The ultimate mobility package for lone worker safety in an unknown environment

Vertel

By Tony Hudson, Commercial Director
Friday, 19 August, 2022


The ultimate mobility package for lone worker safety in an unknown environment

Many Australian occupations involve an aspect of lone or remote work, such as service or tradesperson calls; single patrol units; site inspections; in-home healthcare and aged care services; and transportation.

Organisations have a duty of care to keep their workers safe; however, this can be difficult for lone workers without the right technology, particularly if workers face a duress situation and are unable to call for help. Organisations therefore need a mobile lone worker safety and communications solution that gives both lone workers and their employers peace of mind that worker safety is accounted for.

According to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, “Individuals in ambulance service-related roles have an increased risk of being repeatedly exposed to traumatic events, such as death or violence, which can trigger increases in workplace stress and can undermine individuals’ resilience.”1 On average, a paramedic is assaulted in Victoria every 50 hours and, last year, 147 paramedics were assaulted.2

The critical communications industry typically involves an aspect of lone working or working in remote areas. As such, there are a range of physical and environmental factors organisations must consider to ensure employees have the best protections in place.

For many emergency services organisations, the workplace isn’t just one location; it’s various locations that can change multiple times throughout the day and be spread hundreds of kilometres away from the main depot or head office. When circumstances or job sites are uncertain, having easy-to-use, mobile safety technology can save lives.

The two-way radio, traditionally used to keep disparate workers in touch, has significant limitations, such as interrupted transmissions and black spots due to the geographical terrain. A device that combines the instant communication of a two-way radio with the accessibility, mobility and user enhancements of a mobile phone is a game changer for lone and remote workers. With Push-to-Talk (PTT) over Cellular technology, organisations can rest assured that mobile workers will remain connected because it can use multiple carrier networks to deliver fully redundant service connection and clear communication.

The benefits of a PTT device go further than connectivity to include functionalities such as making phone calls, accessing camera and audio elements, and providing an internet connection to access essential information, which can be sent to the device when en route to, or at, a job location.

PTT technology can overcome a range of environmental and physical factors, including:

  • Mobility: Carrying around a bulky two-way radio can be burdensome for personnel in the field. However, most personnel happily carry around a mobile phone, which makes it more likely that they will keep the device on them rather than leave it in the vehicle.
  • Connectivity: Geological terrain interferes with connectivity for two-way radios, preventing clear communication. PTT technology operates using 3G LTE mobile networks, and even Wi-Fi connections, to ensure that workers always have access to communications.
  • An uncertain environment: Each new jobsite, neighbourhood or callout site has different challenges — and, for the most part, these are unknown until the worker gets there. PTT technology comes equipped with lone worker capabilities that make entering unknown environments less daunting, including:
    • man down assessment, which calls the device if it detects the worker hasn’t moved for a certain length of time and/or is unresponsive
    • a duress alarm and remote dispatch team that can turn on audio and video controls and record duress situations
    • real-time communication with the dispatcher to relay important information before the worker arrives on-scene
    • real-time GPS tracking so dispatchers know exactly where to go to provide help.
       

Personnel working alone or remotely face an increased risk of harm or serious injury. This risk can be exacerbated when they are in remote locations with limited radio coverage or ability to call for help. Organisations have a duty of care to ensure worker safety, even when circumstances are unknown. With PTT technology, personnel are afforded access to communication that could save their life, regardless of where they may be located.

  1. https://nationalindustryinsights.aisc.net.au/industries/health/ambulance-and-paramedic
  2. https://www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/campaigns/violence-against-paramedics-is-never-ok/

Image credit: iStock.com/shank_ali

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