The Uber driver who picks us up in a non-descript sedan. The Dasher who delivers dinner to our door. The home nurse who checks in on our mother. These represent just a fraction of the lone workers who face threats when they venture beyond the relative safety of a physical place of employment to earn a living. Likewise, there are numerous devices available to protect remote employees by notifying others when they are injured or in danger. Which device a company chooses to protect their employees depends upon the type of work their people do. Employees performing tasks with high physical risk, such as tree surgeons or electricians, might benefit from a device that activates when there is a lack of movement. Those working with hazardous materials might require a device that detects such materials and warns both the worker and those responsible for them before levels become hazardous. Others might want the option to send a notification at their discretion when they perceive a threat.
There are a few common requirements regardless the circumstances:
Immediate Notification is Essential
A worker in distress needs immediate help. The faster information can be delivered to first responders the better, so systems that can automatically notify those in a position to respond directly to the worker in need are often preferable to those that go to a supervisor or a call center.
The Worker’s Duress Must be Anticipated
Different jobs present different threats, often demanding different trigger events. Employers must therefore anticipate how best to protect their employees. Even if a device can be triggered automatically due to environmental conditions or inactivity, there must be a way for the lone worker to trigger it without fumbling to locate an app or button.
Location is Essential
Lone workers, by their very nature, are often mobile. Most personal emergency devices offer some form of geo location. Some not only give the location at the time the device is triggered, but also offer updates or real-time mapping in the event the victim is moving, which may occur if the victim seeks help or, more troubling, while being abducted.
It Must Work
An emergency is no time for faulty batteries or a poor connection. Furthermore, the right message must be delivered clearly and quickly to the correct person. A reliable power supply and dependable connectivity under circumstances a lone worker is likely to encounter are a must.
The Bottom Line
People are an organization’s most valuable asset and must be treated as such. The tools we use to protect workers whenever and wherever they are working alone must be chosen with at least as much care and due diligence as those used to protect product and property. In an era where worker shortages are the norm, employers owe it to themselves as well as their employees to do all they can to keep workers safe and protected.