Communicating in Hazardous Environments

Protecting those who work in hazardous environments is of great importance. Given that a reliable communication platform can significantly increase the chances of carrying out a job safely, it is our collective responsibility to ensure workers are provided with all the tools they need.

Communication flexibility

Sometimes achieving reliable communications can be difficult, especially for a mobile response team who are always visiting new environments.

A fire crew, for example, will likely find themselves in confined spaces behind solid walls, placing them out of communication range. Hytera have specialist products designed to provide response crews with the flexibility they need, wherever they go.

The RD965 portable repeater can be easily transported either by carrying it in a backpack, temporarily mounted on a fixed point or installed in a vehicle, and the PD985 DMR hand-portable can operate in single-frequency repeater mode.

Flexibility is not limited to the use of radio transceivers, as communication accessories can play an important part in making communication seamless. 3M Peltor’s LiteCom Pro III, for example, ticks both boxes simultaneously.

The ATEX-approved two-way radio communication headset is not only approved for use in hazardous environments, but also allows users to keep both hands free all of the time thanks to it’s built-in 403-470MHz radio transceiver.

Worker Safety

Organisations whose work places them in potentially hazardous environments take no chances when it comes to the safety of their employees. In the oil and gas industry, for example, the operational, environmental and regulatory risks are high even in relatively controllable environments due to the remote regions organisation are situated in.

Equipment used in these environments therefore must not only provide total reliability and absolute safety but must also be rugged enough to withstand the harshest treatment.

 

Hytera’s ATEX range of hand-portables were designed to be put to the most volatile environments without breaking a sweat; being completely intrinsically safe, their devices are certified to create no ignition source in explosive atmospheres.

The PD7 “intrinsically safe” range comes in two forms; the “EX” series is safe for use in zones 1 & 2 where explosive gas mixture presence is “likely”, and the “IS” models can be safely used in zone 0 where there is “continuous” presence of explosive gas mixture for “long periods”.

Models across both ranges also have several key design features to ensure safety; they are made with silicone encapsulation technology and with high electromagnetic compatibility, giving the internal circuits triple protection against liquid, gas or dust. They also have a skid-proof and lightweight shell to reduce the significance of physical impact, and have a patented anti-spark battery latch design which will prevent the battery from ever being removed inadvertently.

Evidence Collection

The ability to collect quality video, photographic and audio evidence has allowed many organisations to take their communication systems to the next level. For those operating in hazardous environments, being able to collect a full audit trail can not only offer workers an extra level of protection but also ensure their processes conform to the necessary standards.

Body-worn cameras are now commonplace in many industries, helping organisations everywhere to ultimately keep themselves and the people they serve safe. Hytera’s “Remote Video Microphone” range of body-worn cameras not only capture high-quality video, photographic and audio evidence but conform to the highest build standards and integrate with Hytera radios as a remote speaker microphone.

Organisations with a requirement to capture evidence in extreme and volatile environments may look to Hytera’s VM550D. Its feature set is impressive – not only does it conform to IP67, MIL-STD-810G and 2m drop-test standards but it also boasts impressive features such as 10m night-vision recording and internal backup battery.

Hytera’s PD985 DMR hand-portable can also provide crucial audit trail information, recording channel traffic to a MicroSD card inserted into the device. It can support up to 32GB of additional memory, recording up to 576 hours of both digital and analogue voice. Body-cam evidence and PD985 voice data can then be viewed and analysed retrospectively with Hytera’s comprehensive range of software options.