User-friendly lone worker app monitors, manages and reports on activity to help keep employees safe
This article is sponsored by SHEQSY.
When employees work alone or in isolated environments, their health and safety is more at risk than when they’re working nearby their coworkers. Without immediate support, it’s considerably more difficult for lone workers to get assistance in a timely manner if an emergency, incident, injury, or illness occurs.
Common high-risk lone worker industries in Canada include utilities (meter readers, field engineers, service and repair staff); infrastructure (surveyors, property inspectors, machine operators, and laborers); healthcare (nurses, paramedics and carers); and not-for-profit (outreach and support workers); as well as office workers that may work alone in an office setting - or now more frequently, work alone remotely or from home.
Employers should consider these seven common hazards experienced by lone workers and examine the most effective ways to eliminate and mitigate the associated risks.
1. Working without supervision and emergency assistance
While the act of working alone is not inherently dangerous, the act of working alone without supervision and support from managers or colleagues, and without access to immediate emergency assistance (regardless of the specific work activity), is the number one hazard lone workers face.
That’s why it’s critical to provide them with a lone worker safety solution that ensures they can be supervised by their manager (from afar, digitally) and receive immediate emergency assistance when needed.
Of course, deploying a lone worker safety solution will not totally eliminate the hazards lone workers face, but it will decrease their overall risk significantly - while providing the organization, employees, and their families with peace of mind that appropriate safety measures are in place.
SHEQSY is the leading lone worker safety and management solution that protects employees in real-time, 24/7.
SHEQSY’s lone worker app (for iOS/Android) safeguards employees with shift and activity timers, customizable check-in intervals, overtime alerts, and duress alarm activation. Meanwhile, from SHEQSY’s user-friendly dashboard, organizations can effortlessly monitor, manage, and report on lone worker activities.
2. Working in public, where there’s potential for aggression and violence
Utility technicians, property inspectors, caregivers, and delivery drivers are all examples of employees who are at high risk of experiencing aggression, violence, and injury while working around members of the public.
To carry out their roles, they travel and work in communities, interact with a variety of people, and visit or enter customers’ properties, homes, or workplaces. These different environments and encounters leave them vulnerable to the potentially life-threatening actions of others.
In these situations, emergency assistance is necessary, but calling for help may not be possible - and can further provoke an attacker, leading to additional risks. SHEQSY’s lone worker app integrates with Bluetooth wearable pendants and wristbands so that employees can quickly and discreetly activate their duress alarm.
3. Working with electricity
Lone-working electricians, utility technicians, and other employees who work in environments with live wires, liquids, chemicals, and gases are at high risk of experiencing shocks, burns, breathing difficulties, fires, and explosions.
When emergencies like these occur, the ability to instantly activate a duress alarm and receive assistance can have an impact on the employee’s safety. Not all situations progress to emergencies, and more frequently when employees work alone they experience a near-miss or incident.
When near-misses or incidents occur or lone workers discover hazards, they can use the SHEQSY app to seamlessly send reports, accompanied by photos and videos, to their managers in real-time. That way, managers can use the information to create reports and conduct safety audits to help eliminate and mitigate future hazards.
SHEQSY app in-progress screen
4. Working at heights
Service and installation technicians, painters, and plumbers are examples of lone workers who work at dangerous heights. Employees who use ladders or work from other heights are at risk of falling and seriously injuring themselves. But if a lone worker falls down, nobody is nearby to help. If the lone worker is unconscious or too injured to move, it may be difficult or impossible to call for emergency assistance - and the consequences could be severe.
SHEQSY’s lone worker safety app pairs with a Bluetooth wearable that features man-down technology and detects when an employee falls down, activating their duress alarm automatically.
5. Working with dangerous equipment
Construction, forestry, and factory workers are all examples of employees who may work alone or out of sight and earshot while operating hazardous machinery. And of course, working with dangerous equipment can lead to serious injuries and incidents. Here is a useful fact sheet prepared by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety about working alone.
To help safeguard against common lone worker hazards, employers can use SHEQSY to conduct safe work questionnaires before starting work. Through the SHEQSY app, employees can fill out customized forms and answer questions including:
- “Are you wearing the appropriate PPE?”
- “Did you complete safety checks of the equipment?”
- “Do you have access to appropriate emergency and first aid equipment?”
- “Are there any injury concerns?”
Lone workers’ form responses instantly upload to the SHEQSY Dashboard so that managers can view them in real-time and stay informed.
6. Working in confined spaces
Lone workers who need to enter tight, narrow, or enclosed spaces - such as storage tanks, elevator shafts, pipes, sewers, ducts, and silos - can get stuck, drown, become disorientated, experience oxygen deprivation or panic attacks, be exposed to unsafe levels of airborne contaminants or chemicals, or be engulfed by different substances. The ability to quickly and easily call for emergency assistance and provide precise location information is critical in these situations.
With SHEQSY, lone workers receive assistance 24/7, wherever they are. Organizations can be notified of the emergency via email, text message, and automated phone call, or use SHEQSY’s 24/7 monitoring center to verify the duress event, activate the agreed response processes, and send help to the employee’s specific location.
7. Experiencing a sudden health issue or injury
As they work alone, employees are at risk if they experience a sudden health issue or injure themselves. Specific job roles and employees may be more at risk than others.
For example, a night-shift security guard can slip, fall down a set of stairs, and break a leg; a field technician can have a heart attack; and a land surveyor working in a hot, rural area can suffer from a heat stroke.
With SHEQSY, even if an emergency occurs outside of mobile coverage or normal working hours, lone workers are protected. SHEQSY activities run in the cloud and at a device level, ensuring that an alert is still raised even if coverage is lost, the device is turned off or the battery goes flat. The SHEQSY solution integrates with handheld satellite devices for rural work areas and other environments where they are required.
Using a lone worker app to mitigate the 7 most common lone worker hazards
While it may not always be hazardous to work alone, it can be when other factors are present. The greatest danger posed to a lone worker is not working alone, but working without supervision from managers or other colleagues and without access to immediate emergency assistance.
In addition to working without backup support, the most common lone worker hazards are:
- Working in public
- Working at heights
- Working with electricity
- Working with dangerous equipment
- Working in confined spaces
- Experiencing a sudden health issue or injury
The best way to safeguard employees against the hazards of working alone is to deploy a lone worker solution.
SHEQSY safeguards employees in real-time while keeping managers informed.
Through the SHEQSY app, integrated Bluetooth wearables, and handheld satellite devices, employees are equipped with duress alarms, periodic check-ins, customizable pre-start forms, hazard reporting, and overtime alerts.
Meanwhile, organizations can monitor, manage, and report on lone workers seamlessly via the SHEQSY Dashboard; managers can visualize employees in real-time with activity countdown timers, manage duress events, configure activity types, schedule appointments, view historical activities, and generate reports.
SHEQSY minimizes the risks lone workers face while helping organizations meet their legislative obligations, manage and monitor productivity, reduce exposure to litigation and lost revenue, and keep detailed records of all lone worker activities.
Protect employees, save time, and be compliant with SHEQSY.
Trial SHEQSY today for free and see how easy it is to keep your lone workers safe. No credit cards or commitments are required.
Hays Bailey is the CEO & Founder of SHEQSY lone worker app. He has more than 10 years’ experience with GPS technologies and implementing these solutions for multinational corporations. Hays’ time working in the vehicle telematics industry helped him identify the risks faced by employees and the gaps in company safety processes when employees exit their vehicles to work alone. SHEQSY is the leading SaaS lone worker safety solution that protects employees in real-time. More information about SHEQSY can be found here.