The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is launching a research project to better understand Covid-19 transmission by studying physical interactions in the workplace.
The intention is, first, to better understand and control the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, as we adapt to living with the disease, HSE has said.
Second, the researchers hope to develop and improve our understanding of how we could better respond to future respiratory infectious disease outbreaks if they occur.
The researchers intend to provide small, wearable devices to willing workers at participating workplaces. These devices will be used in combination with static beacons, which will label the interactions collected by the wearables with location information. Key questions that the project aims to answer include:
- How often, for how long and at what distance do workers interact in different workplaces and sectors?
- How might these patterns be influenced by workplace social distancing policies, other Covid-19 control measures, and workplace design?
- How might the patterns of these interactions be changing during the pandemic?
Covid-19 and work
The static beacons will provide zoning information to help further refine the predicted risk of transmission (for example based on room characteristics such as size, ventilation and occupancy), or show how people behave in particular locations.
Workplaces being targeted by the research team include those with indoor operational areas, such as large offices, food and drink manufacturing, engineering, warehouses and fulfilment centres, and others.
The research programme is ideally looking for employers with 50 workers or more on site.
Interested employers (or their occupational health professionals) can find out more by contacting the research team by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 020 3028 3456. There is also an online invitation letter.