Geo-Economics and Politics

Traffic light for bathroom break is new normal in coronavirus Italy

A worker is seen by a traffic light limiting the access to bathrooms inside the ISA factory that has introduced new safety measures to respect social distancing among workers to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bastia Umbra, Italy, April 22, 2020, in this still image taken from video. REUTERS TV via REUTERS - RC2BAG9Z9LJB

Getting the green light. Image: REUTERS

Matteo Berlenga
Correspondent, Reuters
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Geo-Economics and Politics?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how COVID-19 is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

COVID-19

  • Some factories are reopening in Italy.
  • The return made possible thanks to a combination of high- and low-tech solutions.
  • One factory has introduced a traffic light system for the bathrooms to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Simone Mela never dreamed that a traffic light would determine when he could take a bathroom break in the factory where he works. But in the world according to coronavirus, that is the new normal.

And he feels lucky to have a job. Only 200 of the 800 workers at the ISA company, which makes refrigerated display cases for bars, restaurants and supermarkets, have so far been able to return to the factory in Italy’s Umbria region.

Have you read?

The gradual return has been made possible through a combination of solutions ranging from simple to innovative to high tech.

Strips taped on the floor create walking lanes and delineate work areas.

A yellow and green traffic light system was installed to keep the bathrooms safe. Workers flick a switch as they enter or leave the bathroom and the colour of the light tells those who want to enter if they can or have to wait.

The high-tech end of the company’s back-to-work strategy is a system known as SWAT, or System Workers Advance Tracing.

Employees scan an app onto their smartphones and clip a small white device on to their work clothes.

Loading...

It vibrates if they get too close to another worker and simultaneously sends a signal to a computer database.

“We are sure that it is not a tool to spy on us. It is only a device to increase safety distances and to report close contacts,” said Mela. “If we find a positive case, it will be easier to trace the contacts they had. We feel very safe.”

A similar system is on trial in the port of Antwerp.

ISA’s managers realised that if they wanted to stay in business, they had no choice but to modify work patterns and safety measures.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

“To help people to cope with this virus - which unfortunately won’t be going away in coming days and weeks - we developed a hardware and software system to help people work together in a safe way and adhere to social distancing,’ said ISA’s general manager, Marco Giulietti.

Employees’ body temperatures are checked when they enter the factory and they all wear masks, gloves and face shields.

To provide further protection, plexiglas dividers have been put up between work stations along the assembly line. But they extend from the waist up so workers can still pass material and talk to each other.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Geo-Economics and PoliticsHealth and Healthcare Systems
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

European financial institutions are confronting new challenges. Here's how

Kalin Anev Janse and Kim Skov Jensen

May 22, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum