Black & Veatch’s “BV Safe Contact” Tool Leverages Connected Data to Keep Workers Protected During Pandemic


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The coronavirus pandemic has affected the way of life for millions of Americans, but many are still responsible for their daily duties. The telecom industry is imperative as much of the workforce continues to rely on connectivity to telecommute. Reliable networks are needed for both basic and emergency communication as well as telehealth and tele-education initiatives. In an effort to protect essential workers, Black & Veatch developed a geospatial tracking tool to safeguard field services and construction crews during the current health crisis.

Black & Veatch, a global provider of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services, rolled out “BV Safe Contact” in April, which connects live health and safety data with project management data. “Although we are experiencing a global pandemic, services such as telecommunications, power, and water projects are still in high demand and even more critical than ever,” said Edward A. Sutton III, P.E., program manager and systems architect for Black & Veatch. “BV Safe Contact uses technology to continuously monitor potential exposure and health threats on project sites to keep workers safe while ensuring projects can move forward.”

How does BV Safe Contact work? The cloud-native tool combines health and safety data, pulled directly from Johns Hopkins University in real-time, and links it to active client project locations. BV Safe Contact identifies active COVID-19 hot spots and potential high-risk areas. With access to this data, customers can make intelligent, proactive decisions regarding how best to dispatch field service workers to simultaneously maintain their health and wellbeing and keep projects on track.

“The tool was inspired by the need to make intelligent, informed decisions about the safety of our field crews and construction professionals – and those of our clients – during this current global health crisis,” said Sutton.

The BV Safe Contact tool helps leaders make informed decisions about construction and field workers by:

  • Tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases via geospatial mapping and overlaying the data with active client project locations.
  • Identifying potentially unsafe sites and recommending safer workplaces at the county level.
  • Monitoring exposure potential vs. population density and the spread of the virus over time.
  • Tracing the interactions of employees on the job site to record potential exposures.

Focused on leading with an “innovation-first mindset,” Black & Veatch is committed to expanding the offerings of BV Safe Contact to mitigate risk for field workers via a robust crisis-management tool.

Additional capabilities available via the platform include a field collection app for employee contact tracking, which enables leadership to:

  • Trace interactions between employees (on a person-to-person level) to record potential exposures and predict future high threat scenarios.
  • Use advanced visualizations and analytics to alert employees of potential exposure, enabling them to quickly self-isolate and get treatment if needed.
  • Query, sort, and view data for specific uses.

The tool relies on a cloud-native connected data platform called Nora: Total Project Awareness, which was created by Black & Veatch’s telecommunications business last year to better manage large-scale distributed infrastructure projects.

Black & Veatch clients in several areas across the country, including those in regions hit hardest by COVID-19 (New York and New England), have utilized BV Safe Contact throughout the pandemic. “Black & Veatch’s unique capabilities put us in position to not only help manage this crisis but to offer valuable client solutions,” said John Janchar, president of Black & Veatch’s telecommunications business.

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company with a 100-year legacy of creating a better world for humanity today and for generations. Since 1915, Black & Veatch has delivered reliable, innovative infrastructure solutions with a commitment to customers. For more information, visit

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