BBC staff refuse to wear ‘social distancing sensors’ after devices start smoking

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BBC staff refuse to wear ‘social distancing proximity sensor’ to ensure they stay two meters apart in the office after devices ‘start smoking’

  • BBC staff told to wear ‘proximity devices’ that beep when 2m rule is broken
  • However, sources claim that staff stopped using them after they started ‘smoking’
  • BBC says one device had a problem but staff still used it regularly

Social distancing devices given to BBC staff to ensure they follow Covid protocols are being discarded due to safety concerns and noise complaints.

Company employees were given the devices in January and were told the technology would alert them if they were less than two meters away from anyone else.

The devices were designed to be worn around the neck or in the pocket and were given to journalists working on major news programs in corporate offices.

BBC staff have stopped using the Covid social distancing devices due to safety concerns after someone started smoking, while other staff claim devices are making too much noise.  Devices are designed to ensure staff remain 2 meters apart when working in BBC offices

BBC staff have stopped using the Covid social distancing devices due to safety concerns after someone started smoking, while other staff claim devices are making too much noise. Devices are designed to ensure staff remain 2 meters apart when working in BBC offices

The devices use technology that transmits wireless signals and they buzz when devices are less than two meters away from each other.

The devices were distributed at the entrances of office buildings from January this year.

However, sources have told the Guardian that the devices are being discarded by staff due to safety concerns and noise pollution.

A source told the paper that a device “started to smoke” and had to be taken out of service, adding: “If they can’t handle daily use and catch fire or overheat, then they shouldn’t be here.”

Another source claimed they were making too much noise that they got in the way of ‘making TV’ and so were not being used.

The source said: ‘They get in the way of making TV… they make so much noise, so no one has used them.’

Workers at 'key BBC locations' were given devices that warn them if they are less than two meters away from someone else.  Pictured: Broadcasting House, BBC headquarters

Workers at ‘key BBC locations’ were given devices that warn them if they are less than two meters away from someone else. Pictured: Broadcasting House, BBC headquarters

A BBC spokesperson acknowledged there was a problem with one device and said the BBC was in talks with the manufacturer.

The spokesperson added: “We are surprised that a problem with a single electronic device is a news item, especially as the devices are used where social distancing is a challenge and they are about safety.”

During the pandemic, the BBC saw a mix of staff working from home, with some staff continuing to work in key office locations if they were in ‘service critical roles’.

The BBC said where this was the case, Covid safe measures were being followed, including social distancing.

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