improve workplace safety

Safety in the workplace should always be the number one priority of management and business owners. Of course, businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their workforce. But a safer workplace is also a more productive workplace.

In this article, we look at two-way radios and how they can help to improve safety in the workplace.

Why two-way radios are the perfect communication tool and safety device for businesses

Even in the age of the smartphone, two-way radios are still the preferred communication tool for many business purposes. 

When drawing comparisons against options like smartphones, it should be on a level playing field. In scenarios where both mobiles and two-way radios are viable options, two-way radios are the hands-down winner.

Many of the advantages that walkies-talkies have over mobile solutions are what make them such valuable safety devices. A few of these advantages are noted below. Following that, we will discuss in detail why these benefits can have a large bearing on improving workplace safety.

  • Instant Communication – Click-to-talk makes instant one-to-one and one-to-many communication easy.
  • No reliance on a mobile signal – There is no reliance on services supplied by third parties for two-way radios to function.
  • Built to withstand the rigors of the workplace – The working environment can be harsh, and for communication solutions to be effective, they have to function in all types of difficult environments.
  • Long battery life – Many walkies-talkies will function for up to 18hrs on a single charge. Additionally, most will allow for easy changing of batteries allowing for seamless communication over long periods.
  • Designed safety features – These will be covered in detail later in the article, but features like man-down, lone-worker, and emergency buttons are all designed to increase safety.
  • ATEX Rated – Many models are ATEX rated, meaning they are safe for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

These are just a few of the major benefits of walkies-talkies in business use. Without even considering the safety aspect, these benefits make two-way radios an incredibly useful and versatile communication solution. However, when safety factors are considered, the argument for their use becomes even more compelling.

The role of two-way radios in maintaining a safe workplace

Two-way radios are the go-to communication tool for many types of business. Not all the safety features that they provide are relevant across the board.

In this section, we look at some of the features that improve safety regardless of the business sector in which they operate. We also look at some specific examples of where certain industries can improve safety with two-way radios.

Instant Communication

The ability to instantly communicate with other team members is one of the most obvious safety benefits of walkies-talkies. In many instances, timely and clear communication is what makes the difference between and safe workplace and an unsafe workplace.

Compare this against the various steps needed to open a communication channel with a mobile phone. Scrolling through contacts, dialing, waiting for a response etc., all make these awkward and difficult to use, particularly in high-stress situations.

The list of situations where instant communication is essential is endless, but a few examples are noted below: 

  • Security teams – Effective security needs effective, instant, and reliable communication. This is what two-radios provide. Security teams need to respond quickly to threats, and walkies-talkies allow this to happen.
  • Manufacturing – The factory floor can be a noisy and dangerous place where both safety and productivity are often reliant on instant communication over long distances.
  • Construction – In the harsh and dangerous environment of construction sites, instant and clear communication can keep workers informed of potential dangers as they occur.
  • Retail and Hospitality – This might not seem like an obvious admission to the list. But walkies-talkies can still have a large bearing on safety in these businesses when emergencies occur, like staff or customers taking ill, or even in the event of a fire or other emergencies.

Two-way radios are built to withstand the rigors of the workplace

Safety and reliability are two words that can often be used interchangeably. When it comes to communication in dangerous situations, the equipment being used must be up to the job. This is not something that can be applied to a mobile phone-based communication solution. Just look at a smartphone the wrong way, and the screen cracks.

Two-way radios are designed and built to withstand the often-tough environment of the workplace. Many are rated as IP67, meaning that even in wet and dusty environments, they continue to work without missing a beat.

This ability to work in the harshest of conditions is critical to maintaining workplace safety. These types of working environments are often among the most dangerous, and reliable communication is more crucial than ever.

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The following list contains just a few of the situations where walkies-talkies are the only feasible and safest solution.

  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Marine
  • Construction
  • Outdoor security

Crystal-clear communication

Instant communication is essential in maintaining safety in the workplace. However, the quality of the communication is just as important. It doesn’t matter how quickly teams can communicate if nobody can understand a word that is being said.

Indeed, it could be argued that non-clear communication where messages are misunderstood is adding to dangerous situations. Modern walkies-talkies are digital devices that offer crystal-clear communications over large distances. Even analogue models are more than capable of providing clear communications.

Although for greater distances in noisy environments, a digital two-way radio solution is the better choice.

ATEX-rated two-way radios

Working in hazardous conditions with the ever-present threat of an explosion needs complete vigilance. The presence of flammable gases or combustible dust in the atmosphere often means there are restrictions on the devices that can be used in their presence.

Many two-way radios are ATEX-rated, which means that they have been rated as safe to use in this type of hazardous environment.

Designed in safety features

Commercial two-way radios are designed specifically for the workplace, and many include built-in safety features that are essential in dangerous working environments.

Man Down Function

Walkies-talkies that have this feature use sensors to detect movement that could be a result of a fall. Once this feature is activated, the walkies-talkie will initially sound an alert to inform the user of the activation.

If the user fails to cancel the alert, then the radio will broadcast an alarm to the other radios in the group, alerting them to the situation.

Lone Worker Feature

Lone workers are often exposed to the most dangers in the workplace. Working alone elevates the potential risk they face. Many walkies-talkies have functions that are designed to enhance the safety of lone workers.

Most of them work similarly – The lone worker function requires the worker to “check in” at regular intervals. The radio will sound an alert to inform the worker when they need to check in. All that is required for the worker to do this is to key the mic button. If this is done, then the timer resets, if the worker fails to respond, then an alarm is broadcast to all the other radios.

Emergency Button

The simplest safety feature of two-way radios is the emergency button. This will be situated in an easily accessible part of the radio, and as the name suggests, it is a button that can be keyed to alert other users that their colleague is in danger.

Using accessories to boost safety

On their own, two-way radios boost safety in the workplace. But the safety they provide can, in many instances, be boosted with the addition of accessories. Some of them and how they can help are listed below.

  • Hands-free sets – These can help by allowing workers to continue to communicate without interrupting whatever task they are engaged in.
  • Noise cancelling headphones – These allow the same freedom as hands-free sets, but they are essential equipment for when clear communication is required in noisy working environments. Some models are even integrated into hard hats.
  • Extra batteries – Most walkies-talkie models are designed so that batteries are easily and quickly interchangeable. This is important for situations where radios are essential and are in use for long periods. The ability to quickly and easily change a battery ensures that communications can continue and workplace safety is maintained.

Summing Up

Clear and reliable communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining workplace safety. Two-way radios are the perfect tool for the job. They provide consistent and predictable communication that can be relied on in even the harshest of environments.

Safety is the primary concern, but these are tough times for businesses to operate in and costs are an obvious concern. This is another plus for two-way radios, even higher-end models that are suitable for the workplace are a hugely cost-effective solution. Additionally, there are no contract costs or additional charges with two-way radios, further helping to keep costs down.

For a simple solution that works straight out of the box and massively boosts workplace safety, two-way radios are the only choice.