column. I would be disappointed if there was no major outcry, especially from the Trades Unions.