Man-down situations should never be taken lightly. In construction zones where safety is essential, yet communication coverage can be limited, construction technology may provide some valuable assistance to protect your field workers in the event of disaster.

An interesting product to consider is the Osprey Personal Tracker from EMS Global Tracking, www.emsglobaltracking.com, Marion, Ill. The device, which is roughly 7-inches tall and a little more than 3-inches wide and weighs roughly 350 grams, is a ruggedized personal tracking device that is built to withstand harsh environments, such as a remote construction jobsite.

This self-contained unit has automated GPS reporting intervals, terminal-to-terminal communication, and dedicated alert and point-of-interest buttons. Using both GPS and Inmarsat satellites, the Osprey Personal Tracker has a satellite modem contained within the unit with a unique identifier that classifies key features of operation for that particular unit.

Distress signals sent from the device are tracked via the Web-based application, ViewPoint. From this dashboard, users can track workers on a geolocation map, set up perimeters or safety zones, and other perform other tracking capabilities. Trackers can be set up into groups as well, in which you can identify a person of authority to collect an SMS or email message if any device happens to have an anomaly.

In those scenarios where cellular coverage is present, perhaps an app can help in times of distress. One interesting Android-based app is the accelerometer-based CRADAR. The free app senses when you’ve fallen, then monitors your movement (or non-movement) for predetermined amount of time (set up by the user). If it determines you could be hurt, the app will send a text message with your GPS location to an emergency contact informing them you may be in trouble.

An interesting thing about the app is that it defines a problem situation if, after a fall, you don’t move at least 8 feet within the specified time period. After a fall the user’s phone will begin to ring and vibrate and a timer will begin counting down. If the user moves more than 8 feet or indicates they are okay by tapping the “I’m OK” button, the alert will be cancelled. If neither occurs the app will send your coordinates to someone that can find and help you.

In times of distress on the jobsite technology might prove to be very effective in lending a helping hand. Ranging from ruggedized personal trackers to “man-down” alert apps for smartphones, construction companies have a few different options at their disposal that can provide realtime assistance.