Hartford Business Journal

May 4, 2020

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industry faces economic uncertain- ty, firms are implementing cutting- edge safety measures to keep work- ers safe and healthy, Shubert said. More than most industries, safety is ingrained into the construction sec- tor's DNA, he said. "Our safety efforts stepped up right away," Shubert said of social distanc- ing, worksite cleaning and health screenings companies enacted as CO- VID-19 led to worldwide quarantine measures. "It's a natural extension of what our first priority is, anyway." Construction companies requir- ing workers to wear N95 respirator masks is nothing new, said John Butts, the Connecticut Construction Industries Association's assistant executive director. But acquiring those masks and ad- ditional personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers has become more of a challenge amid such high demand. "What they're seeing is prices going through the roof," Butts said. "Construction companies are doing whatever they need to do to get PPE." While companies like Infinity and BBE are staggering shifts and checking work- ers' tempera- tures each day, the virus has inspired other construction- site innovations. Norwalk-based startup Triax Technologies, which specializes in cloud-connect- ed wearables for the construction industry, devel- oped Proximity Trace. The prod- uct is a device that's clipped onto construction workers' hard hats, and alerts workers if they're closer than six feet to one another, said Triax Chief Technology Officer Justin Morgenthau. "It actually has a conditioning effect," Morgenthau said. "You wear this for a couple of hours and you're much more aware of your proximity to other individuals." Proximity Trace also has a contact- tracing element that could be useful in fighting COVID-19's spread, Morgen- thau said. The device not only signals that workers came in close proximity, but also records the interaction. If a worker is diagnosed with CO- VID-19, the employer can track who that person came in close contact with to determine who else may be at risk. Triax is currently testing Proxim- ity Trace as part of a pilot program on three worksites in Groton, Boston and New York, Morgenthau said, add- ing that companies within and out- side the construction industry have expressed interest in the product. "We've seen significant interest not only from construction, but from manufacturing, food distribu- tion, energy and industrial organi- zations," Morgenthau said. Meantime, Connecticut's con- struction sector might see a silver lining in the pandemic, if recent employment trends continue. The state industry's addition of 700 jobs in March could reflect more Bos- ton area construction workers seeking jobs in Connecticut, Shubert said. Last year, Connecticut lost 3,400 commer- cial construction jobs, many of those to Massachusetts, Shubert said. "We noticed that some of the Con- necticut people that were traveling to Massachusetts for work were sudden- ly available in Connecticut," Shubert said. "We see that as giving us an opportunity to maybe get some of our Connecticut employees back." Connecticut Construction Industries Association President Don Shubert. PHOTO | HBJ FILE FORTY 40 UNDER DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS CHANGING THE WAY THE GAME IS PLAYED? FORTY FORTY FORTY 40 40 40 THE GAME IS PLAYED? VISIT WWW.HARTFORDBUSINESS.COM/HBJ-EVENTS/40-UNDER-FORTY-AWARDS TO NOMINATE TODAY. GOLD SPONOSRS: PRESENTED BY: PLATINUM SPONSORS: NOMINATION DEADLINE: 5/21

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