Trends in … instruments and monitors

‘Tools for safety, not surveillance’

What’s most important for workers to know when it comes to instruments, monitors and other lone worker monitoring devices?

It’s that they’re “tools for safety, not surveillance,” says Laura Faust, product manager at Industrial Scientific Corp. “They aren’t intended to be ‘Big Brother,’ but rather they’re there to ensure workers’ well-being and enable them to return home safely each day.”

TradeSafe Vice President Herbert Post said he’s often asked, “How should we handle employees who may complain about being spied on or not trusted with these lone worker devices?”

His advice: Maintain the safety aspects of the monitoring system.

“We usually advise reinforcing the safety benefits and educational aspects of these initiatives. It’s also a good opportunity for training, especially when new products are being tested or required, to remind employees of the true objective behind the new initiative and to explain well the employer’s responsibilities under OSHA.”

Added Ashley Easterwood, who does marketing for ION Science: “A key factor for successful implementation … is a combination of training, practice and a positive safety culture.”

Workers need to understand the employer’s commitment to data privacy as well, says Anil Uzengi, co-founder and CEO of Stroma. This emphasis, she says, will encourage “a culture of safety that includes these technologies.”


Another common topic mentioned by the respondents was how often they’re asked about the reliability of the devices.

Faust offered this advice: “Familiarize yourself with your operational landscape – know where your workers go and the risks they face. Then, test solutions in real-life scenarios. Look for devices offering both cellular and satellite connectivity to ensure continual coverage, even for remote areas. Verify emergency alarms are prompt and informative, providing details on the who, what and where of an alarm. Conduct head-to-head tests to measure sensor response time and accuracy.”

Added Morgan Morris, vice president of marketing at CO2Meter: “Workers need to take appropriate precautions if they do not fully understand the potential risks.”

Faust noted: “When safety is on the line, reliable equipment is not just beneficial – it’s essential.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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