Not all lone workers are the same. Some are exposed to greater risks. Others operate in environments with a very specific set of risks. Many occupy a public-facing role that involves a different kind of threat to those that work in isolation.
Consequently, you must tailor your choice of lone worker safety solution to the needs of the individual using it.
To understand the challenges your employees face on a daily basis, it’s necessary to carry out a full risk assessment – we’ve created a full lone worker risk assessment checklist if you need it. An interview with the employee in question will also help you to establish what risks the individual is exposed to and what type of technology will help mitigate them.
More than anything, it’s important not to fall into the trap of opting for a one-size-fits-all solution. While different roles are likely to require different safety solutions, you may also find that different individuals operating in the same role require different solutions.
Lone worker solutions shouldn’t just meet minimum security standards, they should make an employee feel safe, secure and confident. A particular device might inspire confidence in one individual, but prove unsatisfactory to another.
Environmental conditions often dictate the type of safety solution your employees will use. Is the employee working in a public-facing role or are they on their own? Will they be making house visits? Are they working in one location or multiple? Are they restricted to an urban centre or will they be travelling to rural areas?
Such considerations play an important role because they influence the type of features your employee will require. For instance, if an employee only ever works in a single location, the GPS tracking function included in the Shield Lone Worker Web App package is probably not required. This means the more basic Shield Mobile package would suffice.
Having carried out your risk assessment, you should be aware of any significant hazards that your lone workers face. Your understanding of the risks will also be enhanced by a face-to-face interview with the employee.
In some instances, the biggest threat to an employee might be a member of the public. However, it could also be equipment failure, dangerous substances (e.g. chemicals), or an individual in their care (e.g. a carer and their charge).
The nature of this risk should impact your decision. For instance, if an employee works at heights and the principal risk associated with the role is falling, the Shield Lone Worker Fob would be the best option, as it boasts automatic slip or fall detection. This means that the alarm is raised in the event of any slip or fall, even if the lone worker can’t raise the alarm themselves.
In some instances, one of the most important characteristics of an effective lone worker security device is that it’s discreet. Particularly important when individuals work closely with the public in private locations, such as the home or office, a discreet device allows the alarm to be raised without further endangering the lone worker.
While all of our security solutions can be activated discreetly, employees may prefer one over another. The working environment may also call for a specific solution. Though the Shield Mobile for Lone Workers requires a simple Hot Key dial, some employees might feel that having to access and use their mobile device just isn’t discreet enough.
In such a case, the Shield Lone Worker Fob would be an excellent replacement. Small, inconspicuous and easily concealed, the fob can be worn around the neck, hidden in a pocket or clipped on to your key ring.
If employees spend a long day out in the field, without access to charging points, battery life may become an issue. This can be particularly problematic if the lone worker solution is integrated into the employee’s own mobile device, as employees often need to use their mobile device for work. This means battery life is compromised by the device being dual-purpose.
If battery life is a serious concern, we would recommend opting for a device like the Shield Lone Worker Safety Fob. This solution includes improved battery life, limiting the likelihood of battery failure leaving your worker at risk. The fact that it’s a dedicated safety device also means that the battery isn’t run down through everyday use, as is possible with a multi-purpose mobile device.
While many lone worker roles will necessitate that the employee checks in at regular intervals, others may require greater protections. If employees are working alongside high-risk individuals or in particularly challenging environments, they may want additional reassurances.
The Shield Lone Worker Mobile App allows supervisors to check in on their employee’s status and to access voice memos or information that the employee has deposited. Knowing that a supervisor is checking-in regularly can give employees additional confidence.
However, for full two-way functionality, a device like the Shield Lone Worker Fob is the way to go. Not only does two-way audio and dial-in functionality allow the supervisor to listen in on the employee’s situation, but a vibration function also alerts the lone worker to the fact that their alarm has been received and is being responded to. This functionality can go a long way to restoring confidence and calm in extremely challenging situations.
In this article, we’ve tried to demonstrate that there’s a lone worker safety solution for every type of worker. However, we’ve also tried to emphasise the fact that the safety solution must be tailored to the individual’s specific circumstances. The six key considerations listed above should help you make an educated decision regarding the type of safety device your employee needs.