Social Distancing on Construction Sites

Date:
20.12.2021
By:
Matt Young
Topic:
HazardZone
Safety

As Infections caused by the new variant Omicron are rising rapidly, construction projects around the UK are looking for ways to keep their people safe, to keep their projects on time and to budget.

We have seen the impact of the pandemic over the past 18 months, and at its height projects experienced resource and logistics issues which left many looking for solutions in accelerating processes to catch up on original deadlines and budgets.

We look at what’s needed and what effective social distancing practices look like on a construction job site:

Implement a social distancing proximity alert tool to enable effective social distancing and contact tracing on site.

  • Implement a social distancing proximity alert tool to enable effective social distancing and contact tracing on site.
  • Stopping all non-essential visitors to the workplace
  • Introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Removing or disabling entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners or keypad entry systems
  • Allow at least two metres between people waiting to enter the building
  • Regularly cleaning surfaces in common areas such as reception, office and delivery areas
  • Reducing the number of people in attendance at workplace meetings and consider holding them outdoors wherever possible

We know have a myriad of tools at our disposal to integrate the physical and online world, and moving towards web based induction solutions such as Inndex are now the leading way for sites to implement social distance and safety training before workers enter the job site.

Having the right technology, systems, and process in place has rapidly moved from being an efficiency hack to an essential resource for business survival.

  • Having the right technology, systems, and process in place has rapidly moved from being an efficiency hack to an essential resource for business survival.
  • When workers are trained about safety and social distancing on-site, they can’t be expected to know all of the rules when they arrive and standards are unlikely to be met straight away.
  • Effective social distancing practices should also be included in your online orientation.
  • Popular site security methods and access control can quickly turn into a COVID hotspot if not appropriately cleaned after repeated use.

Think about how many people are coming on and off a construction site. Entrance and exits are high traffic areas, with access control solutions frequently touched. Any area of the project that is handled often or requires physical verification by staff security boosts your physical interactions and, therefore, risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

But what about when workers are through the gate?

But what about when workers are through the gate? Does the need for social distancing suddenly stop when operative continue their work plan on site?

Some examples of technology that could be advantageous on sites (source www.designingbuildings.co.uk):

  • Wearable devices that use a combination of technologies to monitor proximity and alert workers
  • Software that can assist with contact tracing should a worker develop or demonstrate symptoms associated with a contagious illness.
  • Rechargeable tags that attach to belts, protective head coverings or lanyards and issue an alert when two people wearing the tags come within two metres of each other.

Using social distance technology like PLINX, allows workers to be alerted when they are located within 2m of each other, enabling contractors to protect the health and safety of staff by ensuring social distancing is maintained. The devices bleep, flash and vibrate when there is potential for covid spread, ensuring the construction teams are kept safe during their working day.

The devices can also monitor the activity on site, spotting busier areas where further safety measures may be required. And in the event of a Covid-19 case being recorded amongst the site workers, PLINX Protect can quickly and efficiently track who has been in contact with the infected person.

PLINX can benefit the construct site.

PLINX can benefit the construct site.

  • Easy to deploy, proven technology
  • HazardZone Technology warn users of unsafe proximity
  • Real time movement tracing
  • GDPR compliant management of personal data
  • On-demand daily allocation of devices that track last ownership
  • Audit compliance

Collaboration between contractors and tech suppliers is vital to enable construction sites to continue to perform

In conclusion, the construction industry cannot afford to slow down again due to Covid. The lessons learnt over the past 18 months show us that processes are key on site and the need to replace pre-pandemic practices with technology is of upmost importance.

Collaboration between contractors and tech suppliers is vital to enable construction sites to continue to perform, and with thorough and safe working practices, robust data capture and the ability to inform decisions in real time will allow the industry to prosper through a highly turbulent period.