Health & Safety – Globalstar

Health & Safety – Globalstar

Only satellites can deliver always-on worker safety

Better worker protection measures are being legislated everywhere – having best-possible safety solutions deployed to protect valuable staff is increasingly necessary for compliance, but moreover, it’s widely regarded as an inherently valuable investment

We see organisations taking their duty of care more seriously than ever. They recognise that attracting and retaining skilled professional staff improves operational efficiency. The need to ensure that personnel have the right safety technology, equipment and processes is particularly acute when they are carrying out their work in potentially hazardous situations such as wind energy production sites.

Challenging environments

Windfarms are in general located in remote regions, on and offshore, which are difficult to access and often with minimal communications infrastructure. These are areas which can often have little or no GSM reach. Wind energy staff typically work in very challenging circumstances, amid rugged terrain, or offshore, often in windy, inhospitable weather.

Any major construction project comes with operational hazards. In the context of construction and running of wind installations, the additional risk of fire is a key element to be considered at all times.

Communications and safety solution

In the event of an emergency, wind energy companies and contractors need a communications and safety solution that helps ensure that staff working on their sites can stay connected, and that emergency support is on hand whenever needed. The communication system needs to have the best possible coverage and reliability, and it needs to be easy to use.

Fortunately, there are handy, reliable devices in the marketplace which leverage reliable satellite communications so that staff can stay connected, and get help fast in case of emergency.

Options

Small, handheld SPOT Gen4 from Globalstar provides satellite-enabled tracking and safety. With SPOT tracking, managers get a continual understanding of their workers’ locations. If there is an emergency, with one touch of the SOS button, the user’s GPS location is transmitted over Globalstar’s satellite network to teams who can rapidly send help to where it’s needed.

Organisations deploying SPOT for staff safety have the option of configuring their devices to directly send an SOS alert to in-house security and operations centres, instantly transmitting GPS co-ordinates for prompt internal handling of emergencies. Their tracking feature can help first responders, friends and colleagues to locate users even if they are unable to press the SOS button during an emergency.

Keeping in touch

Furthermore, workers can use the device to periodically check-in with managers and other colleagues throughout the working day or night, letting them know that all is OK. The buttons can be flexibly configured to send pre-programmed messages, with options for transmission types. Users can check in with colleagues via the OK button and have other non-emergency email communications using the Help button.

In recognition of the need to provide more options for two-way communications, Globalstar launched SPOT X which offers full two-way SMS and email capability as well as GPS tracking and a one-touch SOS button. It is the only satellite messenger on the market to give users a permanent phone number (so others can conveniently message the user directly at any time), easy check-in function and a full, backlit QWERTY keypad for intuitive typing. SPOT X also offers the industry’s longest battery life in both tracking and SOS modes and is priced competitively.

Connectivity

Some worker safety technology solutions in the marketplace rely on network technologies including GSM mobile, radio and other network technologies such as LORA. However, these all rely on terrestrial infrastructure. In remote locations, often such infrastructure is incomplete or otherwise not adequate to guarantee always-on connectivity. If staff travel beyond the reach of these networks, connectivity can be lost.

Only by using satellite technology, with its backbone infrastructure provided by satellites orbiting in space, can workers get reliable capability to contact colleagues and emergency services and provide friends and family with peace of mind at all times.

The SPOT system has played a role in over 9,800 emergency rescues worldwide, some of which were life-saving.

Gavan Murphy
Director of Marketing EMEA and APAC
Globalstar