All member companies will have had experience of controlling single manning site safety be it office administrators, or at the other extreme, walking sites monitoring for landfill gas. Whatever the task single manning cannot always be avoided and the answer to the problem is implementation of well developed safety policies.
In recent months the computer press has been highlighting the service offered by Mapminder.co.uk, which allows subscribers to track the location of active mobile phones to within 300 m. The facility, called ‘Mapaphone’, is currently being trialled by Marquis & Lord.
If employees fail to call in at pre determined times, to register there location as ‘off site’, the safety phone is called via a website and a map is displayed showing the location of the unit. The advantage is obvious, if the phone remains static for a period of time and additional calls to it are not answered then further investigation is triggered. As with all system there are weaknesses. The primary ones with this equipment are those of patchy network coverage, and human error, remembering to switch the phone on is of course essential. Battery failure can also present problems.
The service is not a panacea solution but it is a very powerful safety tool when used in conjunction with other procedures.
Further details can be found at: www.mapminder.co.uk
Tim White – Marquis & Lord, Consulting Scientists