Injured Worker Rescued Within Minutes
Canterbury-based, Mundtville Dairy has provided us with a great case study on the importance of mobile two-way communications when it comes to staff safety.
Mundtville Dairy Farm is an independent family-owned business which supplies milk to Synlait. Radios were one of my first suggestions on starting my role after observations of 12 staff doing so much travel. The farm covers 536 hectares and we just about needed a traffic controller because of vehicles driving back and forth all day just looking for people.
We used mobile phones but coverage was intermittent, staff didn’t carry them, or they’d be out of credit. Excluding management, the success rate of getting someone on the phone was about 30 per cent of the time.
We’d had the radios only a matter of days when a staff member fell off a motorbike and broke his leg. He called us via the radio, we got to him within minutes, took him to the medical centre and he was airlifted to Christchurch.
It’s difficult to say what might have happened without the radio – someone might have driven past within minutes. But the next scheduled trip that way wasn’t until 2pm so it could potentially have been hours before he was discovered.
There have also been extra benefits to having two-way radios on top of staff safety –
Productivity: Staff aren’t driving around looking for each other all the time, so they spend more time on other tasks and not waiting for instructions. We can make changes instantly, such as increasing the amount of supplements to the cows while they’re being fed, instead of making another trip to tell staff and then another to feed out the additional supplement.
Coverage: Poor coverage had put management off a previous radio solution but with a dedicated channel, coverage is no longer an issue.
Better communication: The constant flow of information enhances the profitability of the property. For example, if the herd manager and I have a discussion, everyone hears and knows what’s going on. We’re not meeting every five minutes. Now staff can describe a situation they encounter and ask for directions, so we can make decisions and fix problems instantly.
I live 75km away in Christchurch, but via the radio I can still communicate. Plus, the farm owner is kept in the decision-making loop via his radio and we can make decisions with his authority.
TL Parker’s experience was an advantage: The deciding factor was a digital network that’s always available and the cost benefits analysis, which worked better with TL Parker. There’s also the security in knowing that they have been around for a while. Motorola has also been around, so we knew we weren’t buying a name we didn’t know.
– General Manager, David Sloss