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Real-Life Incident: Dallas' Story - Scaffolding Fall

Blackline Safety Leader in Connected Gas Detection & Lone Worker Safety November 08, 2023
Lone worker safety device fall detection

Alone and in pain worker triggers emergency SOS for rescue

During a routine maintenance turnaround, Dallas, a welder at an oil sands operation in northern Alberta, was soldering bolts onto the roof of an oil and gas storage tank. The gloomy weather and rain made the task more challenging than usual, so Dallas was as careful as possible.

As he adjusted his position, Dallas suddenly slipped on the scaffolding platform he was standing on. He twisted as he fell. As he hit the platform, he knew immediately from the sudden burst of white hot pain in his shoulder that this fall was serious. 

In agony and unable to descend the scaffolding, Dallas realized it would be hard to get the attention from other workers in the area as they were out of sight and earshot. So Dallas pulled the SOS latch on his G7 Lone Worker wearable attached to his safety vest.

“Thank goodness for that emergency red button,” said Dallas. “Even if I’d had a phone, I’m not sure I would have been able to pull it out and dial for help.”

Almost 50% of work-related accidents in plants occur during plant maintenance outages.
(TA Cook and Solomon Associates, 2019)

Answering the Call

At Blackline Safety’s Safety Operations Centre (SOC), which provides live monitoring of the company’s devices in the field, an agent saw the alert come in from Dallas’s G7. The agency called his device within seconds, and Dallas explained that he was stuck at height, was in pain and needed help. 

Safety Monitoring Fall Detection Emergency Response to Fall Detection Lone Worker

Springing to Action

The agent immediately contacted the company’s onsite medical unit and was able to provide Dallas’s exact location based on the coordinates from his G7. Next, the agent contacted Dallas’s supervisor to inform him of the incident, per the company’s custom emergency response protocol. The agent then called Dallas back to assure him that help was on the way.

Thanks to Dallas pulling the G7's SOS latch, emergency services and the supervisor arrived at the location within minutes. They put on safety harnesses and scaled the scaffolding. A quick examination determined Dallas's injury was likely a dislocated shoulder, which required medical treatment. They helped Dallas descend and transported him to a nearby hospital.

“I’m often working alone and focused on getting the job done. I've had a few slips, but always caught myself,” said Dallas. “This time I wasn't as lucky, and I now understand why my company wanted me trained on how to use the safety device. Now I'm telling everyone about it."

Lone Worker Fall Detection DID YOU KNOW?
Every day, 80 workers are injured in a fall – that’s one every 20 minutes. Approximately 17,000 lost-time injuries occur each year because of workplace falls. Two-thirds of fall-related injuries are from slips and trips.
(Workplace Safety North)

Protection for Any Workplace

Blackline's tech currently keeps workers safe in over a dozen industries—from energy to water treatment to utilities to transportation. Our cloud-connected wearables, area gas monitors and monitoring software can be configured to mitigate just about any risk, at any operation, anywhere in the world.

As Dallas discovered, during critical operations like shutdowns and turnarounds, real-time connectivity helps keep the additional site and maintenance workers safe and able to get help quickly should an accident occur. With rental, purchase and monthly payment options, it's easier that ever to make sure every worker on every job site is protected because they're connected. 

This real-life incident is a true story, but names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.

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