Software companies develop tech safety nets to measure social distancing

Construction remains essential in many states, meaning work on jobsites can continue. But CDC guidelines and local governments emphasize the importance of maintaining proper health procedures such as regularly washing hands and maintaining a safe social distance even while working.

In response, several construction apps have implemented or updated programs that allow site managers and workers to have an idea of ongoing social distancing practices to ensure everyone on site remains safe, including before and after coronavirus symptoms or diagnoses.

Genda Tech

Israel-based construction tech company Genda Tech had begun to expand to the United States prior to the virus, said Erez Dror, CEO and co-founder. Now, dealing with a handful of sites in Texas, the application is using location tracking to ensure workers maintain social distances, as well as conduct contact tracing following positive coronavirus cases.

When workers arrive on jobsites, they are required to fill out a health questionnaire on the Gendar app, Dror said. If no red flags are raised, they are able to work while monitored by battery-powered tracking beacons placed onsite that ensure workers stay 6 feet apart, or another predetermined distance. 

Since social distancing can be challenging on a construction site, Dror said, Genda allows site managers to customize a limit on the number of workers in a given space, and when that is violated or changed, a notification is sent both to the workers in the area and the site manager in real time​. 

By using the tracking technology, superintendents can identify workers who were in close contact with someone onsite who had been deemed affected based on questionnaire results, and in what location, and work to clean the area or inform workers they need to quarantine. 

The new safety notifications were rolled out on top of the other ​safety capabilities of Genda Tech​, which Dror said is talking to more companies in North Carolina, Washington and the United Kingdom.

Earlier this month, construction software provider announced an addition to the capabilities of Vinnie, the software’s artificial intelligence system. Using cameras onsite, Vinnie is able to identify workers, as well as potential safety hazards, such as workers without gloves, hats or proper fall protection.

Vinnie now can update site managers in real time, as well as in a daily PDF report, when workers have been within 6 feet feet of one another. The images allow specific moments to be documented and shown to all stakeholders, to ensure the minimum safe distance is maintained.

The Predictive Analytics Strategic Council, a group made up of contractors using Vinnie for identifying potential safety incidents, was named Construction Dive’s Innovator of the Year in 2019. 


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