Whether your employees telecommute occasionally or permanently, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this…
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Increasing Safety For Mobile Workers
But when employees are not operating in an office or controlled environment, it is a challenge for businesses to manage risks that workers may encounter. And it is difficult to know when a worker needs emergency assistance. Thus, the need for new safety protocols and new technologies to ensure the safety of mobile workers is necessary.
Aside from proper training in safety procedures, mobile workers also require the right tools to request and receive help in an emergency situation. Our ever-present cell phones and smartphones will not suffice – these devices can be limited in emergency situations as they are vulnerable to poor reception and may not be within reach to operate.
For example, a cell phone is not able to detect when someone has slipped and fallen, or caught a limb in a piece of machinery. Cell phones require a user that is conscious and within range of the phone to make a call for help.
And when it comes to tracking and monitoring the safety and health of mobile workers and lone workers, cell phones are not the most reliable and may lack the necessary features and functions. In addition, if a lone worker is confronted by a hostile third party, the cell phone is often the first item taken.
Unlike traditional cell phones or smartphones, wearables or wearable devices can automatically report changes that would indicate an emergency. Because these devices are easily worn, they could easily dispatch an emergency call as needed, without having to speak or make much movement.
Smart hard hats, smart safety vests, smart eyewear, and even stick-on patches already exist and can monitor employee location, body temperature, and even positioning. While they eliminate the need for a worker to proactively report an emergency, they have their limitations as well.
For example, in an emergency, the devices are able to relay certain information about a situation to a manager or the human resources department. They do not, however, create a direct line of communication between the worker and the responder. The worker would still need to place a call on the phone.
Personal Emergency Response Devices
These may be a better option and are similar to those used by seniors. Essentially, these are help buttons that you can wear and can be pressed to alert emergency responders that assistance is needed. Before, they needed a base station device to place calls, which limited their range of use. Thanks to advanced technology, the base stations are no longer necessary making them much more convenient and functional. Much like wearables, these devices are small, lightweight, and provide location technologies as well as built-in fall advisory capabilities.
Personal emergency response devices allow workers to trigger the call for help automatically rather than having to initiate a call. Cloud-based technologies make it possible for supervisors and managers to respond immediately.
These devices also boast a long battery life since they have fewer functions than phones and do not need to be fully functional all the time. They need not be worn all the time and can be placed in hibernation mode until the SOS button is pressed. When this happens, location information can be sent to a central reporting destination and an emergency call can be placed. Depending on the configuration and use of the device, these may last up to a month on a single charge.
Regardless of the devices you employ for your remote workers, it is important that business owners take advantage of the new technologies that can improve the safety and health of their lone workers and mobile employees.