WORKERS at Oxford’s Mini plant have raised alarm about the fact they have to turn off the ‘bluetooth’ function on their phones.

Employees have raised concerns because the wireless connection is used by the NHS coronavirus Test and Trace app to detect when people have been close to others who have the disease and alert them.

One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Oxford Mail that several members of staff had to go home and self-isolate last week after getting a notification from the app that they had been in close contact with someone who had the virus.

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However, they added: “Today we get told we are not allowed our phones on or bluetooth activated.”

BMW, which runs the Mini plant, explained in a statement that the ban on people carrying personal phones around the factory, and a ban on having bluetooth switched on, were both longstanding rules in place for safety.

They are also standard rules in many factory settings.

A MINI Plant Oxford spokesman said: “As a company we support the use of the NHS test and trace app on mobile phones and are following all the guidance regarding its use in workplace settings.

"It is a long established policy, set out prior to Covid-19, that bluetooth should be switched off on all phones when inside production buildings on site. Like many other major manufacturing locations across the UK, this is simply to prevent interference or disruption to our equipment taking place.

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"As we have previously stated, the health and well-being of our employees is paramount and we have implemented a wide range of measures to ensure that we are adhering to all Government guidelines.

"We continue to work closely with Public Health England and the Health & Safety Executive, who have approved our Covid-secure measures.”

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