Keeping Field Engineers Safe In The Utilities Sector

Safe Hub’s Worker Down and Safe Check features provide a critical line of communication to lone utilities workers working in remote areas.

Keeping Field Engineers Safe In The Utilities Sector

Picture the scene. You’re a lone field engineer, working a hundred feet up a telegraph pole in a remote area. You take a deep breath of fresh air and survey your view of the sky and countryside. Not another living soul to be seen for miles. Just you at one with nature, doing your job. Wonderful! However, life is unpredictable. In a heartbeat everything changes. You are suddenly taken ill, but there’s no one to hear your cries. That bird flying past can’t help. What do you do? Alternatively, else you’re a lone utilities worker on the ground. You trip over a broken manhole cover, or even end up falling through one. Severely injured, you reach for your phone. Things go from bad to worse: you’ve got no reception. These are just two of the scenarios to consider when keeping field engineers safe in the utilities sector.

Prioritise health and safety

Health and safety is paramount. Our Worker Down feature uses an inbuilt sensor for mobile handsets and specialist devices (see more below). The sensors work by monitoring the movement and orientation of the handset. Someone’s handset hasn’t moved for a period of time? It could indicate the worker has come to harm or has suffered an injury. That’s when Worker Down starts moving fast. It will automatically raise an alert with our Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), where a highly trained operative will access the worker’s GPS location. The operative will then call the lone worker to see if they’re OK. If they are OK, it’s no dramas and back to business. What if they’re not OK? The ARC operative will immediately take the next steps, and the relevant emergency services will quickly be dispatched to the worker’s location.

Keeping field engineers safe in the utilities sector

When it comes to health and safety, planning ahead is crucial. If you work alone its important to take a hand in your own health and safety needs. Safe Check is a periodic welfare ‘check in’ system that each lone worker can set before heading off to a remote environment. Automated prompts are set at specific time intervals, which can be amended accordingly to each individual’s working practices and routines. At the end of each set interval, the lone worker or field engineer is requested to enter a code on their device or app. Safe Check automatically resets, and a new interval countdown starts. If a lone worker fails to check in or respond to a prompt, it will trigger that critical alarm response to the ARC.

Personal protective equipment

Specialist work situations require specialist devices. A tough work environment needs a tough bit of kit. Our SPOT Gen3 does both. It is a satellite device that provides a critical life-saving line of communication in remote areas where most other phones simply won’t work. Deploying top-notch GPS technology, SPOT Gen3 sends the user’s location information to the ARC if the lone worker triggers the prominent Red Alert emergency button. Otherwise, our robust SOS Fob is very user-friendly and has a roaming multi-network SIM to maximise signal coverage in areas of poor phone reception. No one wants to be left hanging in the air when they go to work, quite literally, if you are a hundred foot up a telegraph pole. Keeping field engineers safe in the utilities sector is what we’re here to do.

Download the Health & Safety Executive's guide to working at height here >

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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