SureSafe offers a range of lone worker devices designed to keep lone workers, or ‘at risk’ workers, safe. SureSafe offers tailored solutions to fit both your employees risk needs, as well as fit your organisation's operational needs. SureSafe allows employees to call for help in an emergency, tracks their location via GPS in case they get into any difficulty, can detect falls should employees have an accident, and helps you satisfy your workplace health and safety requirements.
What should a personal alarm be used for in lone working?Article by Daniel Westhead
When lone working, there are many potential dangers that can occur. From slips and falls to criminal activity, it is important to be prepared for any situation.
A personal alarm or other lone worker device can be a valuable piece of lone working equipment, providing peace of mind in case of an emergency for your staff and ensuring that you meet your obligations as an employer of lone workers.
There are many situations in which it will be beneficial for a lone worker to have immediate access to help should they need it, and we explore how a personal alarm can be used in lone working.
Lone working devices
If you are responsible for lone workers, it is important to choose the right type of lone working device to meet their needs. Personal alarms are a vital piece of lone working equipment and can be used in a variety of ways to keep lone workers safe.
Lone working devices come in a variety of forms, from simple panic buttons to more sophisticated lone worker alarms with GPS tracking. The type of lone working device you choose will depend on the risks inherent in your work environment and the needs of your employees.
If you have a diverse remote workforce who face different types of hazards, you may wish to use different types of personal alarms depending on your employee’s specific risk profiles.
Remote panic alarm
Panic alarms are often used for lone workers who regularly work off-site or are based in a location with others but are often unsupervised. A remote panic alarm works by the lone worker wearing a button or pendant, which when pressed will send a signal to a designated person or monitoring centre. The lone worker can then explain the situation and help can be sent if necessary. If the lone worker cannot talk and explain the situation then the respondent will still know that the person has called for help, and can take the appropriate steps.
More advanced alarms may include features such as automatic fall detection, which means that, even if the staff member is unable to call for help themselves, the alarm will still be raised should the button detect a fall.
Most people are familiar with GPS tracking devices in the form of navigation systems for cars. However, GPS tracking can also be used to monitor the whereabouts of lone workers, such as those in the construction or security industries.
These devices typically take the form of a wearable piece of technology that can be worn on the wrist or around the neck. The GPS unit then transmits the worker's location to a central monitoring station, or to colleagues, should they call for help. The monitoring station or colleague can view the lone worker's location on a map in real-time.
This allows employers to quickly locate workers who may be in danger or who they are concerned about having not heard from them for a while. Some lone worker alarms with GPS tracking allow the employer to call the lone worker on their pendant or wristband. As such, GPS tracking lone worker devices can provide a valuable tool for ensuring both safety and security.
Lone workers who can benefit from personal alarms
There are a variety of lone workers who can benefit from personal alarms; however, some specific job roles can carry more specific risks.
Healthcare workers, in particular, often have to work in close proximity to patients who may pose a danger to them, particularly if they work with patients with complex mental health needs or dementia-related illnesses.
Security guards also often must deal with potential threats, and their job requires them to be alert at all times. Even those who don’t work alone can be at risk if they are in a role where violence may be an issue.
Night workers are also at risk of being attacked or harmed while they are working alone. Personal alarms can provide these lone workers with an extra level of protection by allowing them to raise the alarm if they are attacked or feel threatened. And by providing them with these tools, you will make your workers feel more valued, and therefore be likely to retain them for longer.
Additionally, if you have lone workers who have any type of complex medical needs, a personal alarm can be used to summon help if they fall ill suddenly.
Some lone workers may work with hazardous materials that require the wearing of personal protective equipment. In these cases, it is often difficult to access a phone or other device in an emergency. A lone working alarm can be worn on a lanyard around the neck or as a wristwatch, making calling for help easy and accessible. It also enables them to warn others if there is a hazard. Fall detection mentioned earlier is a very important feature for people who work with hazardous materials. Working with and being exposed to chemicals for example could result in a person unexpectedly losing consciousness, and a fall detector would help them here.
Lone working in an office
While it’s easy to call to mind those who work remotely as being in need of a lone worker alarm, issues are still in evidence for office workers who often work alone.
In an era where more people are working remotely and offices are offering more flexible working hours, it’s not unusual for office workers to find themselves alone in the workplace.
An office worker can face many of the same risks as a lone worker in other environments, and a lone working device can provide them with the same protections.
In fact, an office may be a more likely place for an incident to occur than most people think, as the office environment can include many unthought-of hazards such as loose wires or slippery floors that can result in an accident. Office-based lone workers who have existing medical conditions also need to be considered for lone worker alarms. If someone with epilepsy, a history of falls or seizures, or any other significant medical condition should have a medical episode while working alone then there would be no one else there to help them. As an employer, you still have a responsibility for their safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
Workplace panic buttons
Office panic buttons can be beneficial for a number of reasons. They can be used to summon help in the event of an emergency, raise the alarm if there is a potential threat, and they can also provide peace of mind for lone workers in a building.
Many panic buttons and personal alarms are designed to be used to discretely call for help, which is especially helpful in volatile situations or environments. For example, if a robbery is in place, or a customer is at risk of becoming violent. By raising the alarm quietly, the worker can know that help is on its way without escalating the immediate situation.
Situations where a lone worker alarm can be beneficial:
Working with volatile service users
For those who are likely to encounter violence or aggression in their line of work, lone worker alarms provide an extra layer of security both in terms of providing a visible deterrent for those who may be aggressive, but also by ensuring that help can be on its way should a situation escalate.
Working alone in high-risk areas
For staff that works alone in high-risk areas, an alarm can give a further level of safety.
For people that work alone in high-risk areas, lone worker alarms provide an extra level of safety. If you are working in a high-risk area and something happens, having a lone worker alarm will ensure that help is on its way. By having an alarm, not only are they protected if something goes wrong, but they can also warn other workers of the hazard
How lone worker alarms can be monitored
At SureSafe, we offer a range of options for monitoring your lone workers, which can be tailored to suit your needs and budget.
Our 24/7 monitored alarms give you total peace of mind that, should anyone on your team have an issue, someone is there to help them any time of the night or day. Our monitoring centre teams are experienced in working with lone workers and understand some of the unique challenges they may face, so can ensure that they make the right decisions and call for the right help in any given situation.
For businesses who want to reduce costs and have robust systems in place, our alarms can be linked to your own monitoring service, internal staff or you can specify up to three emergency contacts for your alarm holder. This can be a cost-effective yet very effective lone worker safety solution.
Call SureSafe's team of Lone Working experts on 0800 112 3201 to learn more about how you can help keep your team safe when at work.