Ford Motor Co. is now piloting new wearable social-distancing wristbands for its workers once its factories reopen, reports Bloomberg.
A group of workers at a factory in Plymouth, Michigan, are currently testing the wristbands that vibrate when someone on the assembly line comes within six feet of one another.
Kelli Felker, the company's spokeswomen, said the new wristbands could be deployed more widely when manufacturing plants reopen next month. She said the new devices would allow employees to work safely with social distancing in mind.
Ford is expected to restart production lines next month after a six-week shutdown. All employees will be subjected thermal-imaging scan before entering any facility. Felker said employees would be given protective medical gear such as masks, face shields, and gloves.
The new health measures are being worked out with the United Auto Workers union (UAW):
"Ford and the UAW are working closely to identify different ways to keep our people safe while they are at work," Felker said.
The Plymouth plant is also the site where Ford is producing ventilators and respirators for hospitals.
Starting in April, we’re producing a ventilator with @GEHealthcare, leveraging the design of @AironCorp’s FDA-cleared ventilator. It's designed to operate on air pressure without electricity, making it a versatile solution to help those fighting #COVID19. #BuiltFordProud pic.twitter.com/DtsB0fPGe0— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) March 30, 2020
The automaker has also converted airbag material and reworked assembly lines to manufacture protective suits for hospital workers.
And maybe Amazon's patent from a few years ago to track employees via wristbands could finally come in hand during these challenging times.
In a post-corona world, surveillance in the workplace will certainly increase.