IoT 3 mins read

Getting people back to work – safely

On World Day for Safety and Health at Work we look at how employers can one of their most urgent priorities happen using IoT.

Bart Schouw Bart Schouw

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is perhaps more meaningful today than it has been at any other time in our lives.

The current pandemic is a powerful driver for employers to make safe and healthy working environments one of their most urgent priorities.

On factory floors, for example, workers will have to practice social distancing in order to get back to work. This must happen while still meeting their quotas – not an easy exercise. There has been a slew of mobile apps released that can report an individual’s location, but these can create privacy concerns. Plus, many factories do not allow workers to use their mobile phones on the floor. Even if they did, how do you ensure the app is running on their phones? What if their phone runs out of battery?

What if there was a more robust and flexible solution to ensure social distancing from other workers? And what if you could also feed the data into a platform for analyzing their movements? That way, if one of them becomes ill, you would be able to trace his or her steps, interactions or collisions with other workers. Then the whole contact chain could be notified and asked to self-quarantine.

The solution is an Internet of Things (IoT) badge using beacon technology which is not dependent upon apps. The badge is Bluetooth-enabled and can identify close encounters (and possible collisions) based on the distance between other badges. It buzzes when a worker gets within the prescribed two meter radius.

Workers would be mandated to wear them, as they are with ID and other badges already, and only the relative distance to other badges is being tracked when they are actually wearing them at work. Because the badge is visible, everyone understands and can see that the wearers – and the factory – are adhering to safety protocols.

Privacy concerns addressed

Every badge owner is identified at handover, workers are only tracked with regards to the relative distance to other badges when they are wearing the badge. This solves initial privacy concerns; when they go home, they leave the badge behind.  The only difference is that these badges are smart. With data collection and analysis done by our Cumulocity IoT platform, you can see and prove that your workers are safe – for compliance as well as peace of mind.

The good news is that the badges are real. A Software AG partner, Safectory, is already producing these social-distancing badges. In Italy, a refrigerator manufacturer in Perugia was allowed to reopen its plant, as long as it could prove to the government that it would guarantee safety. This simple solution ticked all the boxes. It is working like a breeze.

Software AG takes safety and health at work seriously. Check out Safectory below and learn how you can too.