How a Lone Worker App and Wearable Protects Your Workers
To apply the same health and safety standards to lone workers, Australian employers can utilise a lone worker app and wearable device to monitor their isolated workers.
Employers have always held a certain responsibility for the safety of their employees. More recently, of course, laws extend that same responsibility to lone workers. Thankfully, new technology can help you keep your workers safe and meet the standards of Australia’s WHS regulations. A lone worker app and wearable, paired with monitoring, protects your workers.
Who qualifies as a lone worker?
A lone worker is anyone who workers in isolation away from other employees. That doesn’t always mean they’re away from their place of business. For example, a late-night worker at a convenience store is a lone worker. Even if other people are nearby, if the worker is the only employee around, they still qualify as a lone worker. Under that definition, a real estate agent out on the job, showing off a property is a lone worker. So is janitorial staff cleaning a building by themselves, both during the day or at night.
As an employer in Australia, you’re required to provide all your staff with the same standard of health and safety regardless of where they work. In most cases, this includes safety at the place of business. Maintaining factory standards, risk procedures, and access to restrooms all come to mind. But what about for lone workers? Obviously, you can’t always offer the same accommodation. By the very nature of being alone, or potentially outside your place of work, they’ll run into unplanned situations.
A large part of Australia's WHS regulations require monitoring your lone workers. You can't control every situation they'll face. But you can arm yourself with information about their wellbeing. You can make it easy for them to communicate back to you when they feel unsafe.
Using a Lone Worker App and Wearables to Protect Workers
In the past, companies monitored lone workers in different ways. An age-old solution was the buddy system. You assign employees to regularly check-in on each other. That doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Some employers use phone calls, requiring check-ins at prescribed times or intervals. Or they might provide a designated hotline to call in unsafe situations.
A better way makes use of the technology your workers already carry, like their phone. A lone worker app makes use of the data a phone immediately provides. Think location via GPS, video and audio recording, messaging, emergency alerts, and a connection to a broad network of people. Additionally, companies can still require check-ins, but in a more efficient and user-friendly way.
Wearable technology goes another step further in protecting your workers. For instance, a watch is a discrete tool a worker can wear and activate without drawing attention. Innovative technology enables a watch to also act as a camera and recording device. This better captures the situation and allows you to monitor with more accuracy.
How does a Lone Worker App Work?
A lone worker app has a dual application. On one hand, it gives the employee a way to notify their employer of unsafe situations or other duress. And on the other hand, it lets employers monitor and run risk procedures. The app is a centre point for a holistic system of safety and monitoring. It’s easiest to understand the app in the context of an unsafe situation.
Let’s imagine a nurse is out on a house call when they begin to feel unsafe. Perhaps the patient becomes hostile, or something unexpected happens. Either way, your employee feels at risk. They activate the app or tap on their watch to raise an alert.
A team prepped with escalation procedures determined by your company receives the alert. The app or the watch stream video and audio to give the team more context. They assess the situation and determine the appropriate response. At the same time, someone on your team, a risk manager or safety officer, also learns of what is happening through the lone worker app. After assessing the situation, the team can notify emergency contacts or dispatch emergency services to your employee's location.
Peace of Mind for Everyone
The benefit of a lone worker app or wearable is twofold. First, your employees feel connected back to you and other emergency contacts. They have the peace of mind to go out on their own knowing help is only a tap away. Second, as an employer, you’re following Australia's regulations that protect your employees. You avoid costly financial penalties that often come if you fail to meet safety standards.
A lone worker app helps you keep a record of incidents. Over time, you adapt better procedures and operate in a way that continually minimises risk and reduces compliance costs. You also save money on manual monitoring solutions by handing that task off to a professional team. All the while, you maintain visibility across your entire company.