When people think of telecommunications today, they no longer envision switchboard operators and telephone poles. Today, telecommunications refers to the thin, flat, shiny, rectangular devices we carry in our pockets or purses. They enable us to make calls, send messages, do banking, take photographs, check our emails, monitor the weather, and do a host of other activities limited only by our time and the ingenuity of app developers.
But this very streamlined and handy device can make us forget that the entire system is entirely dependent upon a vast network of immense and complicated structures – from satellites to cell towers – that make all this communication possible. People and businesses have become entirely dependent upon these networks, and the telecom companies that operate and maintain these systems cannot afford to have them go down.
Telecommunications companies are under tremendous pressure to keep this vast network operational 24/7/365. Even more, they are expected to be able to reach every acre of real estate and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. That means these companies rely on an army of field technicians to keep them online. But that comes with a price. Working on towers and poles exposed to high voltage lines and in all sorts of weather is dangerous.
For Telecom Techs, the Risk of Injury is High
From 2016 through 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 63 telecom workers died from injuries on the job. Several others suffered injuries.
There are numerous risks that telecom tower workers face. Depending on the type of towers they are working on, telecom workers can work near high-voltage lines, exposing them to the risk of shock injuries and electrocution. On large transmission towers, workers are also at risk of getting hit by falling objects from loosened or poorly fastened equipment.
One of the most significant areas of risk for telecom techs is from falls. While some telecom equipment can be mounted on utility poles, which range from 30 to 60 feet high, some telecom towers can reach up to 2000 feet. Telecom workers must work in all sorts of weather, occasionally dealing with wind, rain, and snow, or even thunderstorms. Gusts of wind at those heights can make workers lose their footing and disorient them. The towers can also get damaged or suffer from wear and tear and must be regularly inspected for safety.
These workers use fall protection equipment, equipment hoists, and lifelines and are trained to follow extensive safety procedures because of the risks involved. But while risks can be minimized, they cannot be eliminated. Accidents happen.
The COMPASS ProTM Can Protect Telecom Workers
At Safeguard Equipment®, we design and manufacture personal voltage and current detectors (PVCDs) for field workers exposed to the risks of electric shocks and electrocution. Our latest product, the COMPASS ProTM emergency response solution, can detect falls and head impact injuries and initiate an emergency response for field workers who experience injury events. For telecom field technicians, these capabilities are critical.
COMPASS PVCDs can easily be clipped on a hat. They give visual and audible warnings when workers come close to energized lines or equipment and indicate the direction from which the energized field is coming. The COMPASS Pro, paired with a Bluetooth-enabled app that works on iOS and Android devices, provides additional safety utilities.
With the COMPASS Pro, each worker pairs his PVCD with his smartphone. While the app provides a convenient way to adjust various settings on the user’s device, its principal value is in providing emergency response. The COMPASS Pro unit has built-in fall, impact, and arc flash detection sensors. The fall detector will sense any fall greater than 6 feet, and the impact detection will detect struck-by scenarios.
If the unit detects one of these events – fall, impact, or arc flash – the app will initiate a 60-second countdown timer. The timer allows the user to disable the alert in the case of a false alarm. Once the countdown timer is complete, the app will automatically send an alert to the internal safety team, whose information is input at the time of app set-up. The app will also enable geo-location for the smartphone device. The safety team can then implement its safety and emergency response protocols, knowing the time of the event, the nature of the event based on what the unit detected, and accurate location data for the worker. These three pieces of information are crucial in assisting 911 emergency services to render effective aid.
The app also opens a communication channel with the worker, enabling the worker to respond with just a touch through preset responses on the smartphone screen. In addition, both the PVCD unit and the app have SOS buttons that enable the worker to immediately alert the safety team at any time for any emergency, such as if the worker is involved in a vehicle accident.
The COMPASS Pro is a critical piece of PPE for telecom field technicians. Telecom workers put themselves at risk regularly. The COMPASS Pro’s safety features can give workers and their employers peace of mind knowing that, if an injury occurs, a worker can get prompt and effective assistance.
For more information about the COMPASS Pro or any of the other COMPASS PVCD products, contact Safeguard Equipment today.