- IT networking and security company Brash Concepts has begun adding thermal cameras to jobsites for a contractor client in New York City. The cameras are intended to measure the body temperature of workers to identify those that may be running a fever, which is an early symptom of a COVID-19 infection.
- One of the contractor’s jobsites already has the cameras, and three more will get them within the next week, Yuval Brash, CTO of Brash Concepts, told Construction Dive. The system will notify managers if a worker has a fever, with the threshold set at 100 degrees F.
- Brash said the next step will be combining the thermal cameras with facial recognition, perhaps even when a worker is wearing a mask, to help boost jobsite security.
With the Brash system, workers approaching the jobsite will be encouraged to do so one by one, pausing briefly in front of the camera to make sure it gets an accurate read of their temperature before they’re permitted on site.
The camera checks are not a definitive measurement of who might be carrying the coronavirus, Brash said, but do provide more security, safety and comfort for workers on site. Brash would not share which client is using the thermal cameras.
Matt Abeles, vice president of construction technology and innovation for Associated Builders and Contractors, said that while using technology like thermal cameras to protect worker health is a good idea, employee privacy needs to be taken into consideration too. Implementing a new technology too rapidly could lead to compliance issues, he said.
“While new technologies can efficiently track and record these data points, where is the line in regard to what is public information, what is private information and what exactly can companies do with recorded data?” Abeles said.
Answering and understanding those questions before companies implement any of these technologies is extremely important, he added.
“In addition, employers need to be up to date on that guidance, as well as understand what employees can be tested for and what notice needs to be given to employees,” he told Construction Dive.
Several contech firms and software providers have recently introduced or added elements to applications aimed at ensuring workers are able to maintain social distancing.
For instance, construction software provider Smartvid.io's artificial intelligence system can now alert site managers in real time when workers are within 6 feet feet of one another and Triax Technologies recently introduced wearable IoT sensors to help workers maintain social distances.