One of the more popular safety features on the Tait TP9300 and TP9400 portables is Man Down. This feature takes advantage of an accelerometer in the portable radio. This means that if someone falls and gets hurt, and for whatever reason can’t call for help themselves, dispatch will automatically receive notification. Response time will improve dramatically and can even save lives.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your Man Down worker safety feature.
Minimize False Alarms
Man Down alerts typically occur because of inactivity or tilt. If the radio remains motionless for a period of time, an Inactivity Timer will start. If any movement occurs within this time, the timer resets and the radio will revert to its normal state. The tilt sensor monitors the angle of the radio. If a user falls and the accelerometer reports that the radio has gone beyond a certain angle, the radio starts a Tilt Timer. Once again, if the radio reverts back to the original angle then the timer resets. If either of these two timers expire, then the radio enters a warning state and dispatch will be notified.
If someone has fallen or is hurt and can’t move, these features can be instrumental in improving response time. But because users often sit down or even lay down for various reasons on the job, it can become very easy for false alarms to be sent. Like the boy who cried wolf, false alarms can lead to unnecessary call-outs to remote locations, increased costs and ultimately a loss in confidence when using the Man Down function. You can avoid False Alarms and user frustration with the right programming and user training.
Both the timers for inactivity and tilt can be programmed by the manager. You will want to optimize the timer length so that it is short enough to send an alarm before it’s too late, but not so short that it is constantly raising alarms. Depending on the type of work your people are doing, you might set the timer to 10 seconds or 60 seconds. Ultimately, the needs of your business should guide the timing, and experienced communication professionals like Tait can help guide you with best practice for your industry.
Ensure proper user training
The most important piece of Man Down functionality is the training of its users. All users should be aware of the safety feature and how to operate it; this means knowing how to turn it on and off, knowing how to recognize when it is active, and being aware of the different audio tones and alarms associated with Man Down.
Ensuring that the radio is in an upright position and easily reachable means the radio will not activate the tilt timer unnecessarily. If it is activated, the worker can easily press a key to revert the radio to its normal state.
In the event of an accident or emergency where the worker either does not move the radio for the pre-programmable amount of time or the radio is resting above the pre-programmed angle, a warning timer will start. If the radio remains in this state (either at a greater angle or without movement) then an alarm will start. If the worker is okay and not injured during this alarm they are able to reset the radio by pressing a key to revert the radio to its normal state. Note – if an injured worker accidentally presses a key and the radio is back to its normal state then they can simply press the emergency key to activate the emergency call this in this alternative way – they do not need to wait for the warning timer to expire again).
Make sure it is turned on
This may sound ridiculously simple and obvious, but the Man Down feature can’t help your people when it is turned off. With proper training, users can quickly recognize if the Man Down is on or off to ensure their safety in case of an accident. It’s also important to check the volume knobs to ensure they are at an audible level before commencing tasks that require Man Down.
You can help by choosing the most intuitive process for enabling Man Down on the radio. It can either happen automatically when the radio is switched on, or you can require the user to toggle Man Down on or off via a designated function key (either long or short press).
When you combine the benefits of Man Down with Location Services, you can respond to worker safety incidents even faster. For instance, if someone falls and the alarm is sent to dispatch, even if the injured worker cannot talk, dispatch will know exactly where to send help. The GPS in the portable radio can guide the rescue operation, ensuring medical care arrives on the scene as quickly as possible.
Man Down should be configured to align with your organizational procedures and work team environments. When combined with appropriate staff training and other safety features like Lone Worker or Location Services, you will have a system that provides reassurance to workers and management alike that their safety is a priority.
If you’d like to learn more about how Tait solutions can improve your worker safety, then contact us today.