Lone Worker Safety Devices
Lone worker safety devices have become increasingly popular as companies search for ways to monitor their staff’s safety. These devices have been specifically designed to protect workers from the challenges that come with working alone.
What is a lone worker safety device?
A lone worker safety device is a discreet and undetectable tool, app or service which allows for communication with employers, or in more serious situations, emergency services.
Lone worker safety devices safeguard employees whilst they work or travel, giving them a quick and easy way to signal for help in an emergency. Specialist lone worker equipment also gives employers visibility of lone workers’ locations during their working day, enabling them to send help directly to the employee if needed.
Not only do ‘work alone devices’ provide a quick and discreet way to reach others in an emergency, they also provide reassurance for employees when they are working without supervision.
Who needs lone worker devices?
Lone worker safety devices are designed to monitor and protect employees operating across a variety of lone working job roles. This could include employees who are required to work in remote locations with low signal, employees who meet with vulnerable individuals and those required to work with high-risk machinery or in hazardous environments. Even in what you may consider lower-risk roles, there is a chance that lone working employees can get caught up in an incident or accident. This includes home workers. Lone worker safety devices should be used to protect any worker who is required to be alone, for any part of their working day.
Employers have a legal duty of care to ensure the safety of employees and the HSE guidance for lone worker safety states that you must:
- train, supervise and monitor lone workers
- keep in touch with them and respond to any incident
Employers who fail to adhere to health and safety legislation can incur large fines, reputational damage, and, for the most serious breaches, time in prison. Fines from cases brought against employers by the HSE in 2019/20 amounted to £35.8 million – with the average fine being £110,000.
Lone worker safety risks and employee obligation
Like employers, lone workers have obligations to ensure that they and others are kept safe whilst at work. According to the HSE, employee obligations for lone working are the same as for all employees. As such, a lone worker must:
- take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be harmed by their actions at work
- cooperate with their employers and other workers to help everyone meet their duties under the law
This means that lone working employees must also adhere to the guidelines and procedures – including the use of lone worker devices – set out in your lone worker policy.
How do devices keep lone workers safe?
Not only do employers have a duty of care to ensure that all staff are adequately protected from harm whilst at work, many employers are becoming increasingly alarmed by rising rates of accidents, injury and violence at work.
In the UK, the latest statistics published by the HSE show an increase in workplace accidents compared to the previous year. In 2019/20 there were 0.7 million non fatal injuries reported, and 111 fatalities. Slips, trips and falls – which can happen to anyone at any time – were the most common cause of nonfatal workplace injury (29%) and falls were the most common cause of death (26%). Acts of violence contributed to 9% of all injuries last year
Working alone can be more dangerous in an emergency situation as there is no one there to raise the alarm and, especially in public or community facing roles, lone workers can be seen as easy targets for violence.The impact of COVID-19 has also had a significant effect on the environment employees are working in. Social distancing rules mean that the number of employees who carry out their duties alone has increased and sadly, so have the rates of violence against staff – particularly those in the NHS, transport and retail, who bear the brunt of the public’s frustrations.
Lone worker devices ensure that if an accident or incident does occur, not only can the lone worker signal for help, response time is significantly improved as they can be located immediately.
Find out more about the risks associated with working alone in our free and comprehensive Guide to Lone Working.
Lone worker equipment and safety devices
Lone worker devices use key features to assist employees during an emergency or uncomfortable situation. Different devices will work in slightly different ways and offer a varying degree of functionality.
Lone worker devices that come in the form of a physical handheld device or ID card are perhaps the earliest form of lone worker device. As standard, they provide a panic button and GPS location tracking. Some devices will also offer additional functionality such as discreet panic, two-way audio and recorded voice notes.
The lone worker app, which turns a mobile phone into a lone worker device, provides an alternative option to a separate device and can provide a wider range of functionality in a familiar, easy-to-use format. Lone worker apps can provide additional functionality such as written notes, low signal mode and a Duress PIN to safeguard lone workers from common safety challenges.
With the rise of smart technology, lone worker apps are becoming more prevalent, with more and more employers choosing to use an app rather than a separate device.
According to a Berg Insight Report, 20% of all lone worker solutions in Europe, and more than 40% in North America, are now app based. The general market for lone worker protection solutions and services is growing too; in Europe and North America the market is forecast to grow from € 154 million in 2019, to reach € 284 million in 2023.
StaySafe’s lone worker devices
The StaySafe app turns an employee’s smartphone into a safety device that stays with them throughout their working day. Offering a range of alert options, the app ensures lone workers are able to notify their employer in a range of situations, while the online StaySafe Hub provides crucial information including the lone worker’s location so that help can be sent directly to them if necessary.
Lone worker app
The StaySafe app gives employers visibility of the location and safety status of lone workers in an emergency and allows them to check-in safely once they have finished a lone working or travel session. The app has a multitude of safety features including panic alarm and man down alerts, timed check-in, duress PIN and discreet panic functionality.
Lone worker monitoring hub
Our lone worker app is linked to a secure cloud-based monitoring hub that provides you with real-time updates on the safety status of your lone workers. The Hub is customisable and allows you to create tailored reporting lines and escalation procedures to ensure your lone workers get the help they need in an emergency. If an alert is raised, a notification will pop up on screen as well as via SMS text and email, allowing you to locate and get help to your employee straight away.
Outsourced monitoring of our lone worker devices
Outsourced monitoring is a great solution for organisations with large workforces, out of hours operations or those who do not have the resource to monitor lone worker safety in-house. Outsourced monitoring also provides a direct link to the emergency services if needed. We work with a number of security accredited monitoring stations around the world to provide our clients with a professional and robust monitoring service for their lone workers.
Wearable and satellite lone worker protection
We offer satellite and wearable options that widen the functionality that the StaySafe app is able to offer. Our VBTTN is a small wearable that links to the StaySafe app via bluetooth and enables users to raise a panic alert simply by touching a button attached to their clothing, dashboard or wherever they choose. The StaySafe app is also compatible with the Garmin In Reach satellite device to enable the protection of extremely remote workers.
Onboarding and training
At StaySafe we have a dedicated Customer Success Team who work with you to ensure that you get the most from your investment in the StaySafe solution. We provide a full end-to-end service including innovative in app training – to ensure you and your staff get the most from the app and are protected everyday.
Book an online demo today to see for yourself why thousands of companies around the world trust StaySafe to be their lone worker protection partner.
Lone Working FAQ
Employers can legally require one person to work overnight alone. Security guards regularly monitor buildings alone throughout the night, whilst other roles such as a hotel receptionists or a petrol station attendants may work alone out of hours. Employees who work in these roles may be seen as easy targets for threats, such as theft or violence, and extra precautions should be put in place.
It is legal for an apprentice to work alone if it is safe to do so. Employers have the same responsibilities to apprentices as they do any other employee. Therefore, they hold a primary responsibility for the health and safety of the apprentice and are required to carry out risk assessments and manage any potential threats.
Working alone in a factory is also allowed. However, the job role being carried out alone in the factory should be taken into consideration. For example, if operating machinery, you must ensure it is suitable for one person to do this alone. You should also take into consideration how an alarm can be raised in an emergency and what the response time is likely to be.
A 16-year-old can work alone if the organisation employing them has conducted a risk assessment and found it safe to do so. Young people under 18 have different employment rights from adult workers, including where and when they can work. You can find out more about young worker legislation here.
Working alone in a shop is completely legal and common practice. Extra safety measures should be taken however, as lone shop workers can become easy targets for robberies and other crimes. A risk assessment must also be carried out and consider the local crime rates, employee training levels and what emergency procedures are in place.