The ANT Telecom Blog

Lone Workers App Solutions for the Manufacturing Industry

Written by ANT Telecom | 28 Feb 2017

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We all know the manufacturing industry carries huge potential for health and safety risks. This danger is significantly increased for any individual who works on their own and in varied locations. As a manager, it is up to you to make sure all your employees are safeguarded against any possible risk. Protecting yourself and your employees is not only a moral obligation: it is the law.

One of the best communication tools in the trade, mobile phones can be a lifeline for staff in need. Always useful as a means of checking into base with a work related query, employees can also use their phones should an emergency arise. In most instances, employees are able to use their phone to contact help but what might happen should the individual become incapacitated with no one else around to help? Or if the phone is out of range? Fortunately, advanced technology means there are now a wide range of brilliant apps that can turn a smartphone into a valuable health and safety tool. Lone workers apps can raise the alarm to bring help to the aid of a worker in distress and provide support quickly when needed.

 

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Do you want to learn more about protecting your lone workers?  Download our guide to lone worker safety

 

Different ways a lone worker app can help keep your employees safe

 

Keep Employees Safe with a Tracker Function

One particular function popular with lone worker apps is the tracker feature that can activate a smartphone's own GPS tracking technology. In the event of an emergency, this feature can be activated and the position of the injured lone worker shared with someone who can provide immediate assistance. In fact, being able to pinpoint the exact location of an employee in distress means emergency support can be dispatched quickly and directly to the right place with no loss of time.  The app also allows workers to check in and out before each task, recording details of their location as well as their expected duration. Once the expected time has almost run, an automatic message will alert the worker to check that they are safe.  If the employee fails to check out or extend the time, nominated parties are alerted to take swift action to ensure the worker's safety.

 

Raise the Alarm

Another exceptional feature of lone worker apps can turn your phone into a comprehensive alarm system. A panic alarm function can allow the user to call for help wherever and whenever it is needed. The best alarm functions also override the phone's keypad lock which can save valuable time in an emergency. However, not all smartphones have a button that can easily be configured (by the app) to act as panic button.  Of course, it is possible to trigger an alert from the app itself, however this isn’t always feasible in an emergency as it can be too time consuming to first unlock the phone, before opening the app. 

To overcome this issue, separate panic buttons like the URSOS Button were designed.  The URSOS button is a small, lightweight device that can be attached to a set of keys and is linked to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The alarm can be activated by pressing a single button on the device which then sends a message via the connected mobile phone. In some environments, it is not always convenient to keep your phone to hand and in an emergency a mobile may be just a little too far out of reach. The smaller URSOS button is far more discreet  and  accessible when help is needed in a pinch.

 

Man-Down Function

A “man-down” function can also trigger an alarm should the worker be unable to do so themselves.  So for instance, if the phone remains tilted at an almost horizontal angle or remains still for a certain timeframe, alarms are triggered.  Typically, pre-alarms are activated beforehand to warn the worker before an actual alarm is sent so that false alarms are not activated unnecessarily.  

 

Link to Management Tools or Receiving Centre

Some lone apps connect to a 24 hour alarm receiving centre where specialised staff are available to help as best they can by contacting emergency services or the lone worker’s colleagues depending on the circumstances surrounding the alarm. 

Alternatively, and in conjunction with alarm messaging software, alarms messages can be sent directly to nominated parties who can decide on the best course of action or speak to the lone worker themselves. Colleagues may receive an SMS message on their phone or an alert can be delivered directly to their desktop PC.   The alarm messaging software keeps an audit trail of all alarm activities to allow you to review the process and identify where improvements can be made.

Overall, mobile phone apps can be a lifeline for any employee working alone which could save a life and save your business at the same time. By using existing mobile phone signal and 3G or 4G networks, costs for keeping staff safe are kept to a minimum. More importantly, lone workers apps can raise an alarm and help direct emergency services to the right location in any "worst case scenario". We all hate to think of valued members of staff, or even ourselves, suffering any kind of health related emergency whether at home or at work. However, thanks to lone workers apps we can now protect our staff and ourselves by alerting colleagues to the incident the moment it occurs.

 

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Topics: Lone Workers, Critical Alarm Management

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