Closing the Communication Gap: How Two Way Radio Can Boost Plant Safety

Processing and manufacturing operatives are used to working with advanced technology and heavy plant machinery. So why should the humble two way radio command their attention?

Site safety is critical for any processing engineering business, and to manage the wellbeing of your workforce effectively, you need compliance, communication – and the right kind of technology. Maintaining open lines of communication for all workers is essential for giving clear directives, monitoring operations and, in the event of an accident, raising the alarm quickly.

Portable, easy to use, robust and reliable, two way radio has a long and proud history of being the communication tool of choice in difficult environments. Before being widely adopted in industry, walkie talkies were being issued in the US army as early as the 1930s.

Since then, the technology has come on leaps and bounds, developing in response to the changing needs of heavy industry. Whether you need reliable, durable networks which can deliver crystal clear communication across large sites, or you need equipment that is compliant with the strict regulations for hazardous environments, two way radio manufacturers have solutions that fit.

Here is an overview of how two way radio can make all the difference to site safety.

Audio Quality

Heavy plant equipment poses a double challenge to safety management. The machinery itself poses safety risks, and the noise a lot of plant generates can be problematic for communicating effectively over distance.

Audio quality is therefore crucial on any communication device used in a processing environment.

Since the development of digital radio, audio quality on two way handsets has improved dramatically. With less risk of interference than analogue radios, digital handsets are now exceptionally reliable in producing clean, crisp audio regardless of the environment.

Digital technology also allows signals can be filtered to get rid of unwanted background noise, a feature known as Intelligent Audio. This works hand in hand with Automatic Gain Control, which adjusts the send signal in the receiver’s handset to ensure it is always at an audible volume.

Alerts and Monitoring

Effective protocols to monitor the workforce and raise the alarm in the event of an emergency are critical in hazardous working environments.

Two way radios provide an instant means of raising an alarm when most required, and maintain open lines of communication with colleagues at all times.

The majority of industrial class two way radio models now come a range of advanced safety features . Emergency Button will raise an alarm across an entire network at the push of a button, while Man Down will do the same if it detects unusual movement, such as that caused by a fall or by no movement at all for an unusual length of time.

Another common safety feature is Lone Worker, which requires users to check in with colleagues at fixed time intervals.

Many modern digital two way radios also include GPS and WiFi connectivity, meaning operatives can be located easily and allowing radio handsets to link to plant monitoring systems to receive updates and alerts.

Network Coverage & Reliability

Reliable communication is as important on large sites as on small, and network range is sometimes raised as a drawback of two way radio.

However, there are a number of options for guaranteeing network coverage over distance. Repeater units greatly increase broadcast range by re-sending transmissions with greater power. Base stations can also make a huge difference to signal coverage by connecting to external antennas, while features like  IP Site Connect use WiFi to boost network range.

Plant and processing environments can be as hazardous to equipment as they can be to people. Handsets therefore need to robust enough to withstand environmental hazards such as heat, water, dust, gas and impact.

Many industrial class two way radio models come with International Protection Code ratings for such hazards. For environments where there are strict regulations for controlling the risk of explosions, the ATEX range of two way radios is designed specifically to meet the strict compliance requirements.

Find Out More

Whatever the size of your facility and whatever you produce, two way radio offers a reliable, durable solution for keeping your workforce in touch and safe. Brentwood Radios has more than 40 years’ experience supplying two way radios to the manufacturing and processing industry. We offer full site surveys and equipment trials before purchase or hire, and offer specialist solutions for operating in hazardous environments. To find out more, give us a call on 0808 115 2560.

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