As construction projects reopen across the UK, and workers and subcontractors go back on site, robust health and safety protocol will be at the forefront of every housebuilders’ and subcontractors’ minds, to ensure a safer future. Whilst substantial efforts have been made to make sites as safe as possible, including remote inductions and contactless sign-ins, maintaining social distancing with the project perimeter remains a massive challenge.
On busy sites, with all sorts of activity going on in limited space, close proximity of personnel can be hard to avoid, even with clearly demarcated areas. A considerable amount of spatial awareness is required by each person on site to avoid close contact with others.
This makes social distancing extremely difficult, particularly when multiple jobs have to be delivered on time, in limited space and by more than one worker. It’s an issue which has caused major concerns for workers, with some refusing to return to site unless the risks are significantly minimised.
One.site, a construction H&S software provider launched in May 2020, is working with the industry to develop a potential PPE solution to this problem, a wristband to aid social distancing.
It has announced that trials of this latest innovation have been a success. Following intensive testing with housebuilder, Bewley Homes, at its Aborfield development near Reading, Berkshire.
Using proprietary technology, developed by One.site in-house, the wristbands are a social distancing tool designed with construction workers in mind. These devices will help them comply with new site protocol in a non-invasive way, encouraging them to social distance and empowering them to make the decision independently.
The product is discreet and lightweight. Housing an ultra-sensitive sensor, it emits a low vibration when it comes within a 2m proximity with another wristband.
These wristbands are the latest addition to a portfolio of health and safety solutions offered by One.site, which includes offsite induction solutions and contactless sign-in systems. When worn by multiple personnel across site, these wristbands help maintain compliance, improve efficiency and reduce risks to worker safety.
Whilst there are a number of social distancing products available on the market, the wristbands differs significantly. Firstly, it retails at a 90% lower price point than other similar devices.
As One.site Founder PJ Farr explained: “I’ve been astonished by the price of many construction-specific social distancing solutions. When you’ve got hundreds of sites with thousands of personnel and subcontractors to get back to work, the costs become eye-watering. We’re trying to get the industry up and running again and I don’t think charging hundreds of pounds per unit sends the right message. Nor does it encourage mass adoption. We’ve taken a conscious decision to make the wristbands available at a competitive price. We hope this will motivate housebuilders to implement social distancing technology on a large scale.”
Secondly, the wristbands does not rely on smartphones or need personal data to operate effectively. Farr continued: “All other portable social distancing devices rely on a smart phone or personal data, raising a couple of issues. For a start, some workers on-site will not have a smartphone, rendering those devices redundant and the use of personal data creates a minefield of issues, not least the GDPR headache it’s going to cause in the back office.
“The emergence of this technology is crucial in the current climate, these wristbands will help personnel better identify when they are in breach of social distancing measures in a secure way. It’s part of a wider scheme, alongside our already established remote induction and contactless sign-in technology.”
These wristbands represent the next phase in One.site’s longstanding relationship with Bewley. Last month it implemented its patented remote induction platforms and contactless sign-in infrastructure across the developer’s sites.
Andrew Brooks, Managing Director of Bewley Homes, said: “This is an example of Bewley Homes and One.site working together to improve health and safety procedures in the housebuilding and wider construction industry. The social distancing wrist bands will be a very useful tool in addition to the other important measures, and One.site systems, we have brought in as we re-open our sites in June.”
Farr concluded: “We’re grateful to Bewley for allowing us to live test our devices on-site. They share our desire to create the safest scenario possible for construction personnel returning to work post lockdown.”