What Is a Lone Worker App?
An employee working alone still needs some type of oversight – this could mean checking in once in a while, or being consistently tracked, it’s dependant on the employer and type of work. A lone worker app is important for workplace efficiency, as well as the health and safety of all your employees. Depending on your location, a lone worker risk assessment might be required by law. This is the case in the UK. In the US, according to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News there are no country-wide lone worker safety laws and it’s regulated at the local level. You can check out Lumiform’s article on how to perform an effective health and safety risk assessment for some pointers to get you started.
The best free lone worker app for you depends on your industry and the types of risks your employees face. Most lone worker apps include features such as:
- Available as an ios or android app to integrate with existing hardware
- Can track an employee’s workflow
- Cloud-based, so that it works even if the cellphone network is down or there’s no signal
- A panic button for use during emergencies
- Automatic check-in procedures
What Is a Lone Worker?
A lone worker is an employee working in isolation away from direct supervision and other employees. They might be working late at the office, their shifts might cover nights and weekends, such as cleaners and security staff, or they might be working alone while a coworker takes a break. People who work from home also come under the lone worker heading. Workers in many industries work alone with the public, like home care nurses in the healthcare industry or cashiers at convenience stores. Traveling workers in industries such as maintenance and repair, construction, transport, utilities, and agriculture can all benefit from a lone worker safety app.
Why Use a Lone Worker App?
A lone worker app looks after your company’s interests in a number of ways. First, It helps maintain discipline among your employees, even if you can’t supervise them directly. You can track their work progress and make sure they’re properly following company SOPs. Second, it helps streamline communication when your workforce is spread out and reporting to each other in person isn’t possible. Third, it helps keep workers safe and fulfills the employer’s duty of care. An employee working alone is still covered by all applicable health-and-safety rules and worker’s compensation regulations. Lone worker apps are usually outfitted with a panic button that a worker can press in the event of an emergency, which automatically gets in touch with a safety manager or emergency response services.
A lone worker safety app can be vital for your business, as it can help you and your employees:
- Avoid accidents stemming from incorrect work practices
- Prevent severe accidents by promoting proper emergency response procedures
- Stop potentially serious incidents from escalating by quickly calling emergency services
- Counteract the potential buildup of complacency among your lone workers
- Create a culture of health and safety in the workplace
- Increase health, peace of mind, and productivity
- Fulfill your legal duties towards your employees
- Decrease financial costs from accidents, incidents, and lost work
What Are the Risks of Working Alone?
The OSHA General Duty Clause states that employers must provide a safe workplace free of dangerous work-safety hazards. These hazards might include things like:
- Industrial accidents
- Environment-related injuries, such a heat stroke or frostbite
- Traffic accidents
- Medical incidents, such as heart attack or stroke
- Workplace violence, including verbal abuse, assault, and sexual harrassment
- Violence coming from the public, like robberies and assaults
OSHA reports that delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel, those who handle money with the public, and those who work alone or in small groups are among those at the highest risk for workplace violence.
Lumiform’s Lone Working Hazards checklist can be a great help in accounting for all the potential dangers your employees might face.
Lone workers in general are often at a greater risk, since there’s no one around to call for help or assist them in case of an emergency. This vulnerability can lead to workplace stress, injury, loss of productivity, and high staff turnover. A free lone worker app means that your employees always have someone to turn to in case of trouble. This means peace of mind – for them and for you.
How to Design a Lone Worker Safety App
The first step in designing a good lone worker safety app involves conducting a risk assessment, which identifies and evaluates the risks inherent in the role the employee fulfills. Lumiform has a variety of lone worker risk assessment templates to help you.
Once the risk assessment has been completed, lone workers need to be trained to face those risks. They should be able to conduct their own dynamic risk assessments in the field. This means the ability to observe and evaluate the environment, assess potential dangers that may come up, and make plans to deal with situations as they arise. This training should include things like:
- How to use the lone worker app
- Situational awareness
- De-escalation of verbal and physical conflicts
- Active shooter training where necessary
- Emergency response tailored to the type of emergency
With the proper training and the help of a free lone worker app, you and your employees can enjoy a safer and more productive working environment.
Why Do You Need a Lone Worker App?
If your business employs even one lone worker, or your employees might be working alone or remotely, then you need a lone worker app. Lone workers are often at much higher risk, especially when they’re handling money. Whether you have a cashier working alone at a retail center, or an employee depositing the day’s receipts after work, a lone working app can help you keep a close eye on your business interests as well as look after the safety of your employees.
Even if your lone workers aren’t handling money, a lone working app can make sure that they’re doing everything expected of them and not missing crucial steps. A lone worker app is particularly beneficial in case of an emergency as you can be notified instantly when something happens and monitor situations as they evolve. All in all, a lone working app is a valuable addition to any business.