Working in Isolation: Protecting Your Most Vulnerable Employees

Many oil and gas workers can operate as lone workers. Fortunately, there are technologies that can help protect isolated and remote employees.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety

Various oil and gas industry employees such as pipeline inspectors and maintenance workers working on their own can be exposed to higher levels of risk because of the remote nature of their work.

The potential effect of any incident or injury that happens to a lone employee working in a remote area is magnified because of a delay in getting help for that employee. This makes remote workers a particularly vulnerable part of your workforce.

All the risks that would normally affect an employee working in a central location, such as falling from heights, working with electricity, confined spaces, or chemical exposure, become amplified when the employee is isolated or in a remote area.

Consider a lineman getting called to a site in a densely populated downtown area. If he or she suffers an injury, no more than a couple of minutes would pass before someone would notice and help would be on the way.

Now consider the same lineman getting called to fix the trouble in a rural area with nobody around for miles—nobody to see a fall and nobody to hear a call for help. An injured, unconscious, or incapacitated employee could go unseen for hours or even days.

Lucky for us, there is new technology available that enables 24/7 worker connectivity and significantly reduces risk to this vulnerable group.

Today, we have technology options that connect even the most isolated employees to a real-time response plan in the event of an incident or emergency.

Tech Overview
There are three main categories of technology for remote or lone workers: smartphone apps, satellite devices, and wearables.

Smartphone apps tend to be a more cost-effective option and are best implemented across organizations that offer company-provided smartphones to employees. Otherwise, adoption may be difficult if employers are trying to force employees to download apps on their personal phones. End users tend to like smartphone apps because it means they don’t have to carry an additional piece of equipment and, over the past few years, the user interfaces of these apps have become much more user-friendly.

Read the full story here.