Safe radios for fuel industry workers

Thursday, 22 January, 2015


The core business of New Zealand Oil Services Ltd (NZOSL) is the operation, maintenance and development of the energy storage terminals across New Zealand. It provides terminal services and management of incoming product via shipping and tank truck loadings.

NZOSL Terminal operations manager Kerran Deihl manages and monitors the transfer of fuel products between the port, storage facilities, trucks and service stations for NZOSL. A recent upgrade to Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radios on the network has provided reliable communications with intrinsically safe devices, which has improved the safety and productivity for the business.

Deihl explains the radios are durable and the staff are confident in using them: “We treat radios as personal protection equipment (PPE), so they must be intrinsically safe. We needed the green stamp to make sure all staff - managers, drivers, control centre, contractors - have something reliable, operating on a reliable system.”

The digital radio rollout has resulted in a number of benefits including: a safer workplace; clearer, reliable audio; durability; autonomy; and improved productivity.

“Black spots and drop-outs during conversations - highly undesirable in this industry - don’t exist anymore,” says Deihl. “Motorola earpieces have been critical so we still get clear audio in noisy environments, such as when loading fuel. Even though there’s more than 110 decibels of noise with hearing protection, we have good results. Using the microphone we avoid lots of wind noise too.”

Deihl explains there is also future potential for the system with lone worker safety applications. He says: “We’re trialling the man-down system, activated by the balance switch or lack of activity. Due to the nature of our products, we avoid people working alone as much as possible, but if they have to, we want the control room to be instantly notified of anything unusual. We’re also looking into GPS for staff locations, as well as direct dial-out to emergency services.”

The technology partner for the Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radios upgrade was i-see Security & Communications, and Deihl said the staff were very reliable, knowledgeable and easy to deal with.

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