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Training and communicating with staff safely during the pandemic

05 October 2020

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has posed many difficult challenges for food manufacturers. Businesses within the sector have been working hard to guarantee production continuity and to keep food on the supermarket shelves, while balancing these needs with an increased requirement to ensure the health and safety of staff.

Many food manufacturing businesses are now looking at taking on new staff but training has been made more difficult because of a requirement for so much additional PPE – such as face masks and shields. The need for greater social distancing requires operatives to be spaced further apart on production lines, which are often in noisy areas. The result is that communication to impart important information to operators can be challenging. 

A good solution has been identified by radio system integrator, Brabourne Ltd, following trials undertaken by the company using a variety of different radio and headset solutions, on behalf of a number of major UK businesses within the food manufacturing sector.

Brabourne found that Multicom’s Digital Duplex radios met all of the requirements for safe communication in difficult and noisy environments. The solution works in what is known as full duplex mode which means that when connected to a suitable headset users can talk to each other entirely naturally despite them being socially distances – as if a group of people were chatting to one another. There are no buttons to push, conversations are secure due to the digital radio technology and no licence is needed to operate the system.

A key advantage of the Multicom radio is its extremely small size and weight. It can be worn on a secure lanyard around the neck and weighs just 88 gm. It can be worn under overalls as the user does not need to touch it to operate it.

Because the system is completely hands-free, both trainees and the trainer are able to keep their hands free to operate machinery safely, while talking or listening.

A range of headsets are available, including a lightweight version for quieter areas and heavy-duty ear defender headsets for high noise areas. The headsets are compatible with PPE masks worn by all members of staff.

The design of the radios means they can be easily sanitised at the end of a shift and the headsets can be used with disposable ear covers to maintain high levels of hygiene.

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