Lone utilities workers are keeping gas, electricity and water flowing during lockdown

Lone utilities workers are keeping essential services running
Lone utilities workers are keeping essential services running even during lockdown

While most people in the UK stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS, we’re all reliant on a small army of key workers. And workers in the utilities sector form one battalion in this army. Of course, many of the usual large consumers of utilities are currently shuttered or operating a skeleton service. But even with lower demand overall, it doesn’t mean that utilities companies can shut up shop. Even as we move into spring and the weather warms, domestic consumers still all need to be supplied with gas, electricity and water. In this blog, we take a closer look at some of the roles that lone utilities workers are still undertaking during lockdown. As they’re working, they face everyday risks, but Safe Hub is available to them throughout.

Lone utilities workers in a variety of roles

In the utilities sector, lone working teams often work alone for extended periods at wastewater treatment plants or up high on power lines. 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. Companies must prepare for the worst, as human error is inevitable, and accidents do happen from time to time.

Right now, during lockdown, some other lone utilities workers are on hiatus. Such roles as meter reading or revenue enforcement are on pause as visiting clients’ homes is not to be encourages. But some office workers are still working, either in a central hub such as a helpline service or remotely from home. While this category of workers is generally the lowest risk, there are still risks associated with these roles. Risk assessments for individual roles need to consider issues of location, timing relating to personal safety, and access to valuable organisational resources.

How Safe Hub protects lone utilities workers, from emergencies to proactive support

Lone workers operating in utilities plants and in the field primarily face the risk of incapacitation or injury, due to slips, trips or falls. To support such workers, Safe Hub has support features which 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. For more active danger, workers can always themselves trigger a Red Alert if they feel themselves to be in danger. And even when lone utilities workers work in hazardous environments, we’ve got them covered with our intrinsically safe devices.

For lower-risk lone utilities worker roles, they’ll be best supported with our proactive Safe Check feature. This provision for users to ‘check in and out’ of their lone working tasks means that a company can verify the safety of their workers during their working hours. Similarly, Red Alert can sometimes be useful for such workers too. Often this group of workers will be using a mobile phone app or a laptop to access our services, all of which work seamlessly with our software.

Safe Hub has bespoke packages for each utilities sector client

Our proprietary software platform, Safe Hub allows utilities companies to offer a range of emergency, proactive and reactive support to different groups of workers. The platform provides the highest-possible degree of flexibility around the number of lone workers, and the level of protection which each of them requires. We can deploy a range of devices, apps and features to make a bespoke package work, managed in one simple user interface. For each worker, we can allocate protection, monitoring, escalation and response procedures tailored to each individual worker’s risk assessment.

At the core of our services, we ensure direct access to emergency services, bypassing the usual 999 call procedures in the event of emergency. Responders can be directed in real-time not only to a precise outdoor location, but the exact floor and room where an employee is located if indoors. All this is made possible as Safe Hub connects lone utilities workers to a Category II Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Just like the utilities sector, our ARCs operate around the clock and throughout the year – and even during lockdown, we’re fully operational.

Protecting lone utilities workers during lockdown, and preparing for life after

Keeping the water flowing and the gas and electricity on throughout lockdown is a vital service. Apart from anything else, people need access to electricity to power video conferences. Given the exhortation to wash hands frequently, keeping the warm water flowing has also never been more important. During lockdown, Safe Hub protects lone utilities workers whenever and wherever they may be operating. Whether it’s maintaining pipes and cables in the field or supporting IT systems from home, we provide lone worker safety. And even once lockdown restrictions are lifted, we’ll still be here for all the various utility sector lone working job roles. #LoneUtilitiesWorkers #EssentialServices #GoldStandard #LoneWorkerSafety

Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about protecting lone utilities workers during lockdown and beyond.

Post by Georgia Parsons

Georgia is an Account Manager at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). She introduces new clients to Safe Hub, our award-winning system to protect and monitor lone workers. Safe Hub is a package of emergency, buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for lone workers. The system 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.