EHS NewsmakersRecent high-profile incidents of workplace violence have helped confirm its status as a significant hazard, one that can take its place among others that can threaten worker safety, such as vapor releases and fires.

A new warning system appears to be on the forefront of an approach to EHS that sits squarely at the intersection of safety and security.

While the Interactive Warning System (IWS) from AtHoc is geared toward the oil and gas, chemical and heavy manufacturing sectors, it is conceivable that future technologies may be more broad-based, useable by a variety of industries and facilities.

The IWS allows the facility’s first responders to immediately warn personnel about the threat, account for everyone’s status and follow through with differentiated and targeted messages throughout the life of the threat, including messages about continuation of shelter in place, buildings/areas to avoid, evacuation instructions and directions for response teams as to the precise location of the threat.

Sirens, radios and computers

The system unifies analog and digital systems over the IP network, and as a result, warning messages can be sent across widely dispersed areas to reach everyone using any combination of sirens, radios, computer desktop popups, instant messengers, digital signs, texts, emails, VoIP work phones, mobile or smartphones and more.

“With a push of a button, all of these systems can be activated for a mass warning that provides unprecedented completeness in reaching everyone for the EH&S team,” notes the company’s press release.

Smart phones play a part

The communication is fully interactive and closed loop, so that anyone is able to confirm his or her arrival at designated rally points, provide an update on status and location and importantly, from their smart phones, be able to send photos, videos and maps of incident data back to the remote security operations.

AtHoc says the real-time feedback from the field brings visibility to the emergency operations center and can provide insights that help with dispatch decisions.

Guy Miasnik, AtHoc CEO, says IWS is based on lessons learned from the company’s military and Homeland Security customer base, for which the company provides products used for physical security, employee protection, personnel accountability and regulatory compliance for military, homeland security, government, healthcare, industrial, and commercial organizations.

“One of these lessons is the power of mobility. Because smartphones are so ubiquitous and powerful, they have become the de facto go-to communication device for nearly everything that has to do with emergency management and communications.”

For more information about AtHoc, please visit