A remote worker is anyone who works away from a fixed work base, such as an office or work site. Remote workers may work in small groups or on their own, and their roles are likely to require travel to different locations.
Typical jobs requiring remote working include:
- Comunity and mental health workers
- Mobile mortgage managers and business bankers
- Travelling salespeople
- Insurance assessors
- Field service engineers
Challenges and risks of working remotely
Working remotely carries an increased risk due to a lack of direct supervision, uncontrolled work environments and possible challenges with communication methods.
Many roles requiring remote working also require employees to work alone or in pairs. A lack of direct supervision or colleague support means that if the employee suffers an injury or other accident, they may be unable to receive the immediate help they need. Additionally, lone working could make remote workers more vulnerable to violence, theft or anti-social behaviour, as they may be perceived as an easy target.
Secluded work sites
If the work site is located remotely with other individuals out of sight and sound, the employee will not be able to call out for help. They will, therefore, need to rely on other methods of calling for assistance.
Low to no signal
But what if remote workers also find that their phones are unable to connect to a signal? When working in remote areas of the country, phone signal can be weak or non-existent. Communication becomes even more of an issue as they are unable to pick up the phone and call a colleague or supervisor.
Uncontrolled work environments
If an employee is working remotely, the environment is unlikely to be controlled by the business and may not have been assessed for potential risks. Work locations could vary each day and may include visits to client properties or outdoor locations.
Therefore, there may be risks present at the site that have not been identified by the business through a routine risk assessment. For example, there may be trip hazards, unsecured structures or moving vehicles present. Plus, working outside exposes employees to uncontrollable hazards such as bad weather.
Managing the safety of remote workers
Monitoring the safety and location of remote workers with StaySafe, ensures that if an accident does occur, not only will someone be alerted immediately, but assistance can also be sent directly to them – allowing business to meet their moral and legal duty of care.
The StaySafe app
The StaySafe app provides a way to signal for help no matter the situation. If a remote worker suffers an accident or is confronted by an aggressor, they are able to signal for help through a panic or discreet panic button.
If they are unable to send a signal because they are knocked unconscious or are prevented from doing so, the intuitive app will send a man down or missed check-in alert.
The StaySafe monitoring Hub
Any alert trigger by the app will be sent through to the monitoring Hub as well as notifying the appropriate monitor. The Hub will show a map view of all employees using the app, along with their safety status, contact details and location information.
If a supervisor is responsible for a large workforce of remote workers, they can zoom in and out of the map to view and monitor them all on one screen.
StaySafe’s low signal mode
The StaySafe app’s low signal mode ensures an alert can be sent even in areas where only a weak signal is present. Instead of communicating to the Hub via a strong data connection, the StaySafe app will automatically switch to low signal mode and send out alert and location data via SMS.
For really remote employees who are unable to connect their mobiles at all, StaySafe offer a satellite device. The inReach Garmin works in a similar way to the StaySafe app by providing location details and a quick and easy way to signal for help. Plus, the device also comes with satellite maps, a range of navigation features and a digital breadcrumb trail to ensure remote workers can travel safely.