According to the Occupational and Safety code in Australia, all employers are required by the law to provide effective communication channels to their employees if they work under conditions that do not allow them to have regular mobile telephone conversation. For most employees, this mainly means the use of satellite phones although the law does not stipulate that the sat phone as the only way they can substitute regular telephone conversations. This code is specifically meant to apply to workers under the OHS Act and this excludes people who are employed by the federal government, who work in farms or ranches or those who are self-employed. This is mainly because for self-employed people, they will ensure that they have efficient communication means because they have to communicate with their suppliers. The law was therefore made to ensure that employees do not go for days without having a means to communicate with other people.
The law was also implemented to ensure that if an employer has hired security guards to offer protective services to either property or people, they will be well equipped to respond to emergency calls or threats without much of a delay. This not only makes sense but is now a requirement before any employer hires a security guard. Most employers prefer using a sat phone or sat phone hire because it is more reliable in case of an emergency and communication will not be deterred by terrestrial connections that are mainly used for mobile phones. In addition, these connections are known to fail on some occasions and this could be a great threat when a security guard cannot respond to the emergency simply because they cannot communicate or call for back up. The occupational health and safety code mainly focuses on an employee’s safety and well being but also doubles up as an added security measure for the employer.
According to the code, employers are required to have the effective communication system especially when an employee is working alone. The law allows the employer to conduct a hazard assessment in order to determine the appropriate communication system. This assessment is only conducted once and it will only change if the work conditions also change. Therefore, if the assessment shows that using a sat phone is the most appropriate communication channel, then this will remain the same unless a more appropriate system comes up with time. The law also does not state that an employer is obliged to provide satellite phones or any other means of communication to their employees if they make regular call-ins at pre-determined intervals to ensure the safety of their workers. The call-in intervals will be based on the hazard assessment and will therefore be different for individual work scenarios. This may be at the beginning and end of a shift or every few hours if the work scenario carries more hazards. This law works best in remote work places where there is a higher chance of injury and little means of communication meaning that employees may not be able to call in for help in case of an emergency. Today there is also the Iridium Go wifi dongle for smart phones