Australia Post deploys wearable contact tracing tech for staff

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Australia Post deploys wearable contact tracing tech for staff

For faster, more accurate identification of close contacts.

Australia Post is introducing wearables for employees at letter and parcel sorting facilities to help with Covid-19 contact tracing and social distancing requirements, as it gears up for the Christmas rush.

The postal service said it had begun rolling out the Australian-made Smart Badge technology to make the process of identifying close contacts “faster and more accurate”.

It said the wearables provide “instant contact tracing, social distancing alerts and real-time data to manage site capacity”.

A spokesperson told iTnews that 6000 team members are currently using the technology at major processing facilities in NSW and Victoria, with a further 3000 expected to "come online shortly".

Australia Post said the wearables would be “vital” in the lead up to the busy Christmas period, with more than 52 million parcels expected to be sent in December alone.

More than 10,000 employees have already been forced to isolate during the pandemic, further straining the operations of the government-owned corporation during a period of high demand.

In September, as many as 500 staff were forced to isolate as a result of Covid-19 outbreaks, which coincided with a temporary pause on parcel pick-ups from e-commerce retailers.

Social distancing requirements at letter and parcel sorting facilities have also led to reduced capacity, resulting in longer delivery times.

A number of other companies, including Woolworths, Arnott's, Bulla, Bega and Newcrest Mining, also reportedly use the technology.

Australia Post said it is also installing telematics systems across all electric delivery vehicles, motorcycles and other vehicles to help identity hazards on the road and reduce risks.

Drivers also have a “duress button” which they can use to pinpoint the location of their vehicle in the case of an emergency or serious incident.

CEO Paul Graham said the technology had already helped Australia Post learn “about what our people face out on the roads”, and will be crucial to reducing serious incidents.

“We want all of our people arriving home safely at the end of their day,” he added.  

Updated at 2:53pm to include additional information from Australia Post.

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