Meath County Council

Meath County Council, located in the Republic of Ireland serves a population of over 185,000 people. Employing around 800 employees, the Council are responsible for several services within the community, some of which involve inherent risks.

Risks Faced by Meath’s Lone Workers

Meath County Council offers a range of services that involve employees lone working. Social Workers conduct outreach visits, attend meetings across the county, and visit tenants’ homes. Similarly, Traffic Wardens, Planners, and Environmental Employees often undertake enforcement actions during their visits to homes and businesses. Water and Wastewater Caretakers, along with Winter Maintenance Crews, travel to various locations to carry out their tasks.

This lone working exposes employees to potential risks such as assaults and injuries, particularly when providing outreach services or enforcing regulations in the field. They may encounter hostile individuals or dangerous situations without anyone nearby to provide support.

Addressing the Need for Protection

According to a report focusing on Ireland’s Health and Social Workers, as many as 8,000 community-based staff are assaulted each year across Ireland.

As a responsible employer, Meath County Council recognised the vulnerability of its employees and sought a comprehensive solution to mitigate the risk of assaults, ensure the safety of its employees and support employee wellbeing. After evaluating several options, the Council turned to Peoplesafe to address the diverse needs of its workforce.

Harnessing Technology

Meath County Council chose Peoplesafe’s service due to its adaptable nature, ensuring it perfectly fulfilled their requirements. Opting to deploy 125 MicroGuard devices, they were impressed by how user-friendly it is.

Safety Officer, Mary D’Arcy, commented

“We were mostly impressed by the ability of the device and the call response service to work 24/7, providing round the clock protection for our employees.”

One of the key features of the Peoplesafe service that stood out to Meath is the single-button alarm activation system that connects users to Peoplesafe’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) at the touch of a button. This instant connection guarantees that users can quickly access assistance, 24/7 and in any situation.

The Need for Fall Detection

The MicroGuard device has a fall detection feature which will automatically raise an alarm when the user slips, trips or falls. This feature can either be permanently enabled or activated as needed, with sensitivity adjustments tailored to suit the needs of each individual employee for maximum accuracy. This functionality is vital for lone workers, minimising the possibility of them being left unassisted after an incident.

The service underwent a critical test during an incident within a treatment plant when an employee fell, triggering the fall detection feature. Automatically alerting the ARC, the Alarm Controller handling the alarm was able to act immediately. Help promptly arrived at the scene to assist the employee. The speed of response and advice received from the Support Team reinforced the users’ trust in the Peoplesafe service.

Wearable Options

The flexible design of the MicroGuard allows users to wear it in a number of ways, depending on their activity and preferences. The device can be worn discreetly as a pendant, or attached to a belt, keyring, or identity card holder. This adaptability ensures comfort and convenience for users across various roles, empowering them to make the most use of the service.

Expert Alarm Monitoring

When an alarm is raised, expertly trained Alarm Controllers within the ARC will assist the user via the device’s two-way voice capability, providing immediate support and guidance in real-time. This includes triaging the alarm to pass genuine incidents to the emergency services if necessary. In such cases, the ARC can utilise Unique Reference Numbers (URNs) to bypass the standard 999 process, ensuring the fastest possible.

By carefully following the user’s pre-defined escalation preferences, the ARC guarantees a tailored response to each situation. This not only ensures efficient handling of emergencies but also saves critical time during genuine incidents.

Empowering Employees with Safety Technology

Since its implementation, the Peoplesafe service has provided reassurance to Meath County Council. Mary added, 

“the most important element for employees is the confidence they have gained. When an alert is activated, there will be a response.”

Having signed up for a multi-year agreement with Peoplesafe, Mary expressed her delight at the service she has received so far: “the Customer Support team have been excellent in answering our queries since we began using the service. More importantly, our employees are confident in testing the system, so if a situation arises, they are certain and assured of the device use and response.”

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