How to digitalize hazardous areas of the energy sector? Intrinsically safe devices provide the answer

Technician with intrinsically safe device developed by Bartec

Occupational safety should be the priority in every industry.

But how to combine it with optimizing productivity and digitalization of processes?

And especially in workplaces with several different safety hazards, ranging from electrocution to exposure to harmful gases?

One of the industries that can relate to such a challenge is Energy sector.

But, despite that, there is a way to increase occupational safety and integrate digital workflows in hazardous workplaces at the same time.

And the answer lies within intrinsically safe devices.

How standard digital devices add to workplace risks

First, let’s talk about a regular digitalization of fieldwork processes.

In standard scenarios, we talk about implementing common digital devices, like laptops, smartphones, or tablets, with work optimizing software.

Whatever from CRM to mobile forms counts.

digital asset maintenance in energy industry

The process is straightforward when we digitalize the sales representative’s workflow. But the process changes when the hazards of the job increase.

Imagine a service engineer working on an asset in a gas power plant gas exposed to harmful gases, dust particles and vapors.

Using a standard digital device to optimize the workflow of this technician increase the risk of static electricity or heat discharge from the device igniting the surrounding volatile gasses.

And that’s an unwanted effect of digitalization, no matter how greatly it improves the reporting or data collection processes.

With such an outcome, the inevitable question comes: Should you even consider the digitalization of hazardous jobs in the energy industry?

The power of digitalization in hazardous jobs

The answer to that question doesn’t have to be long: digitalization brings results.
Digitally connected field technicians in the energy sector help to improve:

  • Management and prevention of unplanned outages
  • The lifetime of assets
  • Reduction of Operations & Maintenance costs
  • Power plant efficiency
  • Productivity and efficiency of field processes

For these reasons, digitalization is essential for all sectors within the energy industry, whether gas, coal-fired, nuclear and even solar, wind, or hydro power plants.

And the most important point is: with the right devices, digitalization can even increase the safety of the field technicians working in hazardous workplaces.

What does intrinsically safe mean?

To make digitalization feasible for riskier occupations, specific devices evolved with the non-incendive or intrinsically safe standard.

These devices can operate in highly volatile areas that may include flammable gases, powders or fuels without risk of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy to cause ignition.

And these are the devices you should consider if thinking about the digitalization of higher-risk occupations in the energy sector.

a technician holidng zebra device with resco Field Service software

One of the device providers that understand the risks in hazardous workplaces is BARTEC. The company customizes Zebra Technologies devices to make them non-incentive or intrinsically safe for highly volatile areas.

Resco partners with BARTEC to jointly enable companies in the Energy sector to digitize and automate workflows, maximize productivity, generate useful real-time data, and reinforce workplace safety.

What you can achieve with BARTEC devices powered by resco.FieldService software

resco.FieldService is a software solution that works on BARTEC devices and enables complete digital control of workflows in the field. The software enables companies to control preventive maintenance, work orders, data collection, or assets in the Energy sector.

With resco.FieldService on BARTEC device you can:

Gain complete control over your assets

Preventing outages and prolonging the lifetime of assets like generators or power transformers isn’t an easy task.

But with resco.FieldService, you can switch from reaction to prevention. You can set up automated and calendar-based workflows, work orders, inspections, or preventive maintenance jobs to keep the equipment in healthy condition longer.

Progress updates, alerts, and location info coming from field technicians in real-time make the power plant management more efficient and better prepared for emergencies.

Go mobile with digital forms and reports

Digitalization enables field technicians to get rid of inefficient paper processes.

With digital checklists, forms, and fully customizable reports, they can mitigate the time spent on documenting and reporting the work.

Digital forms also possess a way to reduce the carbon footprint further and improve regulatory compliance or audit trail.

Achieve a safer and healthier workplace

And the most important of all – a safer workplace.

Digital checklists and work instructions can be used to ensure all prevention steps like lockout/tagout procedures were executed before manipulating with machines or circuit boards.

The resco.FieldService and BARTEC devices also allow technicians to have at hand all necessary information even in the harshest environments, thanks to full offline functionality.

Therefore, technicians can check all safety precautions or documented risks every time they need.

How to get started with the digitalization of work processes in hazardous occupancies

There is no doubt that workplace safety is high on the list of priorities for power plants and energy providers. But so is an optimization of work processes.

Can these two exist together? Can we optimize safety and productivity in the toughest work conditions that include the risks of heat stress, falling, electrical shock, toxic chemicals and confined space entry?

Intrinsically safe devices enable companies to achieve that.

With a combination of reliable software solutions, field technicians can take advantage of digital technology even in riskier workplaces.

If you would like to start with an evaluation of such a solution in your business, take a look at the free customized demo of resco.FieldService and BARTEC solution to see how it can work for you.