Case Study: GE Healthcare

Dealing with flammable chemicals exposes the facility to industrial risks that are not only dangerous to the employees working in the plant, but also to the residents living around it or anyone moving near the plant, should an unlikely accident ever occur. The Location Based Alerting System combines advanced location technology with the simplicity of an SMS alert to reach people when it matters most. GE HEALTHCARE - from manual lists to time efficient and accurate LOCATION BASED ALERTING


GE Healthcare, one of world’s leading digital industry com- panies, employs over 2,000 people in Norway across multiple industries. The GE Healthcare plant in Lindesnes supplies the global market with the basic components for X-rays and MR, known as “contrast media”. The plant was established in 1974 and is now a modern factory facility with several hundred employees. ABOUT GE HEALTHCARE The location based alerting system solves our challenges by alerting employees, passing tourists, the cottage population and the local community in time, if there’s an event happening. The system can also be used to alert employees. For example, if there’s an event and we need to alert the medical services of the plant. Earlier, we had manual lists which we had to update at uneven intervals. This is something we no longer need to do. It means a lot to us and to the community that the plant is a safe site for everyone.

BACKGROUND Dealing with chemicals exposes the facility to industrial risks like leakages and fire. This is not only dangerous to the em- ployees working in the plant, but also to the residents living around it or anyone moving near the plant, should an unlikely accident ever occur. There are also many cottages in the area near the factory which serve as weekend and holiday homes. These cottages are not the owners’ primary home addresses and keeping track of the people occupying the cottages used to be a challenging task and manual updates of lists were needed. The Lindesnes lighthouse is on the southern tip of mainland Norway and attracts over 100,000 visitors every year. The safety of these tourists who pass by the factory must also be considered while preparing for plant safety. While it is easier to warn employees whose contact information is known, identifying the people moving and living near the plant poses a challenge.

Jostein Sneve, Chief Security Officer, GE Healthcare Lindesnes

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The solution implemented by UMS for GE Healthcare uses UMS’ patented location based alerting technology, where all cell phones in a given geographic area can be alerted via SMS. This is achieved by drawing the area to be alerted on a digital map in the user interface and identifying the total number of subscribers in real-time. It is also possible to visualise how crowds are divided around at various areas near the plant. The technology doesn’t discriminate between domestic and roaming SIM cards and reliably delivers alerts quickly. This can also account for the international tourists visiting the area and ensure that they also receive reliable and accurate information in case of an incident.

The solution also factors in network congestions that might result due to overloading the network. Typically, an industrial accident requires swift action that involves relaying information to a large number of people in a short period of time. UMS’ patented congestion control techniques ensure that the mes- sages are delivered without any network bottleneck issues. The Chief Security Officer of the plant can also monitor the alerts sent and to resend the same message to non-received phones during the first attempt. With speed being an essen- tial component to disaster risk mitigation, the system accele- rates the sending alert process further by providing features to create predefined alert templates for various scenarios.

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The location based alerting system is being used by GE Healthcare for training exercises as well as employee communication. The system not only provides crucial information to staff and citizens prior to, during and in the immediate aftermath of incidents, but also offers insight to the authorities in terms of how many people have received the alerts.

When the system was installed, the first thing GE Health- care did was to broadly send information to everyone in the vicinity of the factory that the factory now had the location based information technology installed and also explained why this was needed. The system has been used to inform neighbours about evacuation drills, trainings and exercises, so that they do not panic when they receive the messages. The location based system has also been successfully used to send messages to all the employees, both hired and contractors. Fortunately, GE Healthcare has not had any serious incidents around the factory until now. However, the management remains vigilant and has ensured a better response to critical events by opting for the advanced location based alerting system that keeps everyone around the factory safe and informed.

Here at Lindesnes, we are a Seveso site. That means we handle large quantities of flammable and explosive solvents. In case of an event, we want to make sure that our employees, the people living in the local community and even bypassing tourists - out to Lindesnes lighthouse - get warning as quickly and correctly as possible. That’s the main reason why we took on the location based warning system. It greatly improves our ability to respond to such events.

Jon Gabriel Noddeland, Factory Director, GE Healthcare Lindesnes

Unified Messaging Systems AS • Innspurten 15, 0663 OSLO • Pb. 6301, Etterstad, 0604 OSLO, Norway

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