Mitigating risks for lone workers in water companies

Mitigating risks for lone workers in water companies

Remote locations, angry customers, and hazardous materials; working alone in the water and wastewater sector presents a range of risks. When someone turns on their taps or uses the bathroom, the last thing on their minds is the person at the very start of the water supply. If they do speak to a water company about their bill or a related issue, it’s normally a customer service employee at the other end of the phone. But what about those people who are physically out in the field working alone?

From monitoring wastewater to checking meters

There are a vast and varied number of lone working roles in the utilities sector, from monitoring wastewater treatment plants to checking meters and water quality at reservoirs and pumping stations. A water company might be responsible for making sure clean water is supplied to millions of customers, but often the people who make this happen are lone workers in remote and potentially high-risk locations.

These risks can range from a number of things: working with high-voltage materials, contaminated water, toxic chemicals and gases everyday can be hazardous. For this group of workers, physical security is a priority and must be seriously considered; Intrinsically Safe devices with lone working features are essential (we recommend Twig and Ecom). Companies must prepare for the worst, as human error is inevitable and accidents do happen from time to time. And that’s where Safe Hub comes in, providing a range of functions that support workers in real-world situations.

Read about how American Water deployed Safe Hub for lone workers across the United States.

Reactive support with Safe Hub’s Worker Down feature

Lone workers operating in utility plants and other environments can face the risk of incapacitation or injury, due to slips, trips or falls. To support such workers, Safe Hub has features that can be delivered using a range of devices. Critically for this type of lone worker, our Worker Down feature uses in-built motion sensor technology to detect sudden impacts or changes in the handset’s orientation. Worker Down is available on the smartphone app, and personal devices such as SOS Fob and ProtectMe.

SPOT Gen3 for remote locations without mobile signal

Often lone workers in the utility sector are also working remotely. Given that these workers will often be operating in areas with poor or non-existent mobile phone signal, devices such as satellite phone SPOT Gen3, will be the most suitable. For lone workers in this category, there are also a range of risks associated with travelling to different locations and entering people’s properties. Dependent on the role, there may also be a factor of task-related risk, such as working from height or in a potentially hazardous environment.

Find out about Northumbrian Water Group’s award-winning deployment of SPOT Gen3 and Safe Hub.

Facing aggressive and unpredictable customers

For workers requesting payments, there are also risks of potential aggression or violence from non-compliant customers. For a worker who feels unsafe in a situation Safe Hub is a multi-functional, secure, web-based system with integrated safety applications. The platform connects lone workers through specialist devices or cell phone and desktop applications to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). The platform works on the widest possible range of devices, so there’s a solution for every lone working scenario.

We’re used to having our water on tap. In a highly competitive and accountable sector where customers expect clean, safe and affordable services, protecting lone workers in the field is fast becoming a top priority for companies.

Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today

Post by George Stavrinidis

George is Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He believes passionately that everyone should be protected and supported at work. George supports LWS clients to make sure they enjoy the most effective relationship with the team and maximise the effectiveness of their deployment of Safe Hub.

About Lone Worker Solutions

At Lone Worker Solutions, it’s our business to protect employees, managers and shareholders from the risks associated with working alone. This includes the potential hazards faced by staff who work by themselves, remotely, or out-of-sight or earshot of colleagues. When it comes to safety we don't believe in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach; instead, we tailor our solution to each organisation's exact needs.

About Safe Hub

Safe Hub is an award-winning package of emergency, buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for lone workers. Safe Hub supports lone and remote workers on the widest possible array of BS8484:2016 Gold Certified devices, including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerrys, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist personal safety devices and satellite phones.