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5 digital radio features to protect workers in an emergency…

GUEST BLOG – ANDREW TRICKETT

The protection of lone workers is a key concern to employers these days, have you been struggling to find a solution which is adaptable to your requirements and meets the legal requirements to monitor workers on your site?

In my 30 years’ service in the radio industry, I have had the opportunity to test a variety of solutions. Digital radio systems are feature rich and adaptable, and in my opinion offer flexible easy to use and reliable lone worker protection along with reliable digital communication.

As a completely flexible solution, it offers you the choice to select the features to deploy, enabling you to create the right solution for your workforce and site requirements – particularly for sites that require employees to take on a range of tasks with varying levels of risk.

1. Man Down

The operator wears a radio on his belt, a “Gyro Sensor” in the radio detects the orientation of the operator (if the operator is upright or sitting/lying down). If the radio detects that the operator has not been standing upright for an extended period, after pre-warning the operator the radio enters Emergency Mode.

In this feature, the administrator can preconfigure radios to pre-warn different users at different time intervals, for example if users had to crawl under machinery as part of their job, they can program longer time periods prior to the warning time and extend the warning tone duration to give the user sufficient time to upright themselves. If the user does not respond to these warnings, a data message will be sent to a PC console or subscriber radio giving details of the radio issuing the lone worker alarm.

2. Dead Man

The Dead Man feature is very similar to Man Down, however rather than detecting that the user is not upright, the “Gyro Sensor” in the radio detects the motion of the users. If the radio detects that the user has been still for an extended period, and the user does not respond to a warning tone, the radio will enter Emergency Mode.

These flexible and adaptable features (available in ATEX and non -ATEX radios) can be programmed for different users across the whole plant, which can be utilised to prevent false alarms. All radios and features are thoroughly tested to ensure they are reliable and dependable.

3. Emergency Button

With the ‘EMG Button’ users have the option to manually trigger the Emergency Mode if they are in trouble or think they suspect danger. A message will then be sent to the control point so that the system operator can call the user’s radio and check their status and organise an emergency response if required. This feature has proved to be useful in a variety of circumstances, particularly with security staff.

4. Lone Worker

When utilising this software, the system can be set to periodically call people who often work alone. Administrators can create different profiles for team members depending on the risk level of their assigned task, the higher the risk the more frequently the user will be checked on. This feature is particularly useful for shift workers – for example a night shift user could be set to receive more notifications than a day shift user.

Once the radio’s settings have been predetermined, a ‘Lone Worker alert’ will be sent at the scheduled intervals. The user is required to press a button on the radio to acknowledge the alert – if the operator fails to acknowledge the alert the radio will enter Emergency Mode.

5. Location Tracking

All the above features can be enhanced using location tracking. When a Lone Worker alarm is triggered, you need to know exactly where the worker at risk is located. Using the optional location tracking system, it is possible to quickly locate the user via the mapping feature on the PC console.

If required the location tracking system can log a user’s location at regular intervals and store this information in a database for review at any time in the future via the historical replay feature. The system can provide a GeoFence feature, which can trigger a user location alarm if a user enters or leaves a certain area. This can also be used to automatically enable the “Lone Worker” feature if the user enters a high risk area.

I hope that reading this blog has allowed you to see value in some of the features that the current digital radio platforms can offer your organisation. If you would like to learn more about digital radios, the features detailed in this blog or how Pennine can help your company, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0161 763 2085 or email andy.trickett@wearepennine.com