Matthew Bennett - Principal Health & Safety Advisor, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch Office
Having staff working alone and/or remotely introduces a huge health and safety challenge. Working alone, in and of itself isn’t dangerous*, however, if you are on your own or working in a remote location and something goes awry, the problem becomes so much bigger. Lone/remote work isn’t so much a risk, but more a risk amplifier.
Here at Environment Canterbury, when we applied this lens across our work, we found a lot of complexity and a broad range of operational conditions. We have lots of people doing lots of different tasks in lots of different conditions – the risk was being amplified to massive level. In seeking suitable mitigations, we found a lot of suppliers and products that would resolve some aspects of the challenge; however, they all came with fishhooks. Some only worked when there was cell phone coverage, some didn’t provide two-way communication capability, a lot provided great functionality that wasn’t required in context. Too many were dependent on internal capacity that wasn’t realistic for us to develop or maintain.
We were very fortunate to cross paths with Tony and TrackMe NZ early on in our journey. From the outset they demonstrated an expert knowledge of the networks, hardware, software, and systems capability. They partnered with us, taking time to understand the conditions and requirements, going as far as spending time going into the field with our people. Then they supplied tools and systems for us to test, refined them and developed further. Now we have a single system that accommodates everything from a small team doing high-risk work in a remote location to a single person doing a simple task in cell phone coverage. It allows for our people to support and monitor our people and has backup and support when a situation occurs that requires escalation, including 24/7 coverage and back up. All our people now have two-way communication and GPS locating ability that is actively monitored for all their work and TrackMe has supplied the training for the users, monitoring, and systems administration.
Throughout the process Tony has been excellent to deal with. He was responsive to our needs and patient as we learnt. He understood our challenge(s) and sought out new tools and solutions while never over-selling. Plus, he utilized as much as possible existing tools we already had in the business and helped us upgrade them gradually, making it financially more accessible.
I resoundingly endorse TrackMe NZ and Tony for anyone needing to resolve any lone or remote working challenges.
Principal Health & Safety Advisor
*(caveat to that statement: I completely acknowledge that there are tasks, such as lifting large or heavy objects, that are more dangerous if done solo.)