Lanes Group

Lanes Group are the UK’s largest independent drainage specialist – with over 1,900 employees and 22 depots based across the country.

As Group Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Manager, Paul McParland explains, “the safety and wellbeing of our staff is our paramount concern. We want to give our operational teams extra peace of mind when operating as lone workers. Each of our 22 depots has at least two Peoplesafe fobs, which can be allocated to our out-of-hours personnel.

He added, “our drainage engineers are trained to stay safe in all working environments and not to take undue risks. However, we recognise that unexpected incidents can happen.”

Engineers attend call-outs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, often during unsociable hours and sometimes in areas with poor mobile coverage. Therefore, reaching for a phone to dial 999 in an emergency is not always possible.

Due to the nature of the unsociable working hours, dealing with alcohol or other social issues can put engineers in danger. In addition, due to late/early hours in certain locations there can be little or no other people around, especially in isolated areas. Wet surfaces can be slippery too, which increases the likelihood of an accident. High pressured drain cleaning tools and equipment could also potentially pose a risk if misused.

“Peoplesafe gives our lone working personnel an additional layer of safety, and assurance that help will be at hand if they get into difficulties.”

Paul McParland, HSEQ Group Manager

If an incident was to occur, engineers can simply activate their MySOS alarm, this will put them through to Peoplesafe’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). The wearer can talk to specially trained Incident Managers directly via their device, describe their situation and depending on its severity, seek assistance from another staff member, the emergency services or even both. When an alarm comes in, Incident Managers follow escalation procedures that are specified by Lanes – these outline which staff need to be informed and the response required.

Unlike most mobile phones, the devices will still work in areas of low network service as they use roaming SIMs to find the strongest signal and connect.

The small key-fob shaped alarm also detects impact and monitors for movement if a user suffers a fall or collapses from a sudden illness. After a short period of time if the wearer remains still, this will automatically alert Peoplesafe’s ARC. Incident Managers can accurately identify the location of the device to within a few metres using GPS, allowing for emergency services to respond quickly.

In certain situations, users may want to activate the alarm if they feel at risk. Anti-social behavior can be a problem for engineers working in public places. If they feel threatened, engineers are able to discreetly alert the ARC using their MySOS, Incident Managers will then listen in and escalate further if necessary.

Peoplesafe’s lone worker devices have proved an effective solution for Lanes Group as they provide flexibility and let engineers focus on their job without worry. This ties in well with the company’s strong health and safety culture which is reflected in the steps they have taken to protect their employees.