Many people rarely give much thought to how their gas arrives at their cooker or their water to their tap. But for workers at gas, electricity and water suppliers or integrated providers, it’s their daily job. Given the crucial nature of utilities in the functioning of the economy, there’s tight government regulation to ensure reliable supply. And the risks involved in working in the sector ensure that strict health and safety legislation is in place too. For lone workers at utilities companies, this is especially important. In this blog, we’re going to look at three different categories of utility lone workers – and how Safe Hub can mitigate the main risks in these job roles.
Scenario 1: High-risk utility lone workers, field engineers
Typically, many of the risks for lone workers in the sector centre on ‘Worker Down’ scenarios, such as for engineers in plants or working in the field. In the utilities sector, lone working teams often work alone for extended periods of time at wastewater treatment plants or up high on power lines. They 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 and apps. Critically, our Worker Down feature uses in-built motion sensor technology to detect sudden impacts or changes in the handset’s orientation. The Safe Hub App, SOS Fob or ProtectMe are ideal solutions to provide Worker Down coverage.
However, field engineers in particular often don’t have immediate access to standard emergency services, if they’re operating in an area where mobile phone coverage is patchy. Clearly, many lone workers in this category will also require personal protective equipment, so it’s vital to ensure that any lone worker safety device is compatible with such equipment. Workers in this scenario would benefit from accessing Safe Hub using a satellite device such as our SPOT Gen3 or SPOT X. They’re satellite devices that provide critical life-saving lines of communication in remote areas where most other phones simply won’t work. They provide emergency Red Alert protection wherever the worker may be – and their robust buttons work even when used with safety gloves.
Scenario 2: Medium-risk utility lone workers, working with the public
For utility lone workers who have direct interaction with the public, there are 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 at height or in a potentially hazardous environment. For workers enacting termination-of-service-notices, there are also risks of potential aggression or violence from non-compliant customers at these properties. A good choice for such workers is SOS Fob, which combines GPS and communications technologies. In the event of an emergency, pinpointing a worker’s location saves valuable minutes when a Red Alert is triggered. We also have Yellow Alert voice memo, where workers can leave identifying information which will provide useful contextual information.
Scenario 3: Lower-risk utility lone workers, working remotely or in an office
While utility lone workers operating in an office or remotely are generally in the lowest-risk category, there are still risks associated with these roles. Many workers in this category will 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. Often this group of workers will be using a mobile phone app or a laptop to access Safe Hub, all of which work seamlessly with our software.
A proactive response to hazards in the utilities sector
Working in the utilities sector can be hazardous – and sadly, fatal accidents do happen. Meanwhile, non-fatal injuries can be devastating for those involved. Injuries include stress through extreme temperatures, both cold and heat. Chemical and biological hazards are particular concerns in water and sewerage utilities. Physical strain and overexertion can strike utilities workers on long and sometimes demanding shifts. And of course, driving long distances or in adverse conditions can be challenging.
Corporate manslaughter laws put managers and shareholders at the centre of investigations into such accidents. By adopting Safe Hub, companies can demonstrate they are taking a responsible approach to health and safety. And by ensuring Safe Hub is properly used, they can mitigate the effects of accidents on workers through fast-track emergency help. With Safe Hub, utilities companies can target workers with the appropriate emergency, reactive and proactive support as needed. We’ve got extensive experience of deploying Safe Hub successfully at utilities companies. So we know that Safe Hub really does save lives.
To discuss how Safe Hub can be deployed in utilities companies, and find out more about our utility lone worker safety features, contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today
Post by Rob Gilbert
Rob is Chief Sales Officer at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He is responsible for introducing new clients to the benefits of Safe Hub, and ensuring their experience is straightforward, simple and truly effective. His consultative, customer-focused approach means our clients have full access to every possible resource to achieve lasting, best-of-breed solutions and service excellence.