Trends in ... lone worker devices

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Wearable devices and monitors provide an extra level of protection for lone workers – employees who often perform solo work at a location. Here, industry insiders share their thoughts on new technologies and how employers can help keep their workers safe.

What’s new

When discussing the importance of a lone worker device having a live monitoring team at the ready, Kirk Johnson, product manager for Calgary, Alberta-based Blackline Safety, stressed the need for employee feedback. “Two-way voice calling between the employee and the live monitoring team are new for industrial-grade lone worker monitoring solutions,” Johnson said, adding that two-way messaging makes it easy for a monitoring team to accurately assess a situation. “In the past few years, universal communications through cellular and satellite communications have solved the challenge of supporting workers both in populated areas and remote locations,” he said.

Dan Smith, director of sales and marketing at Fredonia, PA-based Grace Industries Inc., noted that, “GPS for outdoor locating, combined with indoor location beacons, are new technologies for locating a lone worker in distress.”

Good to know

Workers need to trust that they’re being successfully monitored at all times, Johnson said, adding that “it must be 100 percent clear to the employee that the live monitoring team is watching over him or her, preferably through a very clear and obvious light or on-screen indicator.”

However, misuse can occur. “One minor form of misuse ... relates to the potential for the employee to leave the device unattended. The risk here is a false alarm,” Johnson said.

So, how do employers find a system that works for their organization? “The success or failure of a system is all in how the system is managed, along with the expectations of the technology,” Smith said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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