Duty of care

What is Contact Tracing and How Vault Solo Can Help

Sep 10, 2020

The war against COVID-19 is currently in the ‘control’ stage. While scientists study vaccines and immunisations, governm...

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The war against COVID-19 is currently in the ‘control’ stage. While scientists study vaccines and immunisations, governments around the world try to balance the delicate task of keeping their economy flowing while controlling the outbreak.

It not an easy task to balance. The lockdown of businesses and citizens controls the outbreak but destroys the economy. If you open up the country, you end up with an outbreak of COVID-19 cases that is teetering on the brink of being out of control.

One part of the war against COVID-19 that doesn’t gather as much attention as it should is contact tracing. As countries begin reopening or trying to reopen, contact tracing is going to play an integral role in how they control the spike in cases.

Businesses and organisations around the world are trying to carefully navigate a path towards reopening while attempting to balance both government restrictions and their duty of care to their employees and customers.

While physical distancing and PPE are relatively easy to establish and monitoring their effectiveness is achievable, controlling where your employees have been, who they have come in contact with, and for how long it is a lot harder.

 

What is contact tracing, and why is it so important?

Contact tracing is identifying where someone has been, who they came in contact with, how long they came in contact with that person, and what chance of infection is there because of that contact. When the community is mostly under a lockdown or stay at home restrictions, contact tracing is a lot easier compared to a community that has no restrictions.

If your business has three people that work out of one location, contact tracing may not be such a huge issue. You can physically control who enters and exits the business, where they travel in the business, how they interact with your staff, and how your staff interacts with each other.

It’s when your business has hundreds or thousands of employees, operating over multiple locations, spread across the state or country that contact tracing becomes an essential part of your workplace health and safety responsibilities. Not only if someone infectious enters your business, but also if one of your employees becomes infected.

Currently, there are a variety of different approaches being taken to tackling how to manage contact tracing successfully. A traditional method is a group of people working in a call centre. When someone is identified as having contracted COVID-19, they are interviewed about where they have been and who they have come in contact with. Phone operators then contact anyone that may be at risk of contracting COVID-19 and start establishing timelines of contact.

A more technology-based approach to contact tracing is applications on your mobile phone that run in the background and track where you have been and how long you came in contact with other people during that time. When someone you have come into contact with identifies as having COVID-19, anyone at risk is sent a notification.

The Australian government, for example, has established an application known as the COVIDSafe app. This app tracks where you have been and if you have been in contact with anyone infectious. Both Google and Apple are both working on their version of contact tracing technology, but that’s not due for release for some time.

The drawback to any contact tracing phone application is how many people are using it? Unless you have more than 40% of the population using the app, it won’t be effective. Many people are hesitant to download and install apps that track where they have been and who they have come into contact with, fearing that the data gathered will be misused.

While these solutions are designed to help the community, what are businesses supposed to do to manage their work health and safety responsibilities to both employees and the general public? Vault Solo could be the solution that businesses are looking for regarding successfully managing work health and safety responsibilities and contact tracing.

 

What is the solution to successful contact tracing?

So, we have defined what contact tracing is and how contact tracing is supposed to work, but what is the solution for businesses? While it’s almost impossible for one approach alone to work 100%, combining different elements of available methods will give you the best coverage and help your business to meet its WHS obligations.

Vault Solo is an enterprise solution designed to help businesses meet their WHS obligations. It includes options like GPS tracking to track where any infected person may have been and who they came in contact with, geofences, duress alerting, auditable communications, surveys, and employee feedback and communication.

Having a good relationship with your employees is the key to the successful implementation of any contact tracing. The more willing people are to participate, the more successful your program will be. This requires honesty, transparency, and communication in both directions.

How are you managing contacting tracing at your business or organisation? If you would like to talk to us about Vault Solo and your contact tracing needs, or just how Vault Solo could help your business improve its productivity, then please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly.

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