Two pilot schemes have been developed to address issues of fatigue, stress and sometimes abuse from the pubic faced by Amey’s environmental service teams. One uses the latest wearable technology to monitor the health and wellbeing of waste collection teams. The se second scheme equips employees at a Recycling Centre with bodycams that aim to discourage abusive behaviour from the public.
The first scheme has been sponsored by Ferrovial Services’ Centre of Excellence for Cities and Ferrovial Innovation and Processes. 28 volunteers from Amey’s waste collection services in Wolverhampton have been wearing ‘smart vests’ which track their heart rate, respiration, pace, posture and stress levels. This has been designed to help understand how the human body copes during different tasks in the working day. Volunteers from a range of roles wore the t-shirts with a ‘smart box’ to capture physiological data, for an average of 10 days each. They gathered together at the end of every shift to analyse the data and decipher if there had been any events which led to a fluctuation in data exhibited. A detailed picture was built up of the health of each employee every day.
Results proved to be positive, and showed that all crew who took part in the study performed within acceptable cardiac activity levels. There were, however, some areas of stress associated with reversing and uneven ground which the team are reviewing in order to minimize through the implication of cameras. A healthy eating and lifestyle campaign directed at employees is also now under way.
Mark Saunders, UK Projects Director of Ferrovial Services’ Centre of Excellence for Cities, said: “The results have shown us areas of opportunity that are now being addressed operationally and we now understand how delivery of environmental services can contribute towards an active lifestyle. The teams and management were very receptive to trying out this technology. I would like to thank them again for allowing us this opportunity to understand the dynamics of their work in greater detail.”
Improving the well-being of Recycling Centre staff in the UK
The second trial is taking place at Amey’s Household Waste Recycling Centre in Northamptonshire. There has been a worrying rise in verbal abuse to the employees– a 26% increase in abuse and threats of violence at HWRCs in the last year. The majority of these threats arise when people are told they cannot leave certain types or amounts of waste, and occasionally this even leads to our employees being assaulted.
Amey are now trialing body camera technology that is attached over their employees’ personal protective equipment (PPE),which provides clear footage of the area in front of the them. When activated by the employee, it saves the previous 30 seconds ensuring any incidents are captured, including the events immediately prior to activation. Footage can be sent to the police for further investigation and action if needed.
Amey’s Managing Director for Environmental Services Rob Edmondson said: “The safety of our employees is our top priority, which is why we’re looking at how we can change behaviours and protect our workforce from abuse. By knowing they are on camera we believe customers will think twice about their behaviour. Already we’ve seen some success, with employees reporting they feel safer and customers giving less abuse when they become aware of the camera.”
Find out more information in Amey’s press release here.