Tech solution to social distancing in the construction sector

Edinburgh-based Reactec has devised Safedistance  to be used within construction, rail, manufacturing and other workplaces.

Safedistance  alerts workers if they have strayed to within two metres of a colleague.

The device is also designed to inform employers of the frequency and severity of breaches of social distancing protocols and can help with contact tracing of those who’ve been close to employees who subsequently display Covid-19 symptoms.

It also aims to facilitate contact tracing across employers on busy infrastructure projects and ring ring fences work teams who need to work more closely together on closed groups.

Reactec also said the system can be expanded to enable real time intervention by a supervisor in the event of social distancing breaches

Reactec CEO Jacqui McLaughlin said: “Social distancing will clearly be with us for some time and it’s vital that when people get back to work they can do so safely.

“Reactec, is already dedicated to helping reduce the damage to workers’ health from exposure to vibration, so developing our technology to include social distancing was a logical next step in response to COVID-19.

Reactec has discussed the capabilities of Safedistance at Ministerial level with the Scottish Government.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said: “In response to this pandemic, companies right across Scotland have been diversifying production lines, increasing capacity or exploring new distribution routes to help deliver what is needed, when it’s needed.

“Technology is going to play a crucial role in helping us overcome the long-term challenges presented by COVID-19 so it is great to see innovative, dynamic companies repurposing existing technology to help us protect workers from potential exposure in the future.”

More than 45,000 of Reactec’s Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) monitors, HAVwear, on which Safedistance is based, are already in circulation in the UK.

Reactec is offering to enable these devices remotely by adding the safe distancing software free of charge – meaning that its existing clients can ensure safe distancing of employees while also continuing to protect them from harmful vibration.

Safedistance was developed by technical specialists at Reactec as a direct response to the COVID-19 crisis and the Scottish and UK Government’s introduction of social distancing protocols.

Recognising the existing deployment of its existing hardware within its customer base, Reactec mobilised its innovation team to repurpose its product.

The company said that development work which would normally have taken months was completed in 15 days, allowing Reactec to complete and test the product in record time.

It is already being trialled by companies in the construction and rail sectors.