Social remote alarms cause a stink in the French hygiene company

A global manufacturer of cloths and toilet paper has created a stink among its French employees after asking them to wear a device that goes off if they break social distance rules in the workplace.

The personal alarm system emits a warning sound of 85 decibels – about the same as a lawnmower – if the wearer gets too close to a colleague, according to upset union representatives in the group.

It will be tested at the French facilities for personal hygiene specialist Essity, a Swedish company that manufactures hand soap, tissue, hygiene products and napkins.

The CFDT union condemned the alarms as “a system comparable to those trying to discourage dogs from barking” and added that it would be stressful and “infantilizing” for employees.

Reached for comment at the company’s headquarters, spokesman Karl Stoltz told AFP that “it has only been tested in France”.

Employees have been told that the alarms are for their own safety and that the units will be deactivated in the company’s dining room, toilets and medical facilities.

The sensors will not be adapted and have no system that allows the company to find them, according to management.

The proposals will be discussed at a staff meeting next week, but employees are already warning that the units will end up as many of the company’s disposable products.

Christine Duguet, a trade union representative from the CFDT, predicted that “they will end up in the bins or stay in a locker. This is complete nonsense.”