Trends in ... lone workers/wearables

‘The power to transform an organization’s safety program’

Reprints

A worker is considered “alone” on the job when he or she cannot be seen or heard by another person, according to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. “Monitoring workers remotely can save lives through improved emergency response times,” said Christopher Munnelly, director of connected worker for Charlotte, NC-based Honeywell. “In industrial environments, initiating a quick response in seconds or minutes can be critical to the success of a rescue mission.”

Here, Munnelly and Sean Stinson, vice president of sales and product management for Calgary, Alberta-based Blackline Safety, discuss the importance of lone worker safety devices and give their insights into this ever-changing field.

Connected to safety

Lone worker devices and connected safety wearables have evolved over the years to include gas detection capabilities and push-to-talk wireless communication features, Stinson noted. “These solutions are cloud-connected, and some are now supported by automated data analytics, a feature that has the power to transform an organization’s safety program by providing insight into equipment use, emergency response time and much more,” he said.

Munnelly pointed out that recent innovations include improved connectivity, enhanced software and better integration into existing hardware. “Specifically, we’re seeing cloud-connected, real-time wearables being integrated seamlessly into such [personal protective equipment] as fall harnesses and footwear,” he said.

Cost concerns

Stinson acknowledged that finding a balance between the performance of connected safety solutions and cost is a reality for any business. However, “many lone worker and connected safety wearables are available for an affordable price, some starting at only $2 a day – about the cost of one cup of coffee,” he said. “While there are some lower-cost mobile apps for smartphones, they are often appropriate only for low-risk scenarios, providing a limited feature set and little automatic detection capability.”

Coming up

Munnelly noted that customers are becoming more open to innovation, as long as they have real-world benefits. “Improved connectivity, data capture and software analytics are on the horizon – all working in unison to increase business performance,” he said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Hearing protection
  • Respiratory protection

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)