The Importance of Safety Check-ins for Water Utility Companies during COVID-19

A key recommendation provided by governments around the world has been thorough and regular hand washing to prevent the deadly spread of COVID-19. Thus, the need for safe and clean drinking water is more prevalent than ever. As an essential service, water workers are still required to perform their regular job duties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the unique risks that workers are faced with, the Canadian water industry is one of the most hazardous and over-looked industry sectors in the country. The safety of those water workers who are still working to provide our country with essential water services is essential. This article will look at what safety steps Canadian water companies are currently doing to adapt to their remote workforce and changes inflicted by COVID-19. 

Public Safety Canada COVID-19 Statement 

Guidance on Essential Services in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic was released by Public Canada. Here is what it reports for water workers: All employees and workers who are required to maintain and run water utility services that support drinking water and wastewater management infrastructure will continue with daily operations. These employees will continue to maintain and test the quality of water, carry out construction tasks associated with the water sector, and support the health and safety of all workers within the system.  

Protecting Your Most Important Assets: Your People  

The nature of work in the field often requires water workers to work alone or in isolation. Common tasks for lone workers may include supervising wastewater plants, checking the water quality at reservoirs or secluded pumping stations, or monitoring remote meters. Their regular job responsibilities could involve high voltage materials, contact with contaminated water, toxic chemicals, the release of poisonous gases, and several other biological and chemical hazards. Since many water workers are required to work alone in the field, their risk of suffering from a workplace accident is magnified.  

Managing Your Company’s Risks 

Water workers must be updated and educated on all company safety procedures. These will include both daily protocols, as well as emergency response procedures. Furthermore, employees must always be equipped with proper PPE and have adequate exposure to the safety hazards present in their respective workplaces. These practices are standard and essential to keeping your workers safe on the job.  

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In the process of doing a hazard assessment for your workplace, it is almost a certainty you’ll learn information about the operational aspects of your organization you were unaware of prior to the assessment.

Implementing a Check-In System 

Because of the unique hazards associated with the water industry, the implementation of a lone worker safety monitoring system is an effective way to protect your people – regardless of their location or work activity. With many of your employees working in remote locations or alone, the potential for an incident to occur and go undetected is high. A lone worker monitoring system eliminates this risk through a check-in system. Water workers can check-in at predetermined times throughout their shift to let their company know that they are safe. If a check-in is missed, then your company will immediately know that something is wrong. 

CONTINUE READING:  Workplace Safety Hazards for Hospitality & Hotel Workers

The Advantage of Motion Features in the Field  

In addition to proactive check-in timers, SafetyLine Lone Worker has incorporated motion features, including Fall Detection, Man-Down Detection, and Shake for Emergency. These features serve as an additional safety component for field workers. Fall detection is sensitive to fast movements toward that ground that could injure a worker. This is a valuable feature within the water industry, as field workers may be required to work at heights. Monitors will be alerted by Man-Down Detection if a device has not moved for an extended period, often the signal of an unconscious or injured worker. Man-Down Detection does not rely on a field worker’s ability to call for help, to call for help. Lastly, Shake for Emergency allows workers to quickly signal an emergency simply by shaking their device. SafetyLine’s motion features work simultaneously to ensure the safety of your lone water workers in the field. 

Here Is What Canadian Water Companies Are Doing 

It is standard practice for water companies throughout Canada to use some form of a check-in procedure to monitor their lone workers. During COVID-19, check-in procedures have proven to be a more valuable safety measure than ever. With water utility companies continuing to provide their services to Canadian citizens, employers and employees have made some recent adjustments to practice social distancing and stop the spread of COVID-19.  

Instead of congregating at an office site or common meeting place, workers are checking in from home and then going into the field. This measure allows water workers to practice social distancing, uphold regular safety measures, and perform their daily job duties. Like other industries, all meetings and communications are also being carried out online and no water workers are gathering for in-person briefings. Water companies recognize the important role they play in the lives of all Canadians, especially during these uncertain times. Communication with the public has become a focus. Organizations want Canadians to know that they appreciate their concerns and recognize the priority of safe and clean drinking water.   

From All of Us at SafetyLine Lone Worker: Thank You!  

Times like this call for an augmented appreciation for those workers who continue to provide us with the services that we need to carry out our daily lives. The water industry can be hazardous and right now, access to clean water is more important than ever. Our water workers are continuing to dedicate their time and efforts to provide safe and clean drinking water for Canadians and their families. We would like to sincerely thank all water utility companies and employees for their continued dedication to providing Canadians with clean and safe drinking water.   SafetyLine is offering its subscription service free for 3 months for healthcare & essential services. More info can be found here: 

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Since 2010, we facilitated close to 16 million safety check-ins from lone workers across the country. Additionally, 3 out of 4 workers felt safer on the job just knowing that SafetyLine was in reach.

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