A lone worker alarm is a system that’s used by people working alone to signal when they experience an emergency. The alarm can come in a variety of different forms, which includes wearable devices and smartphones. Lone worker alarms are usually sent to a monitoring system that may be provided either by the employer or emergency services.
Lone worker systems in the form of apps tend to be most popular due to the ease of adoption and their practicality. While they carry other risks (reliability and phone battery, etc.) they can be a great way to protect workers from threats of working alone.
Other apps actually have a ‘duress alarm system’ and are ideal for instances when an employee may be forced to close an alarm. A false pin is typically provided that gives the illusion of the alarm being stopped; when it is actually kept running silently.
Here are some of the key features to look for in a lone worker app:
– A discreet alert system
– Check-in prompts and missed check-in alerts
– Low battery alerts
– Fixed panic alarms
– Built-in GPS tracking
The features above help cover a wide range of different hazards that lone workers are likely to face during the course of their duties.
What Are the Different Types of Lone Worker Alarms?
Different industries require slightly different approaches and there are also different personal safety alarms that have alternative functions aimed at protecting lone workers.
Duress Alarm: Used by Workers Confronted by an Attacker
Duress alarms are some of the most popular and are useful in situations when lone workers are confronted by an attacker or someone that’s exhibiting threatening behavior.
Man-Down Alarm: Used for Detecting Medical Emergencies
The main use of a man-down alarm is to send a notification when somebody is experiencing a medical emergency or has collapsed.
Panic Alarm: Used when a Sudden Incident Results in Panic
Panic alarms are usually easily accessible and visible. They are typically used when a sudden incident causes instant panic in a worker.
Discreet Panic Alarm: Used for Sending an Alert Without an Audible Alarm
A discreet panic alarm is typically used when a worker feels panicked and threatened but doesn’t want to escalate the situation by initiating a loud alarm.
Lone Worker Safety Tips
Here are some good tips to monitor and ensure the safety of workers.
Select a Monitor
Select one of your employees to monitor your lone workers. The employee responds to missed check ins and emergencies. Have a backup for your contact person, especially if you only have one contact person.
Or use Live Monitoring to monitor your lone workers throughout the day. A call center will respond to emergencies.
Create a monitoring plan for monitoring your lone workers. The plan should describe the movements of your lone workers. It can, therefore, help you know when you should monitor your lone workers.
Determine Check In Intervals
Ask your lone workers to check in regularly. If one of your lone workers misses a check in, alert their monitor to ensure there are no problems. You need to consider their working situation before determining their check in intervals. For instance, if their working situation is dangerous, the interval can be 30 to a few hours. You can use a lone worker app to manage check ins.
Creating a code word can help you identify your remote worker. In case someone attacks your lone worker, your lone worker can follow your procedure.
Having an escalation procedure can help your lone workers report an injury. You will also know what to do when your lone worker does not check in.
Know the Location of Your Lone Workers
If your lone workers are constantly in transit or traveling to the worksite, you must know their location. You can use a lone worker app with GPS to track the location of your lone workers.
How Are Lone Workers at Risk?
Part of the risk associated with operating alone is the lack of supervision and help that can be provided in case of an accident. If a worker unfortunately comes in harm’s way, the lack of a speedy response may be fatal. Furthermore, the need to make instant safety decisions sometimes without another person’s input can raise an additional risk to lone working.
With many people also facing lone working as the ‘new normal’, workers are facing a constantly changing situation and for many, it will be their first experience working alone. It’s in situations such as these where lone worker alarms help in managing some of the risks.
What Are the Benefits of Lone Worker Alarms?
Lone worker alarms have some natural benefits, which include the general reduction in response times to both minor and major incidents concerning lone workers. They are especially useful in environments where lone workers face a greater risk of slip and fall accidents.
In some instances, lone worker alarm systems are also designed so that they are activated if a worker is either knocked unconscious or impaired. The partial removal of the ‘human error’ variable associated with lone worker alarms helps in increasing their overall effectiveness.