The Port of Antwerp is gearing up to test a device aimed at helping workers respect social distancing. The port, which hosts over 900 companies, will run trials in May whereby 2 teams of port workers will wear an electronic bracelet that was originally designed to find tugboat crew members fallen overboard. The bracelets are worn like a watch. Coated in black plastic, they vibrate when they move to within three metres of each other. The vibration strength, similar to that of a mobile telephone but more obvious when attached to a wrist, increases the closer the bracelets get and warning lights flash.
The bracelets ensure physical distancing and collect no data. No plans have been announced at the port to use them to track workers’ movements or measure their performance as some companies elsewhere have explored doing. But they can be programmed to provide information.
Antwerp Port Chief Technology Officer Erwin Verstaelen said,
“You have a helmet, and your safety shoes, and you have swimming vests. All these kinds of things. And now we’re adding a wearable on top of that to make sure that people are safe, and if something goes wrong, that it is being detected as soon as possible”