Offshore oil rigs are some of the most dangerous working environments around, as the Deepwater Horizon disaster illustrated. Advancing technology has targeted these and other oil and gas operations in order to make them safer for workers, and GPS capability is playing a leading role in doing just that. The most recent product, recently presented at a safety and health conference, promises to shorten response time and give emergency personnel better resources for finding employees that are suddenly in danger.
There are strict, specific guidelines for electronic equipment that workers may use in industries that deal with flammable substances like oil and gas. The new product, titled the Loner IS and developed by Blackline GPS, meets these requirements and is safe for use on oil rigs, platforms, and other drilling/mining operations.
The device uses GPS capability to keep constant track of where an employee is at any given time. In the event of an emergency, it transmits that location and an alarm to rescue personnel. The incredible accuracy that GPS offers now means that rescuers no longer have to search a large, complex, potentially dangerous area for a worker in trouble. The GPS transmitter provides a reliable beacon to follow.
The Loner IS offers several different methods for transmitting safety alerts. A single button gives the worker the ability to instantly call for help. The patented True Fall Detection system recognizes the sudden motion of a fall and sends an alarm if it detects one. Supervisors can also program the device to send an alarm if a worker fails to check in at designated times. The battery lasts 10 hours, so a standard shift of work lies well within its range.
Blackline GPS is no stranger to the field of workplace safety; it already makes many products that help companies protect both their employees and the environment in which they work. The oil and gas industry presents unique challenges, though. Federal regulations dictate that workers in this field use only “intrinsically safe” electronic devices, which carry special features to prevent the possibility of igniting flammable gases in the air. The Loner IS (the IS stands for “intrinsically safe”) meets this standard and is Blackline’s first entry into safety items designed specifically for the hazardous oil and gas industry.