Nutrien announced expanding its use of Proximity Trace, workplace tracking and surveillance technology, from Triax Technologies, as part of an effort to redefine work. Roughly 6,500 employees at the company’s Saskatchewan sites and the corporate offices are scheduled to use the technology in the coming months, Nutrien reported.

Proximity Trace uses sensors on clothing or in hard hats to measure the distance between users. It sends an audible and visible alert when users get within 6 ft of each other. The sensors can collect data on the users and their interactions, and can support contact tracing.

Currently, 8,000 employees at the company’s nitrogen and phosphate sites in the U.S. use the technology. Nutrien initially adopted the technology in summer 2020 when health authorities encouraged companies to take measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Data on the virus from China later showed working-age people in general have a roughly 99% survival rate for the virus. Most of those who catch it have either mild or no symptoms, and beat it within a week.

Now, Nutrien’s usage of the technology is being expanded as the company moves to “redefine the future of work with safety and integrity at the forefront,” Brent Poohkay, chief information officer, said. With the development, roughly 65% of Nutrien’s global employee base will use Proximity Trace.

A medical expert at the company said he encouraged workers to “think of themselves as living within 6-ft bubbles.” Since deployment of the system, physical distancing alerts have reduced the number of close contacts, positive cases and quarantines, Nutrien said. The automated data system has improved the efficiency and accuracy of tracking personnel and tracing contacts, it said.