Better Lone Working Systems

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2011 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
28 February 2011

Most lone working systems used in the water industry are cumbersome to use and involve ringing numbers which takes time and are only effective for office or van based workers. For groups such as meter readers or samplers who are working on riverbanks and walking along lonely footpaths or in people’s homes they need an instant response system.

Recently one of our female samplers was trapped at a reservoir when the door could not be opened from the inside. Because she was issued with an instant response system with powerful satellite tracking she was rescued within twenty minutes despite being in a fairly remote area. Some systems also have medical profiling. For example if an operative was diabetic this would flag up and if the operator could not be contacted, the rescuer would be alerted to this and a qualified medical practitioner would relay instructions when the operative was located. On its initial trial at Yorkshire Water a meter reader interrupted a drugs deal and was chased in his van through the streets of a Leeds suburb. He just needed to press a button, the operator contacted the police and he was rescued in the nick of time.

You would expect this type of system to be the norm in the water industry but unfortunately this is not so. Our companies are under pressure to deliver ever increasing profits for our owners and baulk at spending roughly £25 a month for these superior systems which would keep many of our operatives safer.

Conference asks that the Water, Environment and Transport Executive positively promote these systems within the sector so that our members are aware of them and can build a business case to be issued with them.

Yorkshire Water Branch