What are the biggest challenges in your opinion to bringing employees back to work?

One of the biggest concerns for most organizations is how to bring employees back to the office safely and how to then maintain that safety when a larger group of people are now occupying diverse office layouts. We see companies bridging their plans across the following aspects of the workplace:

  • Office layouts and workflow
  • Ensuring employees are safe to come to work and stay safe going forward
  • In the event someone tests positive, what are the steps you need to take to ensure the office and employees are kept safe

Many of the companies’ we have been working with are handling the layout and workflow through a variety of signage, cleaning processes and designation of work areas and excluded areas. For instance, elevators are limited in their capacity and have signage to demonstrate safe areas for riders to stand. Floors are populated with numerous hand sanitizing and disinfectant wipes or sprays to continually clean heavy trafficked areas and desks. Overall, these are the base for making sure the office is managed.

Once people start to arrive at the workplace, the many offices are utilizing government recommended testing to determine if employees are possibly infected through temperature checks for fever symptoms. This will not work with carriers who are still asymptomatic, but it does ensure that any employees displaying early symptoms like fever are checked and can be sent for further testing as required.

The last piece of the puzzle, ensuring employees are kept safe while at the workplace, is where United Safety can support our clients. We utilize technology to promote social distancing at the workplace. The side benefit is the same technology can also be used to provide contact tracing in the event someone tests positive.

Can you tell us about how United Safety can help implement any of the solutions you spoke about?

United Safety can help in all three instances. For smaller companies, a hand-held thermometer is enough to check employees’ body temperature. But for larger organizations, public facilities and industrial work sites which host hundreds of workers daily, United Safety has a remote thermal temperature monitoring system that can handle large groups of workers.

To ensure proper social distancing protocol is maintained at the workplace, United Safety has two different technologies we can deploy. The first is an RTLS-based system where employees wearing enabled tags are tracked. Tags will vibrate and reports are generated when user defined rules are violated for social distancing which alert both the company and the users of potential issues. The upside of the full RTLS is users can also identify areas (hot spots) where an infected employee has been, so they can be targeted for additional disinfection. A separate technology is more local in its use case. Tags look for other local tags and alert when social distancing rules are violated. Like full RTLS, reports are generated, but users are not tracked, only relative locations are recorded (tag to tag distances). The benefit to this use case is a less involved deployment and infrastructure for the user.

Lastly, if someone does test positive, both systems can provide a detailed contact tracing report of everyone the person has spent time with (normally a minimum of 15 minutes) in the past 14 days. The people can be contacted privately and tested to ensure that they are not carriers. In the event a full RTLS deployment is installed, a spaghetti diagram of all the areas and surfaces that the person has had contact with to ensure a thorough disinfection of those areas.

Have you implemented these solutions recently?

We have deployed both systems in offices and construction sites with users as few as 100 and as many as tens of thousands. Deployments have been successful with congregations in the hundreds as well as one on one.

Bringing employees back to work safely

Timothy Wallace

EVP, Western Hemisphere

Timothy Wallace is the Executive Vice President for the Western Hemisphere and responsible for our Global Technical Services division and is based out of Houston, TX USA. He has previously held the position of United Safety’s Vice President for the USA, and has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions at global manufacturing and service companies including Sulzer Chemtech and Chemineer Inc.

Prior to joining United Safety, he was the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Corrpro where he led significant sales growth in the oil, gas, and pipeline markets.

Tim has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.