Med­i­cal gi­ant Smith & Nephew tri­als smart bracelets to en­cour­age staff back to of­fice

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Hasan Chowd­hury

WORK­ERS at hip re­place­ment maker Smith & Nephew have been given vi­brat­ing bracelets to keep them away from col­leagues in a bid to get back to the of­fice.

Staff were is­sued with de­vices made by Bri­tish robotics firm Thar­sus to help them stay two me­tres apart and pre­vent the spread of coro­n­avirus.

The Wat­ford-head­quar­tered firm held a three-week trial of Thar­sus’s Bump sys­tem, which vi­brates in what the man­u­fac­turer calls a “gen­tle, non­in­tim­i­dat­ing” way if two em­ploy­ees get too close.

Smith & Nephew has used the sys­tem in lab­o­ra­to­ries and ware­houses, and on its man­u­fac­tur­ing floor.

Thar­sus says it does not track work­ers’ move­ments. How­ever, its prod­ucts do col­lect data which al­lows com­pa­nies to mon­i­tor be­hav­iour and iden­tify po­ten­tial hotspots where so­cial dis­tanc­ing could prove dif­fi­cult. Brian Palmer, chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “Now that work­places are open­ing up to em­ploy­ees, the onus will be on busi­nesses to en­sure they are cal­i­brated in a way that re­duces risk to staff.”

Min­is­ters stepped up calls last week for work­ers across Bri­tain to re­turn to the of­fice and pre­vent city cen­tres from be­com­ing “ghost towns”.

Grant Shapps, Trans­port Sec­re­tary, has said that it is safe to go back to work in Eng­land, with of­fices in­tro­duc­ing mea­sures to be­come “Covid-se­cure”.

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