Posts related to lone worker solutions.

Major threats faced by housing staff

Due to the varied nature of the workforce, employees within the housing sector are facing a growing number of large-scale threats which can affect both employee safety and business continuity. Employers have a duty of care to protect their workers, but this can prove challenging for large organisations with disparate staff.

Fires

Fires are a major concern for housing organisations such as associations and estate agents, particularly following the Grenfell Tower incident in 2017. The tragic incident which caused 72 deaths and injured over 70, due to a number of fire hazards present in the building. The exterior cladding was one such hazard and has found to be widely used in buildings around the world, creating a potential for similar incidents in the future.

This year, a building with the same cladding as Grenfell ignited in Melbourne, Australia and spanned 8 floors. Similar fires were also seen in Brazil, Dubai, Indonesia, Israel, and France in the past 4 years.

While the situations around Grenfell led to an extraordinarily high fatality rate, house fires are not uncommon. Recent statistics show that there were 19,656 reported fires in London alone in 2018, while 2% of all social renters experienced a fire in their homes in the year spanning 2016/17. Of this, 25 % were serious enough to require emergency response.

With housing employees spending much of their time in client’s homes, they are at risk of being caught up in fires while their employer is likely to be unaware of their location and whether they are able to evacuate the building safely.

Criminal activity

Criminal activity is also becoming more common during working hours and in public spaces, creating more opportunity for employees working within the community to be involved in an incident.

Employees travelling between appointments and meetings can easily be caught up in such incidents which are extremely unpredictable and have largely changed in nature to random attacks on busy streets.

Riots and protests are also a threat across many parts of the world and innocent bystanders can easily get caught up in clashes and violent attacks.

Locating & protecting your workforce

Housing organisations are rightly concerned about their employees being involved in an emergency situation, due to their unpredictable nature and ability to cause considerable panic and disruption, to staff, tenants and business continuity.

However, identifying which employees are affected by an incident and providing them with appropriate and timely assistance can prove incredibly challenging and costly. It is important that every organisation has a disaster management plan in place which is appropriately documented and distributed to employees so that they know how to keep themselves safe if caught up in an incident.

With large, disjointed workforces, having a tech-based solution in place that allows management to quickly locate employees during an incident, not only saves the business time and resources but could also help prevent employees from harm.

Locating your employees in an emergency

StaySafe has specifically-designed functionality to overcome common lone worker challenges faced in the housing sector and by local authorities.

The StaySafe lone worker app is linked to a secure cloudbased hub providing you with real-time updates on the welfare status of your lone workers. In an emergency, you can easily and accurately locate your employees on the map and send immediate assistance to them.

The app includes a notes feature which allows lone workers to add extra details, such as who they are meeting with, or where in a building they are based. This extra detail can save valuable minutes in the event of an emergency.

Being notified when employees miss a welfare check-in

Through the hub, you can set regular welfare check-in intervals. If one of your employees fails to check-in safely during that time, or raises an alert, a notification will immediately pop up in the hub. Responders will also receive an SMS text and email, allowing lone workers to be located, and get the help they need straight away.

The hub is fully customisable, so you can create tailored reporting lines and escalation procedures that work for your company and employees. If you do not have the resources to monitor your teams in-house, you can outsource. We partner with a number of professional monitoring partners who can monitor employee safety and alert escalation 24/7 to keep your employees safe.

Giving your employees the ability to raise a panic alert

staysafe-app

 Working alone increases the risk to your employees, as there is no one to raise the alarm in an emergency. Your lone working employees need to be able to get help quickly and easily should they need to.

The StaySafe lone worker app enables you to know the location and welfare of lone workers in an emergency, and allows them to check-in and raise a panic alert easily. As the app is installed on your employee’s smart device, it is always with them and greater user uptake compared to separate devices.

Your employees can raise a panic alarm at any time, the app doesn’t even need to be active for them to get help. As soon as they panic, their location and welfare status pops up in the hub and responders know that a lone worker needs assistance.

For added peace of mind, there is a ‘discreet panic’ function, this provides your employees with a way to signal for help without further escalating a situation. The Duress PIN provides a way to raise a panic alarm if lone workers are being forced to close the app. The PIN will appear to close the app, whilst still sending location and panic data to the hub.

Want to find out more about how StaySafe can help you to know that your employees are safe when working?

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Originally written by Alan Coulter, StaySafe. Reproduced with permission

Driving Mode is here

Driving Mode offers a new distraction-free dashboard for anyone using the StaySafe app whilst driving a vehicle.

What does it offer?

It is now an offence to use a mobile phone whilst driving, and the law surrounding the use of handheld devices is set to become ever-stricter.

Driving mode removes distractions from lone workers when they are behind the wheel, therefore removing the risk of breaking the law.

How does it work?

Driving Mode ensures that when driving, lone workers will not be disturbed by any notifications or alarms for the duration of their journey. Regardless of required actions and session state, the app will not distract your lone worker whilst driving but it still allows for lone workers to raise a panic alert.

What to consider when using Driving Mode?

The feature should always be used with plenty of contingency, meaning if your lone worker is expecting to be driving for an hour, consideration should be made for traffic, road works, etc. When Driving Mode is in use the following alerts and alarms will be suppressed:

  • Missed Check-in
  • Low Battery
  • Non-Movement
  • Fall Detection
  • Session Expiry

If you would like to have driving mode available for your StaySafe users or talk to us about StaySafe Lone Worker and its new driving mode, please get in touch using the form below:

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StaySafe Fall Detection

StaySafe Lone Worker can use your phone’s hardware features to detect a fall. If you suffer an impact event resulting from a fall, an alert will be raised in the hub for your responder to attend to. Falls indicate a risk of significant harm, so a responder can make a welfare check to ensure that you are okay.

While you are in a session, the StaySafe app can monitor the motion of your phone for events that could indicate a fall and alert your responders of this. Fall detection determines whether you have fallen based on several variables (and with consideration of metrics). The effectiveness of this will depend on the placement of the device on your body, your body type, the nature of the fall or impact, and the device itself.

Once triggered, the app will notify you that it has detected a fall and give you 15 seconds to cancel the alert before your responders are notified.

If you would like to have fall detection available for your StaySafe users or talk to us about StaySafe Lone Worker and its new fall detection functionality, please get in touch using the form below:

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StaySafe, what3words launch app for locating remote workers in emergencies

Workplace safety firm StaySafe has launched a unique way of helping organisations and lone, remote workers check in during crisis events or emergencies, all through the use of three simple words.

StaySafe partnered with location technology company what3words to design a method of locating workers and sending immediate help.

The location tracking does not work through standard GPS coordinates. Instead, what3words has categorised the entire world into 3x3m squares. Each square has been assigned three words from the dictionary.

For example, a specific spot in Singapore’s Silver Gardens is called ///hint.sculpture.tester, while ///homes.like.tiles is a spot directly outside the Sydney Town Hall.

If an organisation needs to quickly locate lone workers in an emergency, they or the employee can use the app to send help. Furthermore, if an employee does not check in safely or raises a panic alert within the app, monitoring agents at the organisation or an external monitoring firm can be notified. These monitoring agents can verify the alert and dispatch assistance.

what3words CEO Chris Sheldrick explains, “Growing up on a farm, the fact that we had no way to describe an exact location troubles me to this day. What if a fire had broken out in a barn or if someone was caught in running machinery? With what3words now available in the StaySafe app, it’s extremely reassuring to know that people working alone or in remote locations can tell emergency services exactly where help is needed fast enough to prevent extensive damage or avoidable injury.”

Ambulance Tasmania used what3words to rescue a hiker in April last year. Now, what3words is included in the Australian emergency services app, Emergency+.

The company explains, “ Emergency+, which helps people to call the right emergency number and confirm their location. With what3words now available in the app, people can tell Triple Zero (000) exactly where they need help with just three words and officers on the ground and first responders can use the free what3words app to get directions straight to their precise 3m location.”

In New Zealand, emergency services can deploy the free what3words app onto team devices so agents and first responders can use it to find a person easily.

StaySafe CEO Don Cameron says the low signal move can provide more coverage than similar apps on the market so employers can be confident their employees are protected.

“Adding the what3words functionality simplifies getting responders to the exact location of an incident quickly.”

Wellington City Council chooses StaySafe as their dedicated lone worker solution during lock-down

Wellington City Council choose StaySafe as their dedicated lone worker solution during lock-down

Wellington City Council is a local authority working to facilitate the ongoing development of Wellington and the surrounding areas. 

Wellington City Council has partnered with StaySafe, the innovative lone working solution, to protect the safety of staff that could be at risk during the pandemic. Having been a StaySafe user since 2018, Wellington City Council elected to extend the use of the solution when the country was in lockdown and staff had to travel on rural roads with limited mobile coverage. The partnership allows Wellington City Council to ensure their staff are safe, even in the most remote locations. 

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first announced lockdown across New Zealand in March, all non-essential workers were expected to work from home. Wellington City Council provided a courier service to deliver IT equipment to staff in and around the surrounding area. Managers became concerned for the wellbeing of the couriers as the role required them to travel to different, often rural, locations alone. If an accident were to happen on the road, couriers may not have phone signal and be able to call for help. In addition to this, couriers often have to lift heavy equipment alone and if they had a fall or were injured, managers wanted to be sure they were notified so they could send assistance. 

Prior to StaySafe, the company relied on manual methods of checking in with couriers, including regular phone calls every three to four hours. However, during lock-down, managers realised that this method wasn’t robust enough and didn’t provide the courier with a way to signal for help if in danger.  Since launching StaySafe, managers are now confident that their couriers will be safe whilst out on the road. Employees are able to start a timed session before they begin a period of lone work or travel. StaySafe’s handy check-in feature allows staff to communicate they are safe by simply pressing a button. 

The app provides man-down alerts so that managers can detect if an employee has not moved for a prolonged period of time and contact them to confirm they are safe. StaySafe’s panic alert feature provides employees with a way to quickly notify a manager if they are in a dangerous situation. Their manager can then immediately send assistance to them. If couriers are in an area with minimal coverage, the app will automatically switch to low-signal mode and alerts will continue to be sent to the Hub via SMS. 

Joe McDonald, Recreational Coordinator at Wellington City council comments, “The StaySafe app has been a great addition to our current health and safety measures.  StaySafe rolled out the implementation quickly and our account manager was on hand to answer any questions we had. The app is easy to use and the low signal mode gives us confidence that staff will be protected even in areas of poor phone coverage. We feel much safer knowing that staff can signal for help if any accidents were to happen at work”.

Don Cameron, CEO at StaySafe adds, “During the pandemic, organisations are adopting new ways of working, with many employers responsible for lone and remote workers for the first time. Lone workers are particularly vulnerable in the event of an accident as there is no one to raise the alarm.  StaySafe offers peace of mind to both employers and staff that if an incident occurs, they can respond quickly and accurately to prevent situations from escalating”.

UK police warning on dangers of lanyards

Many organisations provide their employees with lone worker solutions attached to a lanyard and worn around their neck. However, UK police have recently released a warning on the potential dangers of wearing a lanyard while driving.

Dorset police released the warning on social media following a couple of serious traffic accidents which were made worse by the use of lanyards, and which left the drivers seriously injured.

In one incident, a driver was involved in a minor car accident but was left with a collapsed lung when the force of the deployed airbag pushed the lanyard into the driver’s chest. Had the driver not been wearing their lanyard at the time, they would have likely walked away relatively unharmed.

In another incident, an NHS worker was wearing a lanyard along with a set of keys for her medicine cabinets and lockers. This time the force of the airbags caused the keys to perforate the driver’s bowel. The injury resulted in a hospital stay of over 6 weeks, and 6 months of missed work.

Wearing lanyards while driving is a little known hazard that all employees should be aware of. The police advise those wearing lanyards to remove them before starting their journey home, in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

Safety lanyard dangers

Driving is not the only situation where the use of lanyards can pose a safety risk. A risk assessment should be used to assess whether the use of lanyards pose a safety risk to employees so that a safer alternative can be considered. Below are just some of the main risks associated with lanyards:

Operating Machinery

Those working around machinery and large equipment should not wear lanyards due to the risk of them getting stuck and causing serious injury to the wearer. In one incident in Texas, a woman died while operating a conveyor at her job in a pawnshop. The lanyard got caught in the conveyor and pulled her in until she couldn’t breathe. The woman was working in the room alone and wasn’t found by colleagues until it was too late.

Violence and aggression

Those at risk of violence and aggression should also consider alternatives to lanyards as they can be used as a weapon to pull or strangle an employee. There are many cases of this happening in public-facing sectors such as health care where lanyards have been used by patients to attack the employee caring for them.

One well known case is Napa State Hospital in California. Employees working at the hospital are required to wear safety alarm devices around their necks on a lanyard. However, employees were left frightened of wearing the lanyards after a colleague was strangled to death by a patient. The patient hadn’t used the lanyard to kill the technician but other incidents had occurred where employees had been pulled from behind or assaulted using the lanyard. Following the homicide, the hospital introduced breakaway lanyards yet employees voiced concerns that the length of the lanyard could still be used to strangle them.

Spreading Infection

Lanyards and ID badges also pose a risk of infection and spreading of disease for those working within the healthcare sector. A study published in The Medical Journal of Australia, found that the superbug MRSA, which kills more than 700 patients a year, lives on about 10% of name tags and lanyards worn by doctors and nurses. The lanyards analysed in the study were found to carry 10 times more bacterial load of the badges.

The author of the study attributed lanyards position at waist level, pendulous nature and long periods of time without cleaning to the high levels of bacteria. Worryingly, the bacteria is able to survive on fabrics and plastic surfaces for up to 90 days, providing plenty of time for the bacteria to spread.

Lone worker apps: a safe alternative to lanyards

Providing your employees with lanyards can lead to resistance due to the associated risks.

While the advice of removing a lanyard before driving should definitely be followed, for those regularly driving for work this could cause a great inconvenience as the likelihood is, the employee will either forget to remove the lanyard or forget to put it on every time they leave their car.

In general, lanyards can also get caught on everyday objects such as table corners, door handles and clothing. This can result in employees deciding not to wear their lanyard or the lanyard breaking and not being replaced. When using a lanyard for a safety alarm or lone worker device, this can leave the employee unprotected as they work.

Fortunately, lone worker apps offer a safer and more reliable alternative to dedicated lone worker devices worn on lanyards.

Lone worker apps come in an accessible and familiar form by being downloaded straight onto an employee’s phone. Mobile phones are one of the few things everyone remembers to take with them wherever they go, so turning it into a safety device ensures lone workers are always protected. Plus, the advancement in mobile technology means that apps can offer all the functionality of a wearable device, and more.

StaySafe’s lone worker app

At StaySafe, we offer an easy to use lone worker app and monitoring solution. The app ensures lone workers always have a way to signal for help in an emergency, while real time monitoring on the Hub allows help to be sent straight to their location.

A panic alarm can be triggered by the lone worker at any time, while missed check-in and non-movement alerts ensures an alarm is raised even if the lone worker is incapacitated and unable to do so themselves.

Many of our customers have switched from using a lanyard based solution to an app based solution due to the reliability of the latter. Previously, employers consistently found that their lone workers weren’t using their lanyard devices to protect themselves at work, either due to forgetfulness or concerns about the risks. However, there is significantly less user resistance when using apps compared to separate lone worker devices.  

Find out more about our lone worker app

If your employees are working in a role where a device may be easier to use, such as construction or social care, we also offer a wearable bluetooth button that can be used to conveniently and discreetly operate the app from a strap on the wrist or clipped to clothing.

Find out more about StaySafe here.

Learn about available approaches to lone worker monitoring

Lone worker monitoring

Lone worker monitoring refers to the practice of monitoring the safety of employees who work alone or out of sight and sound of colleagues.

There are a number of systems that can be used to monitor work alone employees, many of which will use a method of check-in, and in some cases, location tracking and emergency alerts.

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How advances in mobile apps and wearable technology can help employers monitor & protect lone working and remote staff

A solid lone worker safety solution is crucial in today’s modern mobile workforce.

Every 15 seconds, 151 people suffer a workplace accident and every year, 321,000 people lose their lives at work, according to statistics taken from the International Labor Organization. This seems inconceivable, particularly as most workplace accidents are preventable. So why, in an age of perpetual advances in almost every sector, are we still failing to protect our employees and how can we change this?  

Workplace accidents often occur due to a lack of health and safety policies and risk assessments within the workplace. Without thorough risk assessments in place, employers are unable to identify the risks that their staff face and put plans in place to help avoid them. 

As health and safety legislators continue to crack down on workplace negligence, employers are under increasing pressure to ensure their workers are kept safe. In this article, we explore how advances in mobile app technology can help companies overcome common safety challenges by delivering a fit for purpose lone worker safety solution.

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StaySafe partners with what3words to help keep lone workers safe

  • StaySafe clients can now provide the what3words location of their lone workers in an emergency to help identify their location faster
  • what3words has broken down the world into 3x3m squares, and assigned each one three words from the dictionary. ///unfold.majorly.encore, for example, will take you to a precise spot on the NZ’s busy Southern Motorway
  • Responders around the country are now using the system to respond to incidents more effectively

StaySafe, the workplace safety solutions provider, has partnered with location technology company, what3words, to help companies respond to incidents more effectively.

StaySafe’s easy-to-use lone working app enables employers to quickly and easily locate lone workers in an emergency and send immediate help. With the new what3words integration, employers can communicate the precise location of their lone workers to emergency responders easily and accurately – using just three words.

In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical. If lone workers suffer injuries or face aggression whilst at work, their employers may be unaware and therefore unable to help.

StaySafe provides companies around the world with a low cost, easy-to-use solution to manage the safety of their lone workers. Employees are able to start a timed session in the app before they begin a period of lone work or travel. The StaySafe app gives employers visibility of the location and safety status of lone workers during a period of lone work or travel and allows them to check-in safely once they have finished this session.

If an employee fails to check-in safely during a session or raises a panic alert in the app, monitoring agents, either within the organisation or at an external monitoring service, will be immediately alerted. They will quickly verify the alert and dispatch the appropriate assistance to the employee.

Emergencies can happen anywhere from the rural mountains of Scotland to outside Wembley Stadium. what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and given each one a unique what3words address – made up of three words from the dictionary. With the new what3words integration, monitors can give the exact what3words address to emergency responders and help will be sent to that precise 3m x 3m square.

Many emergency services are beginning to use the what3words app deployed onto team devices so officers on the ground and first responders can use it to get directions to any precise 3m square efficiently.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words: “Growing up on a farm, the fact that we had no way to describe an exact location troubles me to this day. What if a fire had broken out in a barn or if someone was caught in running machinery? With what3words now available in the StaySafe app, it’s extremely reassuring to know that people working alone or in remote locations can tell emergency services exactly where help is needed fast enough to prevent extensive damage or avoidable injury.”

Don Cameron, CEO of StaySafe, says, “The StaySafe app is the easiest to use lone worker solution available today. Adding the what3words functionality simplifies getting responders to the exact location of an incident quickly.”

Meitrack Releases the Smallest GPS Tracker P88L Among Its Product Family

Today, Meitrack officially announces the release of the smallest GPS tracker among Meitrack product family, 4G mini GPS tracker P88L, to deliver the optimal user experience to customers worldwide.

Compared with the MT90 and P99G personal trackers, the P88L is much smaller in size and more lightweight, and offers longer battery life (built-in 1000mAh battery, 200 hours standby time) . This new model is easy and convenient to carry and to be put somewhere just like an accessory. Just glance around it. We can clearly see that there are two buttons only: SOS button on the front and auxiliary button on the left side, which is a user-friendly design for users, the elderly and children in particular.

Featuring the two-way calling, SOS alert, polygonal geo-fence alert, man-down alert and smart working mode, this unit can also work as an alarm clock, and at most 24 alarm clocks can be set at a time. Device parameters can be configured in diversified forms: SMS, Meitrack MS03 platform, Bluetooth or PC. After Bluetooth pairing is finished, if the unit exits the Bluetooth range, an alert will be pushed to users. In addition, this device can record the number of steps users take every day and upload this travel record to the platform as a reference. At 00:00:00 (GPS time), all the steps are cleared automatically. Everything about the new tracking device is designed to ensure a safe and sure travel and provide peace of mind for the family members and management team.

Let’s see the featured highlights of the P88L as follows:
1. LBS/GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth tracking
2. Smart working mode
3. IP67 water resistant
4. Multi-functional

Learn more about the brand new P88L 4G Mini GPS Tracker here.