Are Your Factory Staff Really Safe?
All staff are entitled to work in an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled, especially in large industrial complexes where there are increased risks. It is therefore incumbent on every employer to carry out an assessment that considers all potential dangers to both workers and visitors, and ensure they are taking reasonable steps to mitigate each and every one.
In many industrial environments, substances found in the workplace can cause fires or explosions. These range from the obvious, such as flammable chemicals, petrol, cellulose paint thinners and flammable gases, to the less obvious such as engine oil, grease, packaging materials, dust from machining or sanding operations and from foodstuffs like flour and sugar.
Emergency action plans need to be in place, including evacuation procedures and training for the appropriate staff, but critical to the success of such procedures is an effective communication system that clearly instructs everybody on site what they must do should an emergency situation arise. Variables could include which evacuation route and assembly points to use, and whether the situation is an onsite or off-site emergency.
Most organisations will have an existing fire bell and emergency procedure plan in place, but even with regular drills carried out, using a single bell sound such as a fire alarm can lead to confusion. Varying frequency and duration of the alarm to signal different emergencies can lead to misinterpretation, causing delays when rapid and appropriate action is critical to safety.
It makes sense, therefore to have an alarm system that not only can broadcast specific alarms that relate to the emergency situation, but to incorporate verbal instructions. That way all staff and visitors are clearly informed what actions they need to take to ensure their safety. Any key health and safety personnel can also be given specific instructions, as these can vary depending on what the emergency is.
The same principle applies when alerting any safety crews to an emergency situation, if your emergency procedures plan contains steps to control or contain an incident. The actions required to tackle a fire are completely different to those required to deal with a chemical or volatile solvent spillage. Without clear and accurate instructions, safety crews may be ill equipped to deal with the hazard effectively.
To address this issue, International time management specialists Bodet, developed Harmonys, a versatile bell and public address system that runs across an existing IT network using Power Over Ethernet (POE). This makes it easy and quick to install, even at a large site. Storing up to 18 different bell sounds, melodies or pre-recorded voice messages the system can be programmed to announce routine time alerts for shift changes, lunch or end of day, but should an emergency situation arise, specific alarms relevant to the hazardous situation can be broadcast across the site instantly.
A range of wired or remote alert trigger methods exist, including a wired multi-button control panel, wireless remote control and smartphone application. Even greater flexibility can be achieved by incorporating a microphone so announcements can be pre-recorded or broadcast live. Harmonys Flash units, ideal to alert those with hearing impediments or for use in loud environments, show a visual alert indicator in the advent of emergency alerts. Connection to an induction loop for those wearing hearing aids can be provided with Harmonys Line.
Whatever emergency arises, Harmonys ensures everyone on your premises immediately knows what’s happening and the correct actions to take, allowing your emergency plan to be communicated and actioned with full effect providing safety for all.
Visit www.bodet.co.uk for additional information.