Queensland Utilities Company Ensures Remote Worker Safety

About Powerlink

Powerlink is a leading Australian provider of high voltage electricity transmission network services, combining innovation with insight to deliver safe, cost-effective and reliable power solutions. The company owns, operates and maintains the transmission network that extends 1,700km from north of Cairns to the New South Wales border and comprises 15,337 circuit kilometres of transmission lines and 140 sub-stations.

Powerlink takes a proactive and “all-in” approach to health and safety. The health and wellbeing of staff is a priority with safety integrated into all work practices company-wide.

Challenge

Powerlink has hundreds of employees who often work in remote locations across its power network. These workers often work in difficult conditions to maintain a continuous power supply to customers across Queensland.

Powerlink needed a system that provided real-time assurance that its people were safe, as well as a way to manage worker fatigue. They wanted a simple solution that would allow workers to easily check-in when they arrived home or at a remote site. In short, they needed to know that their staff arrived safely at their destination, and that they were self-assessing each journey.

Solution

Powerlink selected a solution from journey management software specialists JESI for a pilot with its remote operation and service delivery team. Initially, 40 employees were nominated for the trial, however, word-of-mouth from the pilot participants was so positive that it quickly grew to more than 120 employees.

Using JESI, workers were able to send a one-word SMS from their mobile phones to confirm their location and safety. If they hadn’t checked in by an agreed time, the JESI system activated automatic escalations so the location and safety of every worker could be accounted for at all hours of the day.

Powerlink’s management could use JESI to access a centralised dashboard displaying planned check-in points for all staff in real-time.

It is our priority to know our people have arrived safely to work and also back home.

-Powerlink

Action

The JESI pilot was implemented without needing to change Powerlink’s existing journey management procedure. The two month pilot allowed Powerlink’s team to collate feedback from all users and the necessary data to develop a business case for a full implementation.

Pilot users were required to simply add each planned journey to JESI, logging their start and end locations and any mid-journey checkpoints, along with the estimated time and date they would reach at each location. Every journey goes through a risk management and approval process with Powerlink’s own management teams.

When journeys begin, JESI sends reminders to the remote workers’ mobile phones to ensure they have checked-in from the locations listed in their journey plan. The workers simply reply with ‘yes’ by SMS to confirm that they are safe. If they don’t respond in a set time frame, an escalation message is sent to the worker’s management team.

Results

The Powerlink team now have improved visibility of their workforce and have significantly reduced the burdensome administrative process. Manual, paper-based forms and reliance on employees remembering to check-in has been replaced with automated tools within JESI’s software.
Powerlink estimated it has gained back almost 1,000 hours using JESI for almost 3,700 journeys.

The pilot enabled the Powerlink team to engage stakeholders across the organisation, including technology, procurement, safety and the corporate team. Powerlink’s project manager led the end-to-end implementation which included developing a customised risk assessment, change management program and data cleansing plan.

The Powerlink team now have improved visibility of their workforce and have
significantly reduced the burdensome administrative process.

-Powerlink

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