We are all living in completely unknown times. The past couple of months has seen so many changes to the way that we work, rest and play; none of which we would have realised would have such profound effects on us all. For people in services, it...
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We are all living in completely unknown times. The past couple of months has seen so many changes to the way that we work, rest and play; none of which we would have realised would have such profound effects on us all. For people in services, it has been extreme beyond all measure explains Martin Summerhayes...
Speaking to customers and partners, it is clear that many do not know why they are feeling the way they are. Some are feeling angry. Many are feeling frightened. A few are in denial about the current situation. A small minority are feeling that this is only a short term situation and everything will return to “normal”, whatever, they may describe as normal.
Managing the mobile workforce during covid-19
It reminded me of the “Change Curve of Loss” that I was taught a number of years ago and have used on many change programmes. So, what is this curve? The theory is based on a model originally developed in the 1960s by a psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, to explain the grieving process. Since then it has been widely developed as a method of helping people understand their reactions to significant change or upheaval.
It is such an extraordinary time; that I took some time to refresh myself on what the model describes. The model, in its simplest form, has four stages associated with it. These stages are:-
- Stage 1 – Immobilisation and Denial
- Stage 2 – Anger and Bargaining
- Stage 3 – Depression and Testing
- Stage 4 - Acceptance
Note: Since writing this article, the HBR – Harvard Business school, has published an article on the same subject, details of which can be found at the end of this article.
So, what do these stages describe? Before we jump in. let me ask you to spend a moment, just a moment, to write down on a piece of paper, the word or phrase of where you are feeling in the current situation. It will help guide you through the detail, for you to know where you are in the “change curve”. Please be aware, there is no right or wrong answers to any of this and this is only a guide. Let, me explain the stages and the details behind them:-
Prior to Stage 1 - Stability
Prior to the onset of Covid-19, we were working, living and experiencing relative stability in our lives, our work and our social surroundings. Yes, there were challenges, but for many; we were living in relative stability. Then came the announcements of virus infections; illnesses; deaths; closure of services; restrictions on movement; social distancing and finally; lockdown in your own home. Within a relatively short timescale, a bow wave of significant changes and upheavals hit us all, all effecting us in different ways. How these have affected us, then follows the four stages….
Stage 1 – Immobilisation and Denial
This is the “rabbit in the head lights moment” where we go “OMG” what on earth is happening. This stage occurred just prior to and at the point of the lockdown, here in the UK.
- Immobilisation: We suddenly feel immobilised. Full of fear. Confusion sets in. We feel overwhelmed with the news and the social media “storm” that ensued.
- Denial: Next comes denial. We saw that as soon as the government announced restrictions, with some people ignoring them and continuing to meet up and get together. “Its’ not going to happen to me Gov”, was the argument.
Stage 2 – Anger and Bargaining
This is where another aspect of our view of the world kicks in. We kick back, feeling anger at the situation. Our “fight or flight” base feelings kick in at this stage.
- Anger: Anger at the loss of freedom. Anger at the loss of liberties, the freedoms we all had. “Why me” is often cited at this point. Often, the anger can be expressed in physical means, striking out, or trying to discharge the emotional turmoil.
- Bargaining: Strangely enough, next comes bargaining. This is where you try to minimise the impact. “If only I do this or that, then the situation will not affect me.”
Stage 3 – Depression and Testing
This is the lowest ebb in the change curve. Being aware you are in this stage, is a good starting point to trying to understand, cope and deal with it. None of us are professionals in mental health, so if you feel that you are not coping well, please reach our to friends, colleagues, loved ones, family, or contact the NHS for support.
- Depression: If the change curve of loss is followed in sequence, then this is the next phase. This is where the sense of loss and frustration turn inwards. “Why me” is often spoken of. If you considered before this situation, 1 in 5, yes, 1 in 5 adults in the UK had experienced some form of stress and potential depressive episode, during their working life; you can only imagine the numbers that may enter this stage over the next few weeks.
- Testing: This is where you start to lift out from the depressive phase. It is where you start to test the “new norm”. Where you begin to try new alternatives. Perhaps it is walking. Perhaps it is exercise. Perhaps it is Skyping a friend or relative.
Stage 4 - Acceptance
This is where you feel that normality is returning. It is not going to be the same normal as what there was before; but we have a fantastic ability to adapt.
- Acceptance: This final stage is where you respond to the change realistically.
It is important to recognise that we are all going through this “Change Curve of Loss” over the coming weeks.
Our customers. Our partners. Our field engineers.
How quickly we go though this change curve and to the depth of curve cycle, is going to be personal for each one of us. How people recognise and understand that it is perfectly natural to feel this way; how well individuals respond to the changes as they occur and how quickly they move into the acceptance phase, is all personal. I would encourage us all to take the time to be thoughtful of others. To take a moment of kindness and reflection in this uncertain time. We will come out of this period of uncertainty. We are, after all, human.
- Read more articles by Martin Summerhayes @ www.fieldservicenews.com/martin+summerhayes
- Read more articles on health, safety and wellbeing in service @ www.fieldservicenews.com/healthsafety
- Read more articles on managing the mobile workforce @ www.fieldservicenews.com/managing-the-mobile-workforce
- The HBR article referenced in the article can be found @ hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief
- Read NHS Support on mental health @ www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/
Monitoring the driving behaviour of your fleet can have tangible positives for KPIs but negative affects culturally. Mark Glover spoke to Alistair Dobson from Whirpool about his approach to integrating a positive safety culture.When engineers...
Monitoring the driving behaviour of your fleet can have tangible positives for KPIs but negative affects culturally. Mark Glover spoke to Alistair Dobson from Whirpool about his approach to integrating a positive safety culture.
When engineers carry out on-site maintenance there is always an element of risk. I've written many times on the dangers of lone workers, which field service engineers essentially are. However, there is another high-risk environment that engineers often operate in, and that's even before they've got to the job itself.
Driving is a Central part of the Field Service Industry
Driving is an important metric of a technician's day-to-day. Time wasted while travelling either from heavy traffic or an poor route-planning can have a detrimental affect on that day's output. Fortunately, route-planning software and telematics solutions can assist in the latter, but the fact remains the roads will always be a risky environment.
In the UK, more people are killed or injured in at-work road accidents than in all other workplace accidents put together. It is estimated that around 200 road deaths and serious injuries involve someone driving whilst at work and around a third of all crashes are estimated to involve someone who was at work at the time. This means that up to 1,000 lives are lost in the UK each year through driving for work-based practices.
In the US, the figures are obviously higher. Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the U.S. A total of 8,173 workers died in work-related MVCs on public highways from 2003 to 2008, representing 24% of all work-related fatalities for the period.
We're tracking them so we had to very quickly move away from the fact that we're not tracking you. This is a health and safety initiative, this is about keeping you safe.
"Driving is 30 per cent, give or take, on average of an engineer's day of what we do," said Alistair Dobson, speaking at a recent Field Service News Think Tank session. Whirlpool's Service Operations Director explained that his fleet typically travel very short distances between customers in a designated local area, a routine common for the majority of service engineers where time is spent more on residential streets rather than high-speed motorways or roadways.
Alistair and his team took the decision to integrate telematics into their fleet strategy six years ago. It was a decision met with some resistance. "We invested in telematics which was a huge step and one viewed negatively viewed by the engineers," he recalls. "We're tracking them so we had to very quickly move away from the fact that we're not tracking you. This is a health and safety initiative, this is about keeping you safe."
Outlining the Benefits to Your Field Service Engineers
The moral and ethical questions around tracking technology are part of its implementation however, framing the technology as a safety initiative, one that is in place to protect drivers rather than a spy on them. This approach can help sell the technology to cynical engineers.
"It goes back to trust," Alistair continues, explaining how fragile the relationship between engineer and manager can be. "I'm not putting these cameras on your vans to watch and monitor you. I'm doing it to help keep you safe.
"Because if you're talking about culture and trust and you do things that destroy that trust, like, 'I'm going to be watching you every single day and I'm going to have someone in an office watching you on a screen,' then you quickly erode that trust."
One element of manifesting trust, Alistair explains, was being transparent with his own driving habits. He had the technology fitted to his own car and shared his own scores in a weekly email to the workforce.
"If I'm asking my engineers to do something why should I not be prepared to do it myself? What have I got to hide?"
Engineers were encouraged to 'Challenge Alistair', to try and beat his own table-leading metrics from driving safely. A combination of friendly competition and setting a tangible example helped cement the trust further. "I was driving very slowly because I've got an example to set. Leading by example becomes a key thing. If I'm going to ask the engineers to have it fitted then I should also have it fitted. If I'm asking my engineers to do something why should I not be prepared to do it myself? What have I got to hide?
"We're running a very consistent programme and we haven't changed it after six years. The methodology hasn't changed, we still need to go out and repair things in an economical way."
As we look into the next 12 months, one that is inevitably going to be affected by Covid-19 then communication between management and team will become more important.
Fleet management and the deployment of drivers as the lockdown lifts stringent will require a new approach in bringing the system back up to speed and engineers will be expecting clear, concise and controlled instruction.
It may require another shift in culture, another period of operating slightly differently to what's gone before yet what's important is consistency.
"And it's that consistency that creates that culture," Alistair explains. "So, when you talk about culture change, if you can gain that respect it means I can do something from my level down which drives the culture and behaviour."
We're operating in a Covid-19 affected world right not and it's a challenging time for everyone that offers little certainty. When I write next year's article for the Handy Little Book, I look forward to speaking to Alistair again to see how he drove that culture change in fleet management in such difficult times and ultimately thrived.
- Read the full Field Service News Think Tank Executive Briefing on Health and Safety on the link below
- Read More articles from the Field Service News Think Tanks @ thinktanks.fieldservicenews.com
- Read more about Driver Behaviour @ www.fieldservicenews.com/DriverBehaviour
- Read More about Fleet Technology @ www.fieldservicenews.com/fleet-technology
- Read More articles from Mark Glover @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/author/mark-glover
- Read more about Whirlpool on their blog @ www.whirlpoolcorp.com/latest-news/
- Connect with Alistair Dobson on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/alistair-dobson-25128826/
In a recent episode of the Field Service Podcast, Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News was joined by Danny Wieder, Field Service Consultant with HSO to discuss the topic of Health and Safety in the field service environment and how technology casn play a critical role in ensuring we meet the standards we require.
The original interview was part of an interview for a documentary that Field Service News have produced in partnership with HSO which puts together a case that field service managers and directors can take to their board to secure investment in the tools required to effectively deliver service in the modern age.
Not wanting to waste any of the excellent insight that Wieder, who has a 15 year pedigree in implementing field service software and systems, provided during the interview we also asked the team at HSO if we could put the full unedited interview onto our podcast channel. They kindly agreed and the above is an excerpt from that episode of the field service podcast.
Technology is essential for Field Service engineer safety
The importance of health and safety in any workforce is an absolute given.
In field service however, it is perhaps an even more challenging task than in many other industries. Not only are our engineers often working in hazardous environments, but the are also working in isolation.
Technology is there to help however and embedded within the field service technology stack, and even within many FSM solutions, there are multiple tools to help ensure your field service engineers and technicians are working in the safest possible manner achievable. It is little wonder then that building an argument for investment in such systems is often built up around ensuring health and safety standards are met.
"In a lone worker scenario you have the capability to avert a potential safety issue by identifying and reacting to it..."
"I would say technology can really help to make sure field service engineers and can also help companies make sure they excercise their duty of care towards their employees," explained Wieder during the interview.
"Let's take geo-fencing for example which has recently been introduced to Microsoft Field Service. It monitors the GPS position of an engineer and can issue an automatic alert to the contact centre if the engineer has been on site for too long. So in a lone worker scenario you have the capability to avert a potential safety issue by identify8ing and reacting to it.
"Another are is perhaps risk assessments. These have been around for a while but are often paper driven or sometimes companies are using something like Excel. The obvious issue with this it is this is not particularly easy to use. Today's modern mobile software can be configured so an engineer not only gets the risk assessment, but in fact they have to complete it before they can progrees to the call details. This is a real benefit.
"On top of this, the questionnaires now can be tailored so the content of the questions is different, depending on the work type. This makes them more relevant, perhaps more concise and I think all things being considered this is a massive improvement to the tool kits we have to keep our engineers safe," Wieder added.
The safety of our workers, both in the field and in the office is of absolute paramount importance - if the technology is available to help us improve in this area - surely we are beholden to implement it?
Want to know more? Check out our full documentary on the 'Three Core Arguments to Gain Investment in Your Field Service Management Systems'
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Firms says it is offering its employee safety software to any company looking to track the potential exposure of their workers to the coronavirus.
Firms says it is offering its employee safety software to any company looking to track the potential exposure of their workers to the coronavirus.
Today, any company, organization, or authority can get free access to the Safeture software platform to have their employees’ travel matched with those hot spot locations most impacted by the virus. Safeture can import trip data from travel agencies plus get real-time location data from mobile phones to be analyzed against with real-time updates of the virus’s location. This is especially important for large international companies, which carry an extra high exposure risk. All employees will get access to Safeture’s app to get real-time alerts and notifications.
“Right now we are at a critical stage for the coronavirus, and it is crucial companies identify employees who have been in high-risk areas so they can contain the infection and prevent it from spreading into the organization,” said Magnus Hultman, CEO of Safeture. “The situation is changing rapidly. From today Iran and areas in Italy, suddenly completely different places in other countries can be affected.
Register for your free trial @ https://www.safeture.com/
Growth continues for market leading provider of video telematics.
Growth continues for market leading provider of video telematics.
Lytx® announces results from 2019 that reflect the company's continued success and industry leadership. According to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, Lytx has 60% share of the total video safety market - more than triple the share of its nearest competitor.
Brandon Nixon, Lytx chairman and CEO, said: "2019 was a phenomenal year for Lytx by any measure. It has been over 20 years since we created the first technology in the video telematics space. As we enter this new decade, our future is brighter than ever."
"Anyone can capture video from a vehicle," Nixon continued. "But we have billions of miles of data and experience across thousands of fleets that enable us to make an effective behaviour-change tool for fleets of all sizes. We decipher millions of hours of driving data a day and use it to deliver meaningful insights to clients that make a difference for their business. That's why more and more fleets are turning to Lytx. We understand the challenges they face day-in and day-out and innovate to exceed their expectations."
Innovation Fuels Client Success
Driving Lytx's growth and continued success is the company's relentless focus on customer-centred innovation, particularly in the fields of machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI). Clients credit the company's advanced technology, commercial grade hardware, configurable and flexible solutions, all-in-one telematics offerings, exceptional customer service, and superior return on investment as the key differentiators that lead them to deploy with Lytx.
Today, more than 4,000 organizations, with fleets of all sizes and across all sectors, are experiencing the benefits of Lytx first-hand. In 2019, nearly 25% of new customers were fleets who switched to Lytx after using another video or telematics solution. The company also increased its base of protected drivers by 300,000.
A One-Stop Video Telematics Leader for Versatile and Converged Solutions
Lytx's product portfolio, which the company introduced in February 2019, is now established as the most robust, configurable, broadly adopted, all-in-one video telematics fleet safety and productivity solution on the market.
The Lytx Video Platform and DriveCam® Event Recorder are unmatched in capturing capability, built-in computing power and clarity of view. Lytx monitors billions of miles of driving data annually – processing video through both MV+AI-powered algorithms and validated by professional reviewers. This approach mitigates unnecessary information for clients and increases accuracy while exposing more risk and delivering specific incidents and insights directly to fleet managers' dashboards. Lytx clients receive the information they need to succeed and improve — no more, no less.
Mugundhan Deenadayalan, senior research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said: "Lytx's diverse range of industry-first solutions, advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, industry best practices, customisable product portfolio and unparalleled customer service have taken the company to a new level of excellence in the industry.
"Its practice of putting the customer first, developing superior science and technology, and leveraging the power of data and analytics to innovate and craft solutions is proven to improve driver behaviour, safety, and operational efficiency, thereby saving lives."
Looking Forward to 2020
In January, Lytx announced it had received the largest-ever investment in video telematics from global private equity firm Permira. This investment values Lytx in excess of $2.5 billion.
Lytx's ability to turn vast amounts of data into roadway insights through MV+AI only furthers its market leadership and competitive advantage in the $30 trillion global transportation economy. With over 120 billion miles of roadway data and the fastest-growing database of commercial driving data powering its advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, Lytx is uniquely positioned to continue leading the industry in 2020.
"The precision of our technology is unmatched in the industry. With the scale of our data, we can train our cameras to see and recognize anything of value to our clients," Nixon said. "The power and capability of our MV+AI technology only scratches the surface of its future potential. It presents a massive opportunity for our clients as we continue to fine-tune our offerings moving into this next decade. The number of ways we can help improve fleet operations are boundless."
Health and safety is becoming more prominent in service. Engineers who work remotely are more susceptible to risk and firms are now recognizing the hazards they face daily. Following a Field Service News Think Tank held in London November 2019,...
Health and safety is becoming more prominent in service. Engineers who work remotely are more susceptible to risk and firms are now recognizing the hazards they face daily. Following a Field Service News Think Tank held in London November 2019, attendees discussed global implementation of safety standards and dealing with sub-contractors.
Service is a global business. Companies employ engineers who work around the world. The challenge comes in ensuring this work is carried out safely regardless of their location.
Statistically, it seems standards do differ globally. According to Global Estimates of Occupational Accidents and Work-Related Illnesses, a 2017 study which included input from the International Labour Organisation, the World Health Organisation and the European Union, workplace deaths are highest in Asia, accounting for two thirds of the annual 2.78 million total, with Africa and Europe contributing less than 12 per cent. According to the report China and India have the highest workplace fatalities which can be partly attributed, researchers say, to the size of the respective countries
One way to ensure safety consistency is through technology, for example, an electronic ‘safety passport’, a form of digital accreditation for engineers that would show if the correct training and correct equipment was being held. If not, then the worker would not be given clearance to carry out the task. Brent Holmes, Field Service Portfolio Director, Ericsson explained: “We’ve targeted driving as probably the biggest risk area, but equally obviously climbing, confined spaces, AC power and the list is endless. But we need to be making sure that we have a tool to be able to manage our staff and our subcontractors. So one project that we’ve started to look at and where we’ve started to pick up some very good best practice around is in beginning to award passports to individuals so they can work for us,” Holmes continued.
"If a contractor was doing something, you’d give them a yellow card or a red card. Red card, or a cumulative of yellow cards, we’d off site them. You’re not here again, and that’s it.”
This was a concept that echoed with a number of the Think Tank members around the room. As Holmes further clarified Ericsson’s approach in this area adding that introduction of Safety Passports allowed for correct accreditation and that it identified a clear set of best practices to ensure that all the relevant safety training, as well as all of the right equipment is in place at all times.
“You might think these are trivial,” Holmes added “but believe me it’s critical” .However, more manual deterrents such as a consequence management system to stop third-part contractors veering away from on-site standards is equally effective. Here a yellow/red card system can be deployed, where being shown the latter, or an accumulation of the former, can result in that firm’s contract being terminated.
As Mark Wilding, Director of Global Aftermarket Operations, Hexagon Marketing Intelligence explained: “Imagine one of our main contract suppliers doesn’t go through the right checks and balances with those individuals that he or she authorises to carry out an activity on their behalf. If we find this out, we will issue a yellow card, if they get two yellow cards then we will stop doing business with them. That’s what we had in the power sector.
It was more if a contractor was doing something, you’d give them a yellow card or a red card. Red card, or a cumulative of yellow cards, we’d off site them. You’re not here again, and that’s it.”
Both these solutions work yet implementing them in countries where safety is not engrained can be difficult. Here a safety management programme underpinned by strong and robust safety culture can be just as effective.
Workplace health and safety has come a long way in recent years. Companies are now more aware of the affect that workplace incidents can have on their employees as well as the financial implications it brings. It’s a shift prompted by stringent...
Workplace health and safety has come a long way in recent years. Companies are now more aware of the affect that workplace incidents can have on their employees as well as the financial implications it brings. It’s a shift prompted by stringent regulation and legislation – particularly in the UK and Europe - and a desire to build health and safety into the business structure. As part of our coverage of the latest FSN Think Tank Mark Glover reflects on how the group discussed workplace safety and why culture is crucial…
When it comes to a implementing a workplace safety culture, companies must lead from the top with a board and management buy-in that filters down through the organization to the shop floor.
Its integration however is a huge business challenge, a process that firms should viewed as a strategic change management process. Of course, any large shift in thinking and mentality is difficult, especially if an attitude has become embedded.
Two things that can alter attitudes to safety is understanding the brand and financial cost to a company if an incident occurs. In the UK stringent legislation and heavy fines serve to encourage firms to take their safety processes seriously, it means some companies now build the potential consequences of an incident into a business case that forms their health and safety strategy.
One example of this is the utility firm EDF who operate a number of power stations in the UK. These assets are high-risk and high-profile, and the firm in an effort to embed safety into the culture of the organization now associate health and safety with its bottom line; if you have a nuclear power station that is not inherently safe then it will affect its share price quite significantly.
A financial influence is one strand of safety adoption, yet to become embedded in a company’s outlook, health and safety should be approached psychologically. Today, when health and safety consultants come into a company tasked with improving its culture, they do so with the mind of a psychologist rather than a tick-box instigator.
Firms with a large employee count, which is often the case in manufacturing, can find it difficult to home in on individuals who have always done safety a certain way which can often be outdated and potentially dangerous.
"More generally, health and safety suffers from bad PR, perceived as something that enforces red tape and stifles creativity and productivity..."
Psychologically then, humans will eventually apply an unconscious bias to tasks they carry out on a day-to-day basis. Once something becomes routine then it becomes an unconscious process. Carrying out risk assessments is a common yet important task in the workplace however Its repetitive nature makes it vulnerable to such a bias, and it remains one of the key challenges in the sector to ensure employees are engaged when carrying out such activities.
Jan Van Veen, founder, More Momentum commented, “What you need to do to change that is make sure that everybody understands the pitfalls and then establish key habits and put a system in place where you can communicate effectively with your workforce to say ‘I think we are falling in this pitfall’.”
Building on this point Mark Wilding, Director of Global Aftermarket Operations, Hexagon Marketing Intelligence added: “One of the thing that we looked at that I think we overlook quite a lot is the human factors associated with this, because there are, and you talked about stress, there are human factors in people’s day that cause them to overlook or make mistakes, which ultimately could end up in a hazard or a risk.
And if you don’t get underneath the human factors aspect then we can put all the safety bulletins out but we’ve not addressed the underlying distractions, things that go on.”
More generally, health and safety suffers from bad PR, perceived as something that enforces red tape and stifles creativity and productivity. Although this attitude has improved in recent years it is still seen as something of a burden to employees; something to catch them out. Having a pragmatic approach to health and safety that is backed up with strong statistical evidence, can be a sensible approach rather than introducing a critical author with a clipboard.
Looping back to the beginning of this section, it’s paramount to embed health and safety in a company’s overall strategy and a firm’s performance culture more generally. Most service firms strive to achieve general quality and integrity in everything they do and would never dream of cutting corners in a service task. The same thinking must be applied to safety.
It is an unavoidable fact of field service delivery that our engineers and technicians invariably spend as much time behind the wheel of their vehicle as they do with our customers. Whilst we are all of course trying to reduce ‘screen-time’ as...
It is an unavoidable fact of field service delivery that our engineers and technicians invariably spend as much time behind the wheel of their vehicle as they do with our customers. Whilst we are all of course trying to reduce ‘screen-time’ as much for productivity reasons as anything else, we mustn’t overlook the fact that vehicle maintenance and driver safety play a massive role in ensuring our field workforce are safe. In the second feature of a four-part series reflecting on a deep dive discussion into health and safety at the most recent FSN Think Tank Mark Glover looks back on the discussions that the group held on driver safety…
It’s generally agreed that workplace driving – irrelevant of vertical sector – is one of the biggest risks for service engineers. Again, the very nature of a lone worker means travelling to a job is a fundamental part of the process. With the number of cars on the road combined with driving hazards more generally there exists an increasing risk of driving accidents.
Add workplace pressure to the mix and the risks increase further. Sensible driving policies are one way of dealing with this, however a middle ground must exist that where policies must encourage productivity and efficiency while being practical, realistic and enforceable.
Service engineers come across a number of hazards in their day-to-day including working at height and confined spaces although those in attendance agreed that driving – irrelevant of vertical sector – was one of the biggest risks. Again, the very nature of a field service engineer, or the very nature of a lone worker means travelling to a job is a fundamental part of the service process.
Indeed, it was a common theme across all members of the group that driving safety was of paramount concern. “We’ve targeted driving as probably the biggest risk area,” commented Brent Holmes, Field Service Portfolio Director, Ericsson explained:
It is also a high-risk part of that process, perhaps more so than working at height or slips, trips and falls - which the group agreed certainly shouldn’t be overlooked - however, a key distinguisher here is that driving links directly into a service engineer’s productivity, something which can affect safety.
"The customer is unhappy as the asset needs to get back-up online as soon as possible. So, there is customer pressure, management pressure and also business pressure..."
Mark Wilding, Director of Global Aftermarket Operations, Hexagon Marketing Intelligence explains: “As management we need to get the tasks done and the schedule completed. With driving between jobs and driving home at the end of the day and with driving hazards generally and the number of cars on the road there is obviously an increasing risk.”
He pondered the use of company driving policies and practicalities, where engineers would have to stay in a hotel after working twelve hours on the road, for example. “So, if you’re 20 miles from home and you’ve done your twelve hours, you’re supposed to check in. They [engineers] will leave at a silly time just so they can be in their own beds at night. And this is a risk that is always there. “Equally there is pressure if they’ve only got three days to complete a task. The customer is unhappy as the asset needs to get back-up online as soon as possible. So, there is customer pressure, management pressure and also business pressure, therefore the productivity that you’re trying to improve means the driving time in the car is almost trivialised.
“That for me is a concern because you can put in some hard-hitting policies which will have a massive impact on productivity and efficiency and expense and it’s about finding the happy balance, which is practical, realistic and enforceable.” Jan van Veen said these pressures and targets can be detrimental to workforce, “It then leads to stress and pressure which is not in favour of safety and probably not in favour of customer quality also,” he explains.
“This is often the issue when you start incentivising or putting in targets. It then leads to stress and pressure which is not in favour of safety and probably not in favour of customer quality. “So, if you are really are serious as top management around safety, you should start working on relieving pressure on people by putting in place better tools, mechanisms, processes and structures so they can be performed without sacrificing safety,” he said.
Water Consultancy and Contractor implements StaySafe to ensure lone worker safety.
Water Consultancy and Contractor implements StaySafe to ensure lone worker safety.
Hydrosave has introduced StaySafe to ensure the safety of their lone workers. Hydrosave, an operational consultant and specialist contractor within the water industry, regularly sends fieldworkers out to locations across the UK to provide leak detection, water audits or sewerage surveys. With these lone workers at risk of numerous hazards, such as working below ground or in highways, Hydrosave has rolled out StaySafe to employees across the UK.
Fieldworkers can now use the StaySafe mobile app to log their arrival and safe departure from each external visit with the simple press of a button. This app is linked to a secure cloud-based monitoring Hub which accurately locates lone workers on a map and provides managers with real-time updates on their movements. If an employee fails to check in safely during a lone working session, has an accident or raises an alert, managers will be able to locate them and get help straight away.
Previously Hydrosave relied on a buddy system for their staff, with employees pairing up and taking it in turns to check in with each other to ensure that their ‘buddy’ was safe. However, managers noticed that there were often discrepancies and they had very little control over how employees were carrying out the buddy system. This process also involved a high amount of paperwork which was inconvenient and time consuming for all employees.
To overcome these issues, Hydrosave began looking for a lone working system that was more automated, easy-to-use and could be managed by head office. The company also wanted a method that was flexible and simple to operate and implement. Hydrosave trialed other company’s solutions but none of them proved to be as simple or effective as StaySafe’s solution.
After a very successful trial with StaySafe over a one month period, Hydrosave’s fieldworkers found that there was a significant reduction in time spent trying to get hold of colleagues. It has significantly reduced the need to fill out time-consuming paperwork every day. Managers now have insight into where their workers are at any given time and can ensure that their staff are safe throughout their working day. Hydrosave employees feel much safer knowing that if an incident were to occur, managers are aware of their whereabouts and assistance can be sent directly to their location.
Connell Shannaghan, Project Manager at Hydrosave comments, “Our overall experience with StaySafe has been really positive. We were initially looking for a safety solution that could help minimise the amount of paperwork management we were having to do. We also wanted something that was simple to implement and easy to use. StaySafe has fit into the company structure very well, it's much easier to supervise and track staff and our employees enjoy the simplicity of the app.”
Don Cameron, CEO at StaySafe, adds: “Latest HSE statistics show that the risk of an employee being injured from a fall or using machinery is present in nearly 50% of workplaces in the UK. Lone workers are particularly vulnerable if an accident occurs as there is no one to raise the alarm. We are proud to offer a lone working solution that helps keep employees safe whilst working in dangerous areas.”