Is Your Work Safety Communication System Addressing Your Needs Correctly?

How do you get work done? Huh? What work? You got to tell me first what you want me to do, how and when you want it done. So you see, someone needs to tell you; or you need to tell someone if you are in charge.

Imagine communicating this in an office environment to a work site that is noisy; in the day or at night. Compare the shuffling noise of papers to the loud noises from lifting and moving heavy equipment and materials. They are very different indeed.

Consider you and your team working hard to get the job done on time without accident or damage. Risks usually seem non-existent until an accident happens, sadly when there is loss of life or serious injuries, the job will be stopped by safety authorities for investigations.

Communication technology is not new and besides man, animals and birds know its importance for warning each other to run away from danger. This is true in any situation – such as warning your child to stay away when mommy is cooking, announcements at train stations before arrival of the train, honking at a car crossing into your path, and so on. These emphasized the need for effective communication suitable for the purpose. We will therefore need to consider various factors that are important and have impact on safety communication in industrial applications.
We know there are many industrial work environments with varying work requirements. The aim of this article is to share with business owners, professionals, safety officers and decision makers involved in demanding work delivery that selecting and using the correct safety communication for the job is extremely important.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of challenging work situations where effective communication can greatly improve safety and productivity:
1. Presence of loud industrial noises
2. Sites with poor lighting or shadows
3. No clear visibility between members
4. Work that requires both hands
5. Coordination between members is critical
6. Team members are more than 50m apart
7. Safe distancing and communicating clearly even with face masks in noisy environments

Consider a team of workers who needs to coordinate an equipment installation and they are 100-200 meters apart. Their ability to see or hear each other is difficult. They can shout, use whistles or hand signals which may work but ineffective in getting immediate attention in poor visibility or noisy conditions.

Wrong interpretations of whistle, hand signals or barely audible instructions can pose danger for orders such as START, STOP, SLOW DOWN, move LEFT, etc. These add stress and pressure increasing fatigue, anxiety, anger, muscle tension, loss of focus or making wrong decisions that endanger team members and others working in the vicinity.

To manage such situations, companies use walkie talkies. Walkie talkies are widely used but have limitations in noise filtering and are interference prone. They are heavy and not handsfree, users need to push a button to communicate (push-to-talk or PTT). Although there is VOX (voice activated) feature, it does not work well in noisy environments as the VOX is easily triggered, putting the radio intermittently in transmit mode which is irritating and interferes with communication. Walkie talkies are half duplex which means when one person talks, no one else in the group can talk until that person stops talking and release his PTT button. As such, it does not provide real-time communication. As example, consider 2 safety spotters. When spotter 1 sees danger, he cannot alert the equipment operator to stop until spotter 2 who is still giving instructions to the operator stops and release his PTT button. These are critical limitations in using walkie talkies.

Safety communication solutions is important but often not well evaluated against the work requirements for safety. We hope this article have provided useful insights to users and decision makers when deciding on your choice of safety communication.

VERTIX Actio PRO – Specialized Safety Communication

Realizing existing communication solutions do not adequately address the needs of many industries and organizations, the VERTIX Actio PRO specialized work safety communication system was developed.

14 important features were identified and developed. These are built into the VERTIX Actio PRO system. Some of these features include:
1. Powerful Digital industrial noise filter for speech clarity and hearing protection.  Handsfree operation without pushing any buttons.
2. Simultaneous communication by ALL team members.
3. All weather operation.
4. Instantaneous communication with neglible signal interference
5. Continuous 24hrs operation, if required.
6. Communicate within a work site of upto 250m x 250m x 250m
7. Rugged, reliable, light weight and easy to operate.

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