The person in the equivalent job as me in 1930 would have been walking onto this site trying to persuade the directors of the main contractor, Starrett Brothers & Eken to buy PPE (Hard Hats; High Visibility clothing; Steel toe capped boots and safety goggles). The directors would have been much more preoccupied with the task of meeting the program set for the construction of the Empire State Building, a rate of one story a day, which they managed to complete in 1931 at $2 million under the original estimate, but tragically at a cost of 5 lives.

You can just imagine the discussion, “Why do I need to go to the extra time and expense of buying all this equipment when the men won’t wear it? They will say it is cumbersome and prevents them hitting their production targets.” Sadly  this thinking cost the lives of 5 men on the project, a number that quite rightly today would cause the site to be shut down by the Health and Safety executive pending an investigation and enquiry.

Thankfully on a modern construction site Health and Safety is taken far more seriously and as part of a rigorous Health and Safety regime PPE is mandatory. Unfortunately, however thorough the modern Site Safety regime is, it has never come up against a threat like COVID-19 and has no experience or tools to mitigate this lethal risk. (To date more than 38,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the UK). Today Self-Isolation is the only ‘Tool in the Box’, hence the unprecedented 2 month national lock-down.

This is not sustainable and now, as the nation comes out of Lock-down, everyone is searching for ways to protect workers as they return to work. None more so than the Construction Industry where it is impossible to Self-Isolate 100% by working from home.

At Rapid-DBS we have come up with one answer to the problem by developing a tool that allows every site to; ‘Track, Audit and Manage’; ‘TAM’ every worker in real time. This allows managers to achieve the following:

  • Know in real time where every site operative is.
  • Record all these movements on site.
  • Search these records so anyone who was in the same area as a worker who has subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 can be isolated.
  • Record any breach of Social Distancing rules e.g. 2m distancing for more than 15 minutes live and issue real time warnings (Buzzers / Lights)
  • Record ‘Hot Spots’ where there have been high concentrations of workers so these areas can be managed by H&S Marshalls to mitigate the risk for the rest of the project.
  • Provide data and analysis to H&S officials for ‘Lessons Learned’ on future projects.

This is a new era requiring new and innovative tools to deal with the problems that now faces us.  Like the introduction of the hard hat has saved countless lives, so now the Introduction of Rapid’s TAM Technology will do the same. In 90 years’, time this will be seen as an inevitable and a very progressive step forward by the industry.  “Imagine a site without TAM!” They will say as we say today; “Imagine a site without PPE!”