The answer is Nick Hayhoe, vice president of sales and innovation, Fleetwood Electronics, Holland, MI.
As the number of COVID-19 cases increases globally, the importance of mitigating the risk of an outbreak in your workplace or on your construction site is also increasing. Even with vaccines currently being administered across the country, public health experts warn that the virus will continue to play a role in our lives until 2021. Your pandemic action plan is just as important now as it is. was last spring – maybe even more. This includes contact tracing, which can be a time consuming and ineffective challenge. But it doesn’t have to be.
After nearly nine months of working with environmental, health and safety directors, and safety officials across the country – in contexts ranging from manufacturing to construction to execution – I I wrote down a few key things to ensure that your contact tracing data is reliable and truly meaningful, so that you can feel confident in your decision making.
Choose an ultra-broadband contact tracing product
The key metric to consider when evaluating a contact tracing product: how accurately it can measure proximity.
Not all contact tracing technologies are the same. Those who use ultra-broadband far surpass those who work over Bluetooth. Fingers in the nose. Ultra-broadband products can measure the proximity of two carriers with an accuracy of 6 inches, while Bluetooth products on the market land somewhere between 3 and 6 feet.
When solving a contact tracing case, every inch counts. You need to know who is within 6 feet of the positive person and for how long. The data your technology collects will help you determine who should be tested, who should self-quarantine, and, just as important, who can continue working. You need this data to be as accurate as possible.
Opt for a contact search system without anchoring
Of the products that use ultra-wide web, some require anchors to be installed throughout your workplace or job site, while others do not. In this context, anchors are electronic devices that detect ultra-wideband pulses emitted by ultra-wideband beacons (like those found in your contact tracing technology) and transmit them to the location server to calculate the proximity of the beacons.
Products that don’t require anchors work right out of the box. Rather than pinging an external anchor to determine the proximity of carriers, these products communicate with each other. They are incredibly easy to set up and use, making them much more likely to be used correctly and therefore produce accurate data.
Be transparent with employees
Educate your employees on your chosen contact tracing and physical distancing technology. Let them know how the data it collects will and will not be used. In my experience, it was especially important for employees that contact tracing technology did not track their actual location in the workplace, but simply their proximity to others. Their buy-in and trust are crucial. They are the ones who carry the product and make sure that it is turned on, used and stored correctly. Their consistent and correct use of your contact tracing solution plays a huge role in the accuracy of the data you receive.
Make it easy for them
Avoid products that require regular recharging. Long battery life – months, not days – ensures the product will stay up and running and won’t die in the middle of a shift. Look for products that can be worn in different ways, whether they are attached to a shirt collar, inside a shirt pocket, on a lanyard, or attached to a badge reel. As with transparency, the easier your contact tracing solution is to use, the more likely it is to be used consistently and correctly, and to return accurate data.
Editor’s Note: This article represents the independent opinions of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement of the National Security Council.