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Enhancing workplace safety and the management of council field teams

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A local council was struggling to maintain uninterrupted communication with its rangers, which had to cover an area of more than 320 square kilometres. Using an ageing two-way radio system, rangers experienced black spots due to the geographical terrain. This meant they were out of contact and, if something happened to them, it would be very difficult to find them.

Even when they were in range, their two-way radios often delivered scratchy, unreliable audio quality, which meant the rangers often had to repeat messages. Duty of care policies also meant that voice recordings were required to validate any disputed or misunderstood messages.

The local council wanted the rangers to carry a single device that would provide reliable and clear communications, GPS location services, and duress functionality to maintain ranger safety. And, since the rangers patrolled mostly on foot, they needed a device that could be used both in the vehicle and when they were on foot patrol.

After extensive tests to confirm adequate cellular coverage, the local council chose Vertel’s Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) service. The service overcame the geographical restraints of the previous two-way radio solution, eliminating black spots and ensuring that rangers could be contacted whenever they were on duty.

The solution also includes duress functionality and GPS location, which enhances occupational health and safety for the rangers. If they were to suffer an accident or a vehicle breakdown, for example, they can be assured that help would be on its way quickly and to the right place.

The improved clarity of the digital voice communications means that misunderstandings are less likely to occur. The Vertel PoC also solution lets the local council record all conversations, which validates them and provides for post event review should the need arise.

Depending on the day’s activities, rangers are often called upon to be able to communicate with different in-field work groups. The PoC service provides the ability to dynamically include a ranger(s) into different communications groups ensuring that communications are contained to the work group related to that specific project or job. This avoids the potential confusion that might be caused by broadcast transmissions to wider staff groups.

The PoC solution from Vertel means that rangers only have to carry a single, mobile phone-like device that works as both a two-way radio and as a mobile phone as required.

Overall, the Vertel PoC solution has addressed all issues that the local council had been experiencing with the previous radio based service, and has given its rangers access to better communication, safer working conditions, and more efficient job management, all in a single device.

Vertel’s PoC service delivered exactly what the local council needed and more. This included GPS locators on the devices, duress functionality, and the ability to enable a consolidation of the number of devices being carried by rangers to a single mobile device.

The PoC solution enhances all the great aspects of two-way radio and integrates them with the many benefits of data, video, and voice of public mobile networks. Extensive tests were undertaken on LTE to confirm adequate cellular coverage for this local council. Based on this, PoC was proposed to overcome its geographic constraints with hardware devices letting the rangers use the handsets as both two-way radios and mobile phones as required.

To find out how Vertel PoC can help your council enhance workplace safety and management of your field team visit pushtotalk.vertel.com.au.

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