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Getting Back to Work: Tech Helps Improve Safety

Posted at 8:42 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 08:42:26-04

LANSING, Mich. — Companies know getting their employees back to work is key to surviving, staying competitive and keeping staff employed. Maya Rodriguez looks at how new technology aims to make it safer to be at work and what we can all expect if it becomes mainstream.

It looks like something out of science fiction – a portal made up of ultraviolet lights designed to kill an enemy you can’t see.

Christian Pinkston of Pinkston, INC. shared “that's kind of the first layer of protection that we've implemented.”

Christian heads up his own strategic communications firm. 50 employees usually work within this 16-thousand square foot office, but at the moment, it’s far fewer.

“Right now, it's dark and lonely.”

So Pinkston decided to turn to new technology to try and create a safer workspace for when employees return.

Starting with that portal of u-v lights. Designed to kill any pathogen including the coronavirus that may be on any person or thing. Pinkston, explained that “every guest or staff member will walk through you do kind of a slow turn.

The technology takes off from there. There are ultraviolet lights in the ceiling – at a level safe for humans but deadly to viruses and titanium dioxide – a compound sprayed on everything here… and said to self-disinfect any surface for up to a year.

Plus, there’s now a real-time, air monitoring system installed, researchers at Columbia University found that far u-v lights like these could eradicate two seasonal types of airborne coronaviruses. But what about the rest of the tech?

Dr. Donald Milton, University of Maryland Professor explained that “there’s not enough data yet to know what’s safe and what’s effective.” “I’m thinking a lot about what kind of investments make sense to try to protect people in workplaces.”

He says "it’s understandable for people to turn to technology as a coronavirus fix". But the eventual solution, he says will require more.

Milton believes “it’s going to be a combination of figuring out which technologies do work in the workplace, getting good ventilation in workplaces, getting good air sanitation, having good cleaning practices.”

Back at the office Pinkston says it’s all worth the investment of tens of thousands of dollars.

As Pingston shared, "it's a huge effort.”

One that might be required, of other workplaces if this proves to be effective.

Pinkston conducted an anonymous employee survey recently and found many employees still fear returning *despite* having that new technology installed. So, for now, the company has no set date for when workers might go back

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