New technology is being trialled for the first time in the UK which is expected to be a ‘game changer’ for workers upholding social distancing on construction sites. Bewley Homes is testing a number of social distancing wristbands that vibrate when workers come within two metres of each other. It is expected the ‘buzzing’ bands will remind workers to be vigilant about social distancing and stay apart while on site.
The first tests have been successful, and Bewley Homes is expecting to roll out the wrist bands across all its construction sites later in June.
The wristbands have been developed by One.site, a division of leading construction communications provider UK Connect, and contain in-built sensors which can recognise each other and are programmed to generate a low vibration should one wristband come within two metres of one another.
Over the last three months, Bewley Homes explored a number of innovative, tech-driven ways to protect its workforce against contracting Covid-19. Teaming up with One.site, part of UK Connect, the company is also rolling out a number of measures including remote induction and contactless sign in when it reopens its sites this month.
The significant investment in this latest technology will place Bewley Homes at the forefront of the housebuilder sector in keeping staff and workforce at safe in light of Covid-19. It’s worth every penny, according to Andrew Brooks, Managing Director of Bewley Homes. He explains: “Keeping workers safe on site is Bewley Homes’ number one priority. This is another way of giving confidence to workers to return to a Bewley site. Our motto is ‘Safety and People First’ and our staff and the suppliers we work with respect us for it.
“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 we are bringing in when we re-open our sites in June.”
Andrew added: “Nearly every aspect of life has changed, if not forever, certainly for the next few months. Construction sites are no different and how we work on site has moved on. Putting the onus on our sub-contractors to meet the new health and safety requirements is not enough. We need to put easily implemented in place to ensure a productive and safe day’s work.
“The challenge is about changing habits of workers on the construction site, which have been engrained over many years. Unless the message is continually reinforced, human nature takes over and people will gravitate back to how they have always behaved. So, we are introducing these wrist bands to help keep social distancing protocols.
“It’s not the only answer for the continued, important fight against the coronavirus, but added to the other important measures we are installing, hand on heart, we can say we are doing everything we can to keep workers safe.”
Mr Brooks added: “It was imperative we didn’t infringe on people’s privacy, so the technology doesn’t track and trace workers movements. It’s there as a reminder for workers to keep their distance. It’s worked incredibly well and we are very pleased with the trial so far. The next step, this month, will be to roll out the wrist bands across all our sites.”
Bewley Homes Health and Safety Manager, Matt Jenkins, added; “The new wrist bands are just one element of the measures we have brought in one site to help workers stay safe.
“We are fully committed to the health and safety on site for all our workers and I know they appreciate the measures we have put in place. It does involve people embracing the technology and if it gives them another layer of protection, it’s worth it.”
PJ Farr, Managing Director at UK Connect, said: “We have already worked successfully with Bewley Homes, through One.site, to roll out digital inductions and contactless sign-ins across its developments, getting them ready for operations to resume this month. We’ve now gone a step further, trailing our new proprietary PPE technology – a digital wristband which will aid and encourage social distancing.”
He added: “On busy sites, with all sorts of activity going on, a certain degree of spontaneity is to be expected. Even with clearly demarcated areas, social distancing can be challenging, particularly when multiple jobs have to be delivered on time, in limited space. These wristbands will help workers identify when they are in breach of social distancing measures in a non-evasive way.
“We are really pleased to be live testing the technology with Bewley Homes, which shares UK Connect’s and One.site’s desire to establish, and deliver, the safest scenario possible for workers and subcontractors returning to site post lockdown.”