As we fast approach the 6-month mark from the start of the pandemic, many general contractors are working to figure out the best solutions to meet their specific needs and keep workers safe while staying as productive as possible. Common protocols include additional PPE such as facemasks and shields, temperature checks, more frequent facility cleanings, staggered schedules and limiting two-person jobs when able – but in this line of work it is not always feasible.
With the onset of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) updated policies in May that broadened the list of employers with coronavirus-related record-keeping requirements, many industries, including construction have turned to technology to ease the burden of manual reporting. Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology and wearable devices, like Proximity Trace from Triax Technologies, are on the table for contractors of all sizes looking to resume or maintain operations in environments where remote work simply isn't possible.
IoT is the Next Key Piece of PPE
The CDC and other agencies cite a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing as a way to minimize the spread of COVID-19. They also provide guidance for contact tracing, in order to track and monitor the close contacts of infected individuals and notify them of potential exposure. IoT technology can not only help record the interactions that happen daily, particularly when physical distancing simply isn't possible due to the nature of the work, it can also give a full picture of all employees on the jobsite. General contractors can essentially isolate the potential risk to a specific set of the workforce and avoid a costly shutdown.
Having a simple, yet powerful tool, like Proximity Trace that can be mounted to a hard hat, helps to protect workers and makes the jobsite a safe environment for them to perform their craft.
How It All Works
Having a plan in place is critical to keeping a jobsite operational. While it is important that workers are educated on all new protocols on site, it is just as important to have a system in place to reinforce them. At construction sites where working next to other employees is commonplace, it can be extremely difficult to always maintain a safe social distance.
By implementing an IoT solution on the jobsite, workers can get immediate audible and visual feedback if they are in too close proximity to one another. This alert effectively eliminates the need for each worker to constantly be scanning their surroundings to ensure they're keeping distance from other workers when they should be focused on the task at hand – especially in hazardous work environments where lack of focus could be catastrophic. When a worker is automatically alerted that they are too close to another worker, only then do they have to shift their focus and adjust their distance from that worker.
These solutions are also equipped to log interactions passively and store that information in the event there is a COVID-19 exposure on site. Manual contact tracing efforts rely on an employee's memory to recall all interactions over the course of their shift and could take days to complete. Using data from Proximity Trace, the process of contact tracing is cut down to minutes and companies can make more informed decisions on who to quarantine and what percentage of their workforce is actually at risk.
As we continue in these uncertain times, technology will likely be the differentiator that helps contractors weather the storm. IoT technology has been utilized for the better part of a decade and is proving to help improve safety, lower risk, and give management and workers the peace of mind needed to return to work safely and effectively.
Triax Technologies' IoT solutions have been deployed across hundreds of sites, helping tens of thousands of workers maintain safer work environments. Learn more about our social distancing/contact tracing and connected jobsite solutions.