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Solving Incidents and Issues of Isolation in the Workplace

In this post we outline how you can protect all your staff, even your isolated home workers, from incidents and isolation, using affordable technology.

When it comes to protecting staff, companies tend to take a reactive or ‘must do’ approach, unfortunately. In the case of their lone workers, they have to provide and demonstrate a duty of care to comply with prevailing legislation. They have to do risk assessments and put in place minimum procedures for checking on staff and responding if there’s a problem.

All this tends to focus on the headline-grabbing areas, namely accidents in the workplace and working in vulnerable or dangerous conditions. These are the stories, and the big fines for non-compliance or negligence, that attract the media attention. In two previous posts we moved away from the ‘kapow!’-style subjects of accidents, vulnerability and danger, and explored issues that are less extreme but much more common. These are the issues of ‘incidents’ like sudden illness and ‘isolation’ for people who work in small office or home office ('SOHO') situations.

Are we making a case that you should be protecting your isolated workers as well as your isolated, vulnerable workers? Yes we are. Are we in fact also making the case that you should be protecting and equipping all your staff - lone workers, home workers and non-isolated staff - to be constantly protected against incidents in their workplace? Again, yes.

“But that’s simply not affordable! We’d never have the budget for that, we could never make it work financially.” That’s where you’d be mistaken. Innovation and developments in technology now make it possible for you to deliver complete monitoring, alerting and communications peace of mind for all of your staff, for a tiny fraction of the costs of traditional lone worker solutions.

The answer lies in automation, and allowing proven software to take care of the processes and communications, at a fraction of the cost and with more accuracy than the human element.

This is how it works. Your lone workers may already have dedicated devices for their specific job roles and environment. The vast majority of your other staff, your office or facility staff, your reps, your home workers, use smartphones. With the use of apps installed onto smartphones, linked to messaging software which relays all the monitoring, alerting and comms messages, you give everyone the ability to stay connected, stay safe and stay responsive. The apps and software can be very affordable.

Apps can fulfil a wide range of functions, including timed check-in, SOS alerting, ‘man down’ activation and push-to-talk communications. The apps can also make use of the smartphones’ existing capabilities, for example pinpointing a user’s location, and using SMS, wifi data, mobile data and voice to make sure that critical communications get through, to multiple people if need be, in a matter of a few seconds.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment with a couple of different scenarios. First, what happens if I drop my phone and set off the ‘man down’ alert? Won’t that trigger a bunch of alarms and people? If you drop your phone you can pick it up and deactivate the alarm to get people to stand down. If you drop it where you can’t get to it, you can call in via another means to tell people not to worry. If you’ve had a heart attack or fainted, causing you to drop the phone, you’ll be glad you have the feature.

Second, what if I see a small fire in the corner of the warehouse, or spot an intruder, or see that Charlie may be in difficulty, or see a scuffle developing in the canteen? You can use your smartphone to raise the alarm instantly – using an alarm button if you want to remain unobtrusive – and depending on the type of alarm your organisation can respond appropriately with the right people.

These scenarios apply equally well if you’re in the factory, the home office, or on the road. You have the ability, using the phone you carry with you anyway, to send for help to multiple people, across multiple communication methods, at the same time, at the touch of a button.

Cost-effective coverage for your entire organisation is within reach. Some apps are either free or very reasonably priced, and the organisation typically pays for a single instance of the messaging and data transfer ‘engine’ that connects to all devices and does all the work behind the scenes.

Talk to us about how you can protect your entire organisation effectively and affordably, or to get a quote tailored to your specific requirements.

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