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Working alone can be a great alternative if you love working at your own pace or have to be a one-person team for any reason. Even more so today, when the remote work practices have turned lots of groups into partially lone-worker mode. However, being a lone worker comes with associated risks.
Before we delve into how employers can protect their workers, we will define lone working and see the potential hazards it brings.
Lone working is undertaking work-related duties and responsibilities alone, without on-site supervision and in the absence of your colleagues.
While it is usually safe, being a lone worker makes you more vulnerable to some risks.
Falling, tripping, bumping into machinery, and suffering injuries that result from heavy lifting are hazards that threaten a lone worker's personal safety. A total of 5,333 workers died from a work-related injury in the US in 2019, and in 2020, private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. And it’s not just the US. According to the Health and Safety Executive, almost 600 thousand workers in the UK suffered non-fatal injuries between 2018 and 2019, 37% and 20% resulting from falls and heavy lifting, respectively.
Physical and verbal assault, as well as sudden and underlying illnesses, are other unprecedented circumstances that endanger workers in isolated workstations.
Sadly, these situations may take a turn for the worse in the absence of immediate emergency response or medical care.
Educating employees on potential risks, and training them on workplace safety, is a great way to significantly minimize the occurrence of workplace accidents and catastrophes.
However, to protect your employees even further, the need to leverage digital safety solutions is imperative.
Technological advancements have seeped into various industries, and the employee health and safety sector is not left behind.
Lone worker safety devices are particularly vital in ensuring the well-being of employees handling lone work.
So, how exactly does technology protect workers?
Live-tracking is one of the best proactive safety measures that significantly lowers the probability of workplace disasters.
Using technology to supervise workers in real-time is an excellent way to stay on top of what happens in the office and workstations in remote locations.
For instance, with the help of real-time monitoring systems, you can catch any potential machinery or hardware malfunctions before or as they happen.
What if your company also has danger zones or other high-risk locations? In that case, instant monitoring allows you to closely watch the activities of the authorized personnel, quickly identify people who are in breach of the safety guidelines, and gain visibility into hazardous situations that call for emergency response.
Lone Worker Safety Apps
More and more companies are leveraging safety applications to keep an eye on employees working in isolation. With a few clicks, you can transform your cell phone or desktop into a fully-fledged working alone monitoring device.
Feature-rich employee safety apps record and report the tasks done, provide privacy-controlled GPS location tracking, and have an alarm system in case of emergencies. By using custom mobile applications, employers can remind employees about the work safety guidelines. They can share red flags to watch out for, information on the proper functioning of company equipment, and personal safety tips to uphold, promoting a safer workplace environment.
With the myriad of lone app features, using dual-mode communication devices is of the utmost importance. Including a two-way communication feature allows lone workers to reach out to safety professionals when they encounter problems and emergencies.
Currently, many employers seek visualization technology to ensure employee safety. Drones are particularly important visualization lone worker devices, helping ensure the well-being of employees.
Lone workers in confined or unprotected open spaces are among the greatest beneficiaries of this technology. For instance, drones will quickly evaluate the conditions on a potentially dangerous site like a multiple-story building that’s under construction, a malfunctioning power plant, and places of high altitudes--all this while the worker watches from a safe distance or sits behind a desk.
Generally, drones are used for risk assessment on hazardous and hard-to-reach areas to ensure every task is working as expected.
Hazardous Gas Monitoring
The agriculture, laboratory, gas, and manufacturing industries are well known to produce potentially poisonous gases like hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Therefore, as much as conducting routine safety checks is recommended, installing gas detection systems is a surefire way to identify oxygen deficiency and a build-up of harmful gases.
Gas monitoring devices track air purity, scanning for toxic gases in specified areas with a potential risk of leakages. An employer will program the device, setting the acceptable gas levels. In case of a high concentration, it will send out an alarm alerting the relevant safety professionals of the imminent danger.
To minimize the risk of toxic gas inhalation and explosions, calibration of gas detectors is of the utmost importance. Regularly examining the system to confirm its sensor accuracy and reliability is highly recommended.
Workplace emergencies are not uncommon, and the importance of calling for help fast cannot be over-emphasized.
Unfortunately, in some scenarios, workers may have trouble calling emergency contacts. For instance, in situations where injured workers are incapacitated or they work in remote locations with poor signals, making a phone call is difficult.
This is where a personal alarm comes in.
A personal alarm is a technology that can be integrated into your smartphone to signal for help when something or someone threatens your safety. Besides, it also serves as a wearable device with a panic button to cater to employees who cannot access their smartphone during an emergency.
Personal alarms are a vital tech in safeguarding the well-being of people living, working, or commuting alone. Countries like India have already made it compulsory for all phones sold in the country to contain a panic button.
To leverage the benefits of this technology, companies are customizing the applications, embedding features unique for their scope of work. For instance, a man-down feature will alert the relevant personnel if a worker falls or trips. Additionally, you can program the safety system to send notifications if a worker in an isolated location or confined space fails to check out after their shift ends.
AllsWell Alert is a personal emergency alert application that offers an easy way for lone workers to signal for help when in hazardous situations.
As an efficient worker safety device, AllsWell allows workers to send alerts to their employers or other designated emergency contacts with the touch of a button.
Also designed for life-threatening situations, this lone worker monitoring device boasts robust features, including alert-triggered GPS location tracking and privacy protection. What's even more appealing is its ability to send alerts without the need to hit the panic button. AllsWell Alert’s inactivity alert is triggered by the prolonged dormancy, untypical for the user, sending distress signal with your current location to your employer or other designated contacts.
Furthermore, the application offers international monitoring, allowing organizations to keep an eye on their employees from anywhere in the world.
AllsWell Alert is an excellent choice for a lone worker living, working, or commuting alone that will effectively monitor the safety and wellbeing of employees working in isolation.