As COVID-19 Vaccine Rulemaking Shifts to States, Eyrus Offers Vaccination Tracking

Tracking vaccination of direct and subcontractor employee vaccination status just got easier


The U.S. Supreme Court January 13 stayed President Joe Biden’s mandate for large companies to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing of their employees, and a federal appeals judge ruled January 5 against a vaccine mandate for federal contractors, leaving this requirement up in the air.

Now the contractor mandate is winding its way through the legal system state and local governments, which the Supreme Court said have jurisdiction over these public health matters, are asserting themselves. Construction contractors of all sizes will likely need to comply with a potentially unstable patchwork of state and even local regulations regarding vaccination status of their workers and in some cases, their subcontractors’ workers. Project owners and contractors will likely put in place their own vaccine mandates as a hedge against project delays or civil liability, which is also subject to state-by-state exemptions.

A mandate in place since December 6, 2021 in New York City, for instance, requires all private-sector employees working in the city to be vaccinated, including direct employees of contractors and their subcontractors. Debate about who has what jurisdiction in public health matters aside, contractors, project owners and other parties to a construction project will likely be implementing processes to mitigate compliance and project risk by tracking vaccination status.

Eyrus extends existing tool

Washington D.C.-based Eyrus, Inc, which offers a cloud-based platform for workforce visibility and field intelligence for construction site access control, field reporting, security, safety, and workforce certification has been evolving its tool set to address the pandemic for months.

In September of 2021 the company rolled out SafeProx, a solution comprised of an internet of things (IoT) beacon and virtual-access tool that that generates audible and visual alerts when workers come close enough to each other to make a reminder of social distancing desirable. It can also send anonymized data to workers that should quarantine as the system detected they were working near an infected individual, eliminating administrative work and avoiding shut down of an entire construction site because precise information on who had been exposed is readily available.

Today, the company announced the availability of new functionality for vaccine and certification tracking, preparing their customers to reduce lost time and project delays due to the pandemic while automating compliance in an unpredictable regulatory landscape.

The company has added to the platform tools for recording vaccination status of workers, religious exemptions and data on any applicable mandates for specific projects. This tool can be used on a project-by-project basis to conform with government, owner or general contractor mandates or as a hedge against worker attrition in the face of a pre-existing labor shortage.

The vaccine tracking tool extends their existing SafeProx functionality, according to company sources, requiring about 200 hours of additional development work.

“Vaccine tracking is a net knew feature,” Eyrus Founder and CEO Alexandra McManus said during a phone interview with ForConstructionPros. “Tying access control—virtual or physical—to certification or vaccination status is net new. The ability to report on those items is net new. Workers can also update their own profiles for a given construction site and use a mobile check-in process—that is also new and makes our entire platform very cost friendly.”

Manage risk independent of regulation

McManus stressed that regardless of government requirements or personal positions on vaccine and other mandates relating to the pandemic, tools for vaccine tracking are desirable for construction contractors.

“Provisions of the federal mandate have been slapped back—but this is still a feature we are offering for our customers,” she said “Individual employees can choose to answer the vaccination question yes, no or they can decline to answer … We are not creating policy. We are just creating the tools for our customers to make it easy as possible to comply with policy. The tool is there regardless of how each state decides to implement it.”

McManus said the software gives their customers the ability to attach an image of a vaccination card to the record of an individual working for them or a subcontractor on a project, but this is not standard. The system also enables customers to configure who gets notification when a non-vaccinated worker is on site. The goal according to McManus is to simply give their customers what they are asking for.

“My partner and cofounder (COO Hussein Cholkamy) keeps telling us—we are not smarter than our customers,” McManus said. “Our customers can tell us what they want and what they need to be reporting, but it is up to them as to whether they need vaccine cards for every employee or whether you need the current booster to be considered vaccinated. A lot of the “aha” moment that drove this functionality for us is needs-driven from the field. Our job is simply to make it easier for our customers to manage their site.”

Zone DashboardEyrus gives contractors the ability to see who is where on their construction site for resource management and safety management.Eyrus

Common sense safety, resource management

Vaccination tracking and the data architecture underpinning the Eyrus solution are part of an overall application set that supports project forecasting and scheduling but also can support safety by determining who is on which zone in a construction site and for how long.

“Once you have one true source of information, you can do things like notify a safety manager on a project site if there has been a changeover on crews,” McManus said. “According to OSHA, the first 80 hours someone is on site are the most accident-prone hours. If our customer’s subcontractor has an entire crew that is new onsite that day, we can proactively notify safety managers and use that information to better manage the site. Most contractors are not tracking new people—but that is when accidents happen.”

The Eyrus platform also enables fatigue tracking, without disruptive technology that tracks eye movement or other bio-indicators.

“We can start to notify a subcontractor, general contractor or owner that there are concerns with people working on site too long,” McManus said. “Once you start tracking data on who is on site, you can be very proactive.”

Eyrus is built around a central database encompasses every individual on a given construction site—including who they work for, which is important because a general or owner is still liable for the safety of those working on site for other companies in an extended supply chain. The application is configurable enough to track as little or as much information as required, ranging from safety certifications to vaccination status. Without accounting for IoT hardware, the cost is about $100 per project per month, putting it within range of most construction contractors.

BOTTOM LINE: Independent of the regulatory environment, it makes sense to avoid project delays caused by COVID-19 exposure or infections. Eyrus has a simple solution that puts contractors back in control of their site by treating infectious disease as just one more safety variable on the construction site.

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