Skanska tests social distancing tech for wider safety drive

One of the social distancing wearable technologies tested by Skanska (image courtesy of the Construction Innovation Hub)

Skanska plans to test social distancing technology to improve site safety.

During the height of the pandemic, Skanska took part in a six-month research project led by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to examine the effectiveness of several location-based devices able to measure distance between individuals and notify them when that gap dropped below two metres.

The research concluded that, despite initially being conceived as a solution to social distancing, this type of technology has significant potential to help improve general site safety, for example by reducing the risk of injuries related to unintentional safety zone breaches, and this is how Skanska now plans to test the technology.

Dylan Roberts, Skanska UK director of health, safety, wellbeing and quality, said: “Following lockdown, these digital technologies formed part of our strategy to ensure sites could re-open and we could continue delivering great projects to our customers. Later this year, we’ll be applying this technology further as part of object detection trials to ensure the effective segregation of plant from people on our sites.”

MTC senior research engineer Ian Thompson added: “There are huge possibilities for this technology to positively impact the safety and wellbeing of construction workers generally. Initial testing and results indicate that it could help improve, and indeed save, lives.”

The original MTC test took place on an HS2 site and at the SAS 13 Bridge Replacement Project, where Skanska is working for National Highways.

Devices from Bump Technologies, Eleksen Wearable Technologies and Nomonsense were tested.

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