Alarm sounds if people are closer than 2m

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Interserve has started trialling new social distancing technology at the NEC Birmingham as it continues to roll out the final phase of the development of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital there.

Proximity warning specialist SiteZone Safety has supplied six of its personnel distancing systems (PDS) to the contractor to help enforce the 2m social distancing rule. 

SiteZone Safety workers wearing pds social distancing system

Workers wearing the PDS social distancing system

The PDS consists of a 2kg pack (pictured below) and a detection tag that can be worn on a hard hat, attached to a belt or strapped to the upper arm. The system has 100 hours of rechargeable battery life.

The exclusion zone can be configured to suit the site’s needs. The proximity alarms are triggered if workers get too close within set boundaries, at which point both their wearable tags will vibrate and the PDS sounds an alarm.

Two site safety ambassadors wear the PDS units full time and patrol the site to ensure remaining workers are observing the 2m rule. If not, they are reminded with accompanying demonstrations using the PDS.

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SiteZone Safety backpack for pds at NHS Nightingale NEC

The other four units are being rotated between different key tradespeople on site to reinforce social distancing. In this way, it is intended to raise spatial awareness and affect behavioural change on site.

SiteZone Safety makes proximity warning devices used on construction machinery to prevent collisions between plant and workers.

But there was nothing off-the-shelf for sites, so prototypes had to be made, tested and approved. The firm said key design considerations including making it lightweight, easy to use and efficiently powered to function for long periods of time.

NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham was provided with the PDS units for free.