By: Chris Holbert, CEO of SecuraTrac
Being a plumber is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers have one of the highest rates of injuries among all occupations. Often times plumbers are prone to slips and falls from high heights, working in confined spaces, and more. While plumbers have cell phones on them on the job, as well as having and wearing protective/preventative gear or equipment, it’s not necessarily the most efficient way to keep them safe or provide them tools to react in an emergency.
Depending on the job and what scenario they find themselves in, plumbers may not always have the ability to call 911 in an emergency. Or if they fall or a struck by an object, plumbers may be unconscious. This common scenario makes it impossible for the workers to use a cell phone and reach for help.
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 95 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some type, and more than one-third own a smartphone. Although these devices may provide many conveniences to users, in emergency situations their use is limited. Cellular devices require the user to still be conscious, or within range of the phone to call for help, making the device un-reliable for plumbers and not the most plausible option for ensuring workers stay safe.
But there’s a better solution to providing emergency communication for workers that can be easily carried or worn. The specific devices we are talking about is mPERS devices, which can automatically report an incident to emergency services so workers can receive help as soon as possible. mPERS devices, which have been used by seniors for years, are essentially a help button that can be pressed to alert emergency services that a worker needs help. In recent years, these devices have become even more beneficial outside of the senior space because they no longer require a base station device to place calls, which limited their range of use.
mPERS devices are small, portable, and lightweight. They use up-to-date location technology, and some even offer built-in fall advisory capabilities. These devices can detect horizontal and vertical movement and can initiate a call for help to emergency services without the need to even press a button. This is perfect in situations where plumbers may be unresponsive because of an accident or medical emergency, eliminating the need to call for help themselves entirely. The cloud-based technologies found in mPERS devices make it possible for Central Stations to pick up and response to the need for help as soon as possible. If a worker falls on the job, the device can report it via a text message or red flag in a software system.
The devices can also last much longer on one charge than a normal cell phone, making this another benefit of a mPERS device being used by plumbers. By having less functions, no screen, apps, or texting ability to drain battery, you aren’t constantly on them doing something. They can be turned off, but many also come with a “sleep” mode, where once the SOS button is pressed, the exact location information of the worker is sent to a central reporting station where an emergency call can be placed. There are mPERS devices on the market that can last up to 30 days on a single charge.
The use of mPERS devices can also make it easier to keep track of the number of incidences that occur, where they occur, and the type of accident that occurs. This is valuable information that can help implement newer safety tactics to avoid a repeat accident, for both workers and employers.
But not just any mPERS device can satisfy all the needs of all plumbers that will be utilizing this device. Several things should be considered before selecting a device. One of the most important considerations is looking into mPERS devices that are capable of 5G technology. By the end of this year, all major cell phone networks will fully transition to 5G technology, making out-of-date devices that can only handle 3G or 4G useless. Another consideration is the ability to upgrade an mPERS device down the line if it becomes necessary with new data networks and technologies evolving every day.
Whether it’s a pendant, clipped to the pocket or belt, etc. picking a wearable device (mPERS device) that makes the most sense for plumbers’ specific needs is an important part of taking advantage of all of the safety benefits that can potentially help save loves and improve the health of plumbers.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has moved beyond heat insulated gloves, hard hats, eye protection, etc. While these are all vital pieces of equipment for plumbers to use, they can’t prevent and protect against everything. mPERS devices are another great addition to plumber PPE that doesn’t take up space, is easy to use, and can even work on its own without a user doing anything. Plumbers, and companies, should seriously consider and look into employing these devices as a standard across their practice. Instead of being stranded or calling out for help, a worker can receive connection to emergency services within seconds and in turn, prevent a bad situation from becoming worse by just the push of a button.
Chris Holbert is the CEO of SecuraTrac. SecuraTrac® develops, markets, and sells a suite of mobile safety solutions focused on improving senior and employee health and safety through mobile, location-based technology and state-of-the-art, cloud-based platforms. For more information please visit: www.securatrac.com.