The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has made an impact on the entire world on how we live. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30th 2020. It is currently known that COVID-19 is easily spread through close contact through droplets (Coughing and Sneezing) and contact with contaminated surfaces (Hands, Surfaces, Objects, Body Contact etc.). Physical distancing alerts can be a way that organisations can get back to working conditions.
In April 2020 Cedar Meats, located in Melbourne Australia, was officially affected by COVID-19 after the first case of an employee testing positive for the virus was recorded. The plant was not closed down and was still in production at that time. Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria said: “maybe we shouldn’t have waited to close the Cedar Meats abattoir after the first cases were recorded.”.
It is possible that a physical distancing alert application and access to contact tracing reports would have a made a difference; potentially preventing Cedar Meats from shutting down after the first case.
A physical distancing alert application provides a proximity alert that is installed on and pinged off every employee’s mobile phone; having the following features:
- An audio, visual and vibration alert every time an employee was too close (e.g. 1.5m) to another employee
- A daily wellbeing checklist/questionnaire for employees to fill out on their mobile phones before attending the factory to ensure they have complied with proper hygiene methods, do not have a temperature or other symptoms like sore throat. The checklist could also report contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Tracing report that allows the employer to determine who has been in contact with the infected employee, including the duration and the physical distance.
Many workplaces are now taking new measures to mitigate risk and to ensure their business operations will not be interrupted. By introducing tracing report software to the workplace, employees will be alerted when physical distancing have not been followed and if an employee has been tested positive for COVID-19. Workplaces can instantly view the contact tracing and exposure analysis, to determine which employees have been in close contact with the affected employee in the past 14 days. The report can provide the duration and the physical distance of the contact incidents.
Contact tracing software works using Bluetooth connectivity and can hence detect other smartphones/smartwatches/beacons with the proximity alert application installed. This allows for range and duration detection and hence reporting. If the distance is within the range (e.g. 1.5m), the smartphones/smartwatches will alert by making a audible sound, physical display on the screen, and vibrate. Once alerted, it will record the contact incident into a database where details such as the employee’s name or ID, date and time of exposure, duration exposed and distance are kept track of. This can be similarly implemented with beacons, which will automatically detect all smartphones/smartwatches in a specific area. All data collected is private and secure, only accessible by the firm through in-house servers or SaaS solutions; either being dedicated to the workplace.
Many businesses nowadays are seeing that a proximity alert solution can really transform the way they work in the COVID-19 era. By increasing the information sharing within the organisation and keeping their employees safe, many types of organisation and business can get back to work in a safe and regulated manner. In an age where physical distancing in an organisation and the community is imperative, implementing a physical distance alert solution is the best way to ensure the safety of your employees and their families.