If asked what piece of kit they would most like to add to their tool belt, there would probably be few in the construction industry who put down a two way radio as their first choice.
However, more and more construction businesses are turning to radio handsets for one very good reason – they can play a significant role in helping to keep workers safe.
Site safety is critical for any building operation, 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 industry. Whether you need reliable, durable networks which can deliver crystal clear communication across large sites, or you want to monitor workers operating in dangerous 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.
Construction sites are not only dangerous in terms of the work they require, they are often very noisy places as well, which poses a double challenge to safety management. If using heavy machinery at height didn’t pose enough risks, the noise generated by dozens of pieces of equipment running at once can make effective, clear communication very difficult.
Audio quality is therefore crucial on any communication device used on a building site.
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.
In addition, modern handsets can be operated hands free by combining bluetooth earpieces and microphones – perfect for wearing underneath ear defenders – with so-called VOX, or voice operated, function.
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, perfect for someone working on their own away from colleagues.
Many modern digital two way radios also include GPS connectivity, meaning operatives can be located even on large sites easily.
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.
Construction sites can be as hazardous to equipment as they can be to people. Handsets therefore need to robust enough to withstand the elements when being used outdoors, as well as risks such as dust and impact. Many industrial class two way radio models come with International Protection Code ratings for such hazards.
Find Out More
Whatever the size of a construction site, 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 construction industry. We offer full site surveys and equipment trials before purchase or hire. To find out more, give us a call on 0808 115 2560.