As technology is rapidly advancing, health and safety challenges are increasingly being solved with the assistance of smartphone apps. From providing quick information on the go to reliable monitoring, the ability for smartphones to harness new technologies allows businesses to access low cost, effective safety solutions.
For those working alone, this is particularly valuable as support from colleagues is not always readily available. Yet with 85% of adults in the UK owning a smartphone, support from a mobile device is.
So, in what ways can advancements in mobile technology, aid the safety of lone workers?
Reliable lone worker monitoring
For businesses employing lone workers, perhaps the greatest safety challenge is knowing whether their workforce is safe. Should a lone worker suffer an accident such as a fall, or find themselves in a confrontation, they do not have the support of a colleague to provide medical assistance or to help defuse the situation.
While being equipped with a mobile phone allows the lone worker to call for help, there are situations where even this may not be possible. The lone worker may be knocked unconscious, their phone out of reach or they may not want to aggravate an aggressor.
Fortunately, mobile technology provides an answer to each of these challenges. StaySafe has been designed specifically for lone workers, and utilises each of these features;
– GPS tracking allows assistance to be sent straight to a lone worker if an alert is raised. This is particularly useful for those working on a large work site or for those whose schedules can change last minute
– Timed-sessions ensure lone workers are only tracked and monitored for the periods they are working alone. A session that is not safely closed will also trigger a session expiry alert
– Check-ins provide supervisors with a regular update without the manual and often time-consuming process of messaging or calling individual employees throughout the day
– Non-movement or fall detection capabilities within mobile devices will detect a potential accident and trigger an alert
– Discreet panic ensures the lone worker has a way to signal for help without aggravating a volatile situation
– A Duress PIN can be used to send an alert while appearing as if the app has been closed when faced with an aggressor
– Low signal mode ensures the app operates effectively even when a data connection can not be made by the phone
Risk assessment on the go
When working alone or in situations where communication with a colleague is not possible, there are apps that help you assess risk and carry out work safely.
Basic risk assessment apps allow you to log known hazards and access information on how to mitigate the identified risk. More advanced apps will provide an in-depth assessment of a particular risk. For example, LiftRight is an app that is able to calculate Recommended Weight Limit when carrying out manual handling tasks.
Communication and wellbeing
Another challenge of working alone is managing employee wellbeing. Remote and lone workers miss out on a number of factors that benefit their mental health such as colleague interaction and physical support.
Mobile technology allows for virtual communities where lone workers can interact via messaging, video and collaboration tools so that the social element of work life can be retained. There are a wide range of communication tools available on the market, from social media apps like WhatsApp to apps specifically designed for business such as Workspace by Facebook or Slack.
The benefits of utilising safety apps
With so much functionality available on our smartphones, it is understandable why more and more businesses are turning to apps to improve workplace safety. Yet mobile apps also offer additional benefits such as;
Most people carry their mobile phones with them everywhere they go and would not leave the house without them. Lone worker apps do not rely on employees having to remember a separate device, or even to keep it charged.
Easy to roll out
Apps can be downloaded straight onto the user’s phone. With very few resources required, roll out can take as little as one day.
Always up to date
Another great feature of apps is the ability to be developed remotely. When operating systems roll out updates, apps can utilise any new technology and provide updates of their own. And all the user is required to do is update the app on their phone.
Actions can be performed on apps in a matter of clicks. If the app has been designed for a user-friendly experience, using a mobile app in place of manual tasks can save an incredible amount of time.
Because apps do not require any equipment, the cost is low for the business. The cost of running apps is also low as most apps are designed to use very little data. Plus, there are no additional costs or downtime due to breakage and servicing.
Mobile apps are undoubtedly evolving the workplace, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and safely – whether they are used to create a community amongst remote workers or to overcome lone worker safety challenges.
And as technology continues to develop and offer additional functionality, existing and new apps continue to evolve into the marketplace. As a company consistently utilising the latest tech developments to improve our own lone worker app, at StaySafe we are incredibly excited to see what the future of mobile technologies will bring.