Leave no worker behind: Maximise lone worker's safety in hazardous areas
| Written by Geir Nerbø
Lone worker regulations are raising awareness that companies need to provide workers with devices that can connect them to safety resources.
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Imagine, it is Thursday afternoon and you send a person out to perform a routine check in a hazardous area. The person checks his PPE, prepares his tools and walks to the specific area. On site, his personal gas monitor alerts him to high levels of dangerous gases. He should call for backup, but it could be another hour before an assistance can get to the location. He knows this situation, it has happened before, so he thinks he can manage to do the routine check quickly and get out there in a few minutes. He mutes the alarm on his monitor entering the area, starts his routine checks and is overcome by the gases.
When you haven’t heard from the contractor the next day, you ask around the closest colleagues. Nobody has seen him. You remember he was headed out to one of your hazardous areas the last time you saw him. You send someone to look for him – but by then, it’s too late.
Situations like this are the devastating reality for too many lone workers. Lone workers like contractors and oil and gas workers and many more face the same hazards, but they can’t rely on a coworker or a passerby to help them in an emergency.
In some parts of the world, lone worker regulations are raising awareness that companies need to provide workers with devices that can connect them to safety resources.
Today, there are several opportunities for connectivity of lone workers. Some things you should be looking for in a lone worker device to ensure your workers maximum safety:
Integrated Solution – Many lone worker devices on the market today are one-trick ponies. They can provide GPS tracking or a panic button or a man down alert or gas detection with live monitoring.
Automatic Failover Connectivity – Lone workers are often dispatched to remote areas with little to no cellular coverage. If your lone worker solution relies on cell connectivity, your worker will be without a lifeline at some point. That means the mobile worker is truly alone, and safety personnel have no visibility into what hazards they face or where they’re located. If something such as an H2S alarm with no response were to happen, safety personnel would not know to send help. Your lone worker device must have automatic failover connectivity through another method.
Live Monitoring and Alerts – You constantly need monitoring to show you where a worker is located at any given moment, but you should also expect real-time alerts. Nobody has time to constantly monitor a map of worker locations, so you should find a lone worker solution that offers instant alerts to grab your attention. Those alerts should include the worker’s name and location and minutes within the area for the alert – whether it’s a man-down alarm, panic situation, or exposure to a gas hazard - protecting miners effectively. Learn more about typical scenarios to use miner tracking solutions.
Infrastructure to Connect Devices – Most lone worker devices relay live data through a gateway back to safety personnel on site. Unfortunately, some of these gateways need extra infrastructure for every few monitors. With today’s technology, you should be able to connect devices with one gateway, which could lead to thousands of dollars in cost savings.
Automatic Connectivity – Being a lone worker is hard, so don’t add the burden of troubleshooting connectivity issues. The best lone worker monitoring systems automatically connect devices in the field to cloud monitoring systems as soon as they’re powered on – no questions asked.
No Maintenance – Look for a lone worker solution with a no maintenance gateway – one that can run from a power supply like a vehicle that won’t require charging or cables.
With miner tracking' Crew Companion we register when the worker enters/exits a specific zone. If the tag is not detected in a selected exit zone within a given time an alert will be raised to the control room and necessary actions can be taken.
Looking out for the safety and well-being of your workers is a huge responsibility, but it’s one you don’t have to shoulder alone. Lone worker devices can help you avoid situations like the one presented here, so you never have to live with the regret of, “If only I had known he needed me.”
If you choose your solution carefully, you can be sure knowing you have complete visibility into what your workers are experiencing, even when they’re miles away.