COVID-19: Protecting At-Risk Workers With EHS Technology
The world is gripped in uncertainty and panic as the 2019 Coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues its spread. As of March 6, COVID-19 has infected over 100,000 people resulting in 3,300 fatalities in over 60 countries. COVID-19 quickly surpassed the combined numbers of Coronavirus-related 2003 SARS and 2012 MERS outbreaks in infection rate and fatalities within the first month of reporting. While firms and government bodies are working to develop a vaccine, the process is slow going. Johnson and Johnson said it could be 8 to 12 months before a vaccine is commercially available. Additionally, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on global supply chains and domestic growth. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has now scaled back its predictions for global economic growth to no more than 2.4%, or a realized $400 billion reduction.
As governments scramble to understand the spread of infection and face masks sell out at exponential rates, EHS technology vendors are exploring ways to utilize their solutions to protect workers and the general population. Worker tracking and management is essential to stemming the communal spread of COVID-19 and reducing infection risks for your personnel. Vault Intelligence, a compliance and risk management technology vendor, has recognized the value of its mobile application and platform to help manage a firm’s workforce for COVID-19 visibility. Vault’s mobile application and its associated wearable device called Vault Solo can track an employee’s real-time location and communicate pertinent health information onto the user’s device. Vault’s mobile app also allows workers to check in regarding their work status to help managers better understand the condition of their workers and make informed and actionable insights to protect the overall health of their remote workforce. Similarly, the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) utilizes Cority’s Travel Module to track its employees travel history, fitness levels, medical history and vaccinations. This has allowed the UNHCR to protect workers traveling to high-risk areas and translates into a valuable tool as infectious disease scares grow.
Ultimately, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and there has been no definitive solution recognized to fully prevent further infections. Information and training will play a crucial role in reducing the prevalence of infection within the workforce. Contractor management firm Cognibox has developed a free COVID-19 e-learning module to help educate workers on disease information and preventative measures. While experts continue their efforts to curb this epidemic, it is imperative to understand how existing EHS technology can help a firm protect its at-risk workers. Information management, mobile applications and lone worker solutions are tools that can provide visibility and management of workers to reduce the potential and severity of an outbreak within daily operations. Firms must develop proactive plans in dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and identify how new or existing technology can support their awareness of workers’ health and their associated emergency response.