Manufacturing News

Are risk managers adequately prepared?

THE irony about risk management and response is that it demands such a comprehensive level of attention that the slightest oversight can put an entire emergency response system at risk.

Jeremy Sharp, director of Adtec Communications, believes risk and safety management officers have to examine whether they have covered all possible angles.

Sharp says they need to ask themselves 10 questions about the operations they are overseeing and the communications on which they are reliant.

1. Can I initiate a crisis conference call on the fly? By nature, an emergency is an unexpected event. So, just about every time you require people to react on-the-fly.

If there is no mechanism in place to guarantee kick-starting a conference call as soon as an emergency hits, the response team will have no co-ordinated effort to counter any of the problems at hand.

2. Can I broadcast a voice page and put teams together in a few minutes? A voice page assembles emergency teams very quickly.

The key is to have an external mechanism which is activated to automatically notify all appropriate personnel, rather than relying on an individual to make many phone calls.

3. Can I broadcast an SMS to my team, even from a non-SMS enabled phone? This is becoming a more popular way of initiating emergency responses and can be done from just about any phone.

Once the emergency response is activated by straightforward pin number, fast and simple voice prompts take care of the rest and the message goes out to all recipients by SMS.

4. Can all the stakeholders be notified irrespective of their location? One has to take into account the fact that members of emergency team are not necessarily office workers in a fixed location.

This is why mobility has to be covered and mobile networks, in just about every case, are the best way to remain in constant contact.

5. Am I wasting scarce resources due to scattered crisis team management? No, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Wastage comes in the form of not being able to assemble an emergency response team.

Members of the team could be sitting in the same room but out of contact, may as well be thousands of kilometres apart.

Notifying all relevant personnel immediately is paramount, even if they are widely spread.

6. Can I be sure that a solo employee at a remote site is safe? WorkCover statistics suggest that solo employees working remotely face a potentially high level of danger as there is to help raise the alarm.

Devices such as Adtec’s Heartbeat technology help reduce this danger by sending an SMS at predetermined intervals and raising the alarm if an immediate response is not given.

7. Can I monitor events when they happen? Individuals in the emergency response team are constantly kept in touch with each other and a central base.

Multiple conferences can be held simultaneously while local or remote control by operator software is possible.

In disaster scenarios, communication difficulties are often hard to separate from co-ordination difficulties, and the greatest co-ordination difficulties are inter-organisational.

Multiple contact numbers can exist for each participant, calls are programmable for emergency conference or broadcast message, and easy changes can be made to team members by administration personnel.

8. Can I do post-event analysis? Post event analysis is nowadays seen as a very critical aspect of modern workplace requirements.

An emergency response system should definitely include the ability to record all voice traffic on the system. It should have an interactive voice response menu for different actions and allow team rostering so members can make themselves unavailable or available in the full knowledge of the management team.

9. Is my Disaster Recovery plan simple to start and easy to implement? Often, it pays to look for dedicated technology rather than try to customise a generic system such as those supplied by major telecommunications companies.

These are good products, but they are less application-specific than a specialised technology, and many have now grown to the point where their communications bandwidth is at maximum, and this can pose potential problems.

The ideal solution is to look for a system that allows the logging of all system activity, one that retains memory in the event of power failure, and one that can be expanded easily by addition of line cards.

10. Do I face litigation issues from unions/WorkCover for not having a safe workplace? A business would have to be stuck in the mediaeval age if it believes the answer to this is ‘no’, and they won’t be in business for long.

A first-world industrialised country such as Australia is expected to have safe work zones and world-class facilities for facing emergencies.

Adtec Communications 02 9281 0444.

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