Lone worker solutions are the methods used in dealing with the risks that lone workers can face while attending to their duties. It is well known that lone workers are prone to get injured and having life-threatening accidents, but it is also important that proper risk assessment is done to enable the employer to know what could happen. With this knowledge of the possibility of what could happen, it is possible to create solutions to these risks. This is what a lone workers solution basically entails. It is a practice of monitoring the safety of employees that are exposed to lots of risks, this is due to the working conditions of their location and the fact that they work alone being isolated from others. In the event of an emergency, there is no one to call out to neither is there anyone to reach for help. There are now numerous methods of lone workers solution that is utilized by companies and organization worldwide. Some of these methods are:
- Safety monitoring device: with the aid of dedicated monitoring devices used for monitoring local environmental conditions such as: dangerous gas, seismic activity or even acidity of an area. The smartphone-based technology is able to account for all of this hence promoting the safety of individuals that would be working at such a site. Devices are however not carried as they could hinder work; they are usually carried or clipped to the lone workers safety suit as part of their dressing, they can also be attached to ID badge or a piece of vital equipment.
- With these devices, you can foretell an impending danger
- They can double as trackers to find the worker
- If taken off it would be unable to do its work
In many cases, this system lacks monitoring and proper training which is very important for its success. Its success rate isn’t so high since it is not completely possible to know if the workers are using or just see it as junks and drop it off before commencing work. To ensure that it’s used, proper training must be given to a worker to enable them to know how imperative it is that they use the monitoring devices especially before they commence work. The company should endeavor to buy a device that is lightweight and less complicated with “1, 2, 3 steps” for usage.
- Buddy system: employees can be paired to ensure the safety of one of them is handled by the other in the case of an accident. This system involves placing to workers together to ensure they are “brother’s keeper” this way the safety of one becomes a responsibility of the other. It is a very efficient method as certain tasks where radio frequencies and EM waves wouldn’t allow for communication, the buddy system could ensure in case of emergency one applies first aid for the other.
- Reporting an incident is very prompt with such system
- One worker treats the other in any case of an accident
- An accident could involve both workers making the buddy system not so effective
The buddy system as perfect as it sounds isn’t, it lacks the consideration of the fact that an incident might occur and put both the workers in harms way making it impossible for either to communicate. The chances of this method being successful are about half, in many cases, things can go wrong affecting both workers. It will be good to ensure that the two workers are equipped with equipment that can send reports to the company if both of them are simultaneously down. Technology-based methods are now preferred over manual methods such as the buddy system
- Phone-based check-in system: this a system whereby time is given whereby a worker has to call and report on the status of work. Having this regular calling interval helps the organization to know their work is okay and the job is going on smoothly. This type of call is usually made hourly or bi-hourly. There are two approaches used to these ends they are:
- Call center driven: this means you can just call through the mobile carries using call tariffs
- Cloud-based automated monitoring: this could employ software as a service model, this utilizes data through a particular software to connect both parties for online communication.
- Hourly/bi-weekly you can get status reports from the workers
- It becomes easy to know if something is wrong
- Calling via tariffs could be quite expensive especially when they have nothing to report
- After a call, an accident might occur and if by the next call it is discovered it might be too late to render help.
The phone-based check-in method requires a person in good health to take his time and call these methods could be quite unreliable as a worker might be critically down and immobile. To increase its success rates it could be used with sensors and trackers that send alarms in case of danger. This method should be used with other equipment and not solely relied upon
- Safety monitoring smartphone application: with the popular on-demand smartphones and the ever-evolving smartphone technology, the development of an application that enables workers to request for help is now very possible. With the launch and taps of some buttons, a worker would get help coming as soon as possible at whatever location they are needed using the GPS technology these apps can utilize for tracking. These apps can sometimes have a panic button or allow quick check-ins without needing calls. Some smartphone apps allow for the hands-free trigger as well, this could involve pulling a tether from the headphone jack. This is way lone workers can quickly signal for help without unlocking their phones.
- Easy to use and report through
- With apps, you can monitor your workers real-time
- Setting up requires a technical expert to create
- Custom apps are usually expensive to set up and build
- Requires internet access, it might be difficult to report where there is no internet.
These methods requires a good internet connection to communicate steadily since it is a system built around technology and is automated it is amongst the most successful methods being used. Internet connectivity might affect its success rate as it needs the internet to send reports and trigger SOS alarms. The smartphone method is very important and has recorded many upvotes from the user experience.
Implementing a lone worker solution must be considered for the safety of the workers especially, but beyond choosing a method it might be best to incorporate while also checking the success rates of such solutions.