Product Focus 2019 Lone Worker Devices

Trends in ... lone worker devices

Training is key

If a worker becomes ill or experiences an injury on the job, chances are a co-worker or supervisor will see what’s going on and take action. Lone workers, however, don’t have the benefit of extra eyes on them. That’s why special safety considerations are needed to help keep lone workers safe.

Here, insiders from the lone worker safety field discuss new technologies and the importance of these products.

What’s new?

Lone worker devices have become more sophisticated in recent years and deliver more value to businesses, said Kirk Johnson, product manager for Calgary, Alberta-based Blackline Safety Corp. They’re also becoming more cross-functional. “In addition to detecting falls, man-down events and missed check-ins, these devices can incorporate messaging, two-way voice calling and push-to-talk that works like a walkie-talkie,” Johnson said. “These multifunction safety wearables can also feature gas detection, reducing the equipment workers wear at the jobsite.”

Avoiding mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes workers make with lone worker devices is not using them, said Dan Smith, director of sales and marketing for Fredonia, PA-based Grace Lone Worker. To help encourage use of these products, Smith recommends training. “Successfully implementing a lone worker program begins with educating the user that a lone worker device is no different than any of their existing [personal protective equipment],” he said.

Johnson also acknowledged that lone worker products require “conscientious use” and employee training. “For example, a man-down alert will trigger if a device is turned on and left unattended after a predetermined time period, causing a false alarm,” he said. “Still, the value of these products far outweighs minor adoption challenges related to training-related corrective actions.”

Ultimately, workers should feel confident when using lone worker devices so they can focus on their work. “This device should be easy to use and feature a simple, intuitive user interface,” Johnson said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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