Lone worker safety technology is constantly evolving and features vary, depending on requirements. For example, lone worker apps now enable firms to transform existing smartphones and tablets into personal safety devices. Apps can be a cost-effective way to swiftly roll out lone worker protection to enable individuals to raise an SOS alarm at the press of a button as well as receive two-way communications support.

Not all technology is created equal: some alarms will trigger an alert to a line manager, others will immediately notify an emergency response centre such as Peoplesafe’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), staffed 24/7 by trained responders who can provide immediate guidance and even bypass 999 to alert emergency services where needed.

Those workers more susceptible to slips and trips and operating in more hazardous environments may benefit from devices with built-in fall detection. This feature can automatically sense when a user has fallen and trigger an alert to send for help if needed.

Others may be working alone in, or driving to remote locations with patchy network signal; roaming sims connected to the UK’s major networks can help to provide the best possible coverage. Similarly, apps such as what3words can be incorporated into lone worker tech, to enable organisations (or emergency services) to narrow a location to a 3m² radius, making it easier to find employees in distress than traditional GPS technology.


THE BUSINESS Putting in place the right level of protection is essential, but embedding a culture of safety for lone workers is equally important. The HSE expects organisations to ‘train, supervise and monitor’ those employees working by themselves: this should include training on the safety technology itself to ensure it is used correctly, particularly in the event of an incident. Lone worker solutions should also feed into a portal managed by those responsible for health and safety, where usage statistics and reports can be created to identify where training may be needed or where action can be taken to bring down incident numbers.

Dynamic risk assessment training may also be appropriate to roll-out, whether an employee is entering a member of the public’s property by themselves or encountering situations where ‘on the spot’ safety decisions must be made, such as construction sites.

Those responsible for health and safety will have experienced unprecedented pressures over the course of the year as workplace safety culture has transformed in response to the pandemic. Lone working may have been an overlooked by-product of this new way of working, yet putting in place measures and procedures to protect all employees - and provide them with peace of mind during such difficult times - must be a priority for organisations. 31

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