Protecting the wellbeing of lone workers through innovative technologies

Advances and innovations in technology mean modern workers can carry out their duties anywhere at any time. Such new technologies also mean these modern workers will work by themselves, without the supervision of managers or company of colleagues, at some point during their workday, thus being considered lone workers. Employers are obligated to keep lone workers safe at all times.

There are many cases where workers might be working alone. For instance, take a scientist doing a night shift in a laboratory. There are obviously risks of different accidents in the laboratory, like needle-stick injuries. They could even be especially at higher risk when entering or leaving the premises, or if the work that they are carrying out is considered to be controversial. For technical and scientific tasks, one of the major considerations is restricting access to particular areas of the premises, for example near hazardous materials. The COSHH or Control of Substances Hazardous to Health in the UK legislation covers a number of materials utilised in this sector.

Another example could be workers in firms offering debt collection services. These workers will often work alone and facing distressed individuals. For example, lone workers in payments collection activities work with customers in high-risk situations. They are usually working out-of-sight of colleagues and there is a risk of clients becoming threatening and aggressive.

Another example: office workers like paralegals or consultancy staff, occasionally stay late in the office to finish projects. Employers need to understand the potential risks that these office workers face when exiting the premises or the building.

Some of the typical examples include a healthcare professional on a home visit, a maintenance worker on site or a truck driver – lone workers are a very common role in the labour forces of different industries. A lone worker is just a worker who carries out his or her duties in isolation, away from other colleagues. For lone workers, the risks of common workspace hazards are amplified because they are away from colleagues and supervisors. There are unique risks that require unique measures, attention and actions. Mobile apps and other technologies have become an ideal solution in tackling such challenges.

Employers must safeguard lone worker safety. The use of innovations and technologies can be the perfect solution in implementing these measures to safeguard their safety.

Apart from physically tracking the location of the worker, such apps allow for several methods of communication. Text and voice messages allow for easy contact between managers and lone workers at regular intervals.

Beyond methods of conventional communication, certain mobile applications such as a lone working app provide the ideal technology for dangerous scenarios. Location-based and manual emergency options allow for alerts to be shared back to managers and employers. These tools can be utilised as a call for help or to report an incident instantly. Lone workers are given a higher level of protection that they can access in a simple manner through their smartphones.

Thanks to innovations in technology dedicated to employee safety, supervisors are prioritising the safety of lone workers across several industries like never before. These are three common lone worker scenarios, and the safety solutions based on technology that can keep your lone workers safe.

Lone worker working remotely without mobile coverage: in remote places with limited connectivity, a safety solution needs to be able to switch seamlessly between cell and satellite connectivity.

Safety solutions based on technology for truck drivers: a mobile app is the most efficient way for truck drivers to make scheduled check-ins with dispatch managers, or even to request assistance or help.

Safety solutions based on technology for outdoor security: at times, mobile security providers move from place to place in order to protect different facilities and premises, as well as assets in urban or remote settings. They usually work alone and need to check in at regular intervals.

Sarah Williams
Sarah is a copywriter who lives in London. She is passionate about the online universe, and in her free time she enjoys reading Murakami, playing basketball and travelling as much as she can