Case Study: American Water
Protecting lone workers across 47 states
American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the US, serving 15 million people across 47 states. American Water employs 6,800 people in a wide range of roles, many of whom work alone, or out of their colleagues’ sight or hearing. In these scenarios and many others, the company was looking for ways to enhance its existing measures to improve safety.
In 2016, we were selected to provide lone worker protection services for American Water. The company’s priority had been to find a supplier who would work closely with them, to deliver a system that would meet their workers’ specific needs and improve safety. Our proprietary Safe Hub platform was considered the frontrunner in the utility company’s selection process.
One key factor was that we were able to install our proprietary monitoring software for Safe Hub on the American Water network. This allows the company’s Security Team to monitor their lone workers’ safety themselves.
The solution: Safe Hub’s smartphone app
We deployed Safe Hub via smartphone apps for both Android and Apple smartphones, which American Water had already supplied to workers. Several features stood out for American Water:
The Red Alert button, which overrides the handset’s keypad lock, allowing fast access in the event of an emergency.
The fact that our proactive and reactive support functions (Safe Check and Worker Down) run seamlessly in the background, without interrupting the normal function of the smartphone.
The use of GPS and GPRS technology, which provide accurate location data and the fastest possible alert transmission in the event of an emergency.
Putting clients and lone workers first
The needs of our clients and the end-users of our systems are at the heart of our approach. We constantly innovate to meet those specific and changing needs. Our integrated Safe Hub platform supports multiple devices, and allows individual users to have bespoke escalation and safety protocols. Meanwhile, team leaders have one comprehensive management interface with which to monitor their lone workers.
Customization, innovation & adaptability
To fully support American Water with the deployment, we were happy to customize the platform in several areas. We worked closely with their safety and health team to ensure each adaptation delivered genuine improvements for end-users.
Below, Steve White, our Chief Technical Officer, explains three of the key changes we introduced within the Safe Hub app’s safety modules.
For lone workers under stress, it’s vital to avoid confusion. We ensured that the terms we used matched the territory where the user was based. This helped to ensure users were familiar with the terms, which in turn resulted in high rates of user adoption.
Sometimes, lone workers need to hear a friendly and familiar voice. Some of Safe Hub’s functions include pre-recorded messages to acknowledge service access. These messages have been re-recorded by voice artists with US accents to aid comprehension and familiarity.
Historically, the lone worker industry has a poor track record of end-users exploiting centrally deployed technology. To resolve this issue we adapted the access protocols and introduced Automated Self Registration (ASR). Lone workers are identified and provided with an access code. They can then register with the system and have full access to a step-by-step download process and easy-to-understand user instructions. The platform is intuitive and allows workers to learn in their own time. This both reduces their reliance on supervisors, and encourages greater numbers of staff to access the system, to take ownership of their own safety.