As people don masks amid a second wave of coronavirus cases, one app company hopes to protect frontline workers.
As people don masks amid a second wave of coronavirus cases, one app company hopes to protect frontline workers.

Move to protect “front line” cafe workers

Australia's latest billion-dollar tech "unicorn" is rolling out new coronavirus apps amid warnings that coffee shops and shops have become potentially dangerous workplaces.

SafetyCulture, founded in a Townsville garage two decades ago and which includes former PM Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy among its investors, this week launched new apps that allow contact free monitoring of equipment and a checklist that allows workers to report health and safety breaches.

A recent capital raising has valued SafetyCulture at $1.3 billion, making it the newest member of the Australian unicorn club. A unicorn is a startup company valued in excess of $1 billion.

SafetyCulture chief operating officer Alistair Venn said the pandemic shutdown had changed the definition of what was a dangerous workplace.

"You don't need to wear a hard hat to work to be operating in a hazardous environment," said Mr Venn. "Workers in the retail and hospitality sectors are now on the frontline because of the level of foot traffic and interaction with the public."

SafetyCulture chief operating officer Alistair Venn
SafetyCulture chief operating officer Alistair Venn

Venn said SafetyCulture was working with its 27,000 client companies around the world to develop safety protocols around the including digital coronavirus check lists.

"We have been digitalising many of the government regulations around COVID 19," he said. "A coffee shop owner may be worried about whether to reopen and if they do so are they putting their employees at risk."

The checklist could flag to the coffee shop owner that tables haven't been cleaned or social distancing stickers had fallen off a wall. "The silver lining of COVID-19 has been that a far broader set of industries are taking safety very seriously," he said.

One of the company's new apps allow companies to contactlessly monitor conditions like temperature and humidity levels in real-time and be alerted when things go out of range and respond immediately. The other app allows workers to instantly report possible safety breaches so immediate action could be taken.

The company has helped food delivery service Marley Spoon avoid thousands of dollars in stock losses thanks to sensors that made sure $100,000 of stock stayed at the right temperature.


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