Safety Applications for Lone Workers

Built in safety applications and audible alarms can help lone workers communicate during or out of normal work hours and in an emergency situation.

Description:

Using Safe Hub, a-locate-and-respond system, lone workers can communicate with their supervisors during their work hours. Safe Hub supports a wide array of devices, including Android, Apple and Windows smart phones and other electronic devices, to reduce the risk of hazards faced by lone workers who work in isolation for an extended period of time.

Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Anybody who works alone without close or direct supervision, including contractors, self-employed people, and employees, is classified as a lone worker. General examples of lone workers are social workers, maintenance and repair staff, security officers, delivery agents, realtors, and in-home healthcare providers, just to name a few. Lone workers in the construction industry are specialty contractors, roofers, heavy machine operators, painters that are usually special trades, which are executed mostly alone. They often spend great portions of the day away from their offices, peers, and the security available in those familiar locations. Some examples of lone workers’ type of incidents and injuries includes transportation accidents, attack or violence from people/animals, falls and slips. Being alone and visiting unfamiliar locations and potentially volatile situations is a common challenge these lone workers face nearly every day.

In order to keep lone workers safe, section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether or not employees may work alone. OSHA also states that employers should check on lone workers “at regular intervals” but does not specify what that means in terms of frequency. Regardless of specifics, the burden falls on employers to keep their workers safe. To bridge this safety gap, the need to develop a safety application especially for communication purposes for lone workers is vital.

Using Safe Hub applications that can be installed on smartphones and desktops, discreet devices, wearable devices, satellite devices and intrinsically safe devices can increase the speed of communications between a worker and supervisor, thereby increasing the rate of response in the event of a potential safety incident and decreasing the risk of accidents lone workers are exposed to. (For better understanding of these safety devices and how they work, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx5FymvtPOQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf90umAsRUQ )

 

                                                            

1a) Smartphone & Desktop Apps          1b) Discreet Devices (SOS Fob)        1c) Wearable Devices

 

                                                   

1d) Satellite Devices                 1e) Intrinsically Safe Devices

 

Figure 1. Different types of smart apps and specialist devices 


Risks Addressed:

Risk Addressed

Lone workers occupy some of the most challenging and dangerous jobs. Due to the nature of their jobs, lone workers are exposed to different kinds of hazards that can inflict life-threatening injuries. Hazards that lone workers encounter include

·         Lack of communication with supervisors and coworkers

·         Inadequate provision of first aid arising from emergency accidents on work sites

·         Sudden illness

·         Unsafe means of travel to and from the location of work, especially outside normal hours

·         Inadequate provision of rest, hygiene, and welfare facilities

·         Physical violence from members of the public and/or intruders  


How Risks are Reduced:

How Risk Is Reduced

As shown in figure 1 above, lone workers can use different types of devices depending on the nature of the job for safe working conditions. The Safe Hub’s smartphone app (Fig.1a) includes features like red alert, yellow alert, safe check, worker down, group alert, and safe beacon. Communication is very important for lone workers safety and the use of smart phone applications greatly enhances this important aspect of risk reduction. Since this applications uses self-phones, a wide range of lone workers including from the construction industry can easily use this safety solution.

The SOS Fob (Fig.1b) is easy to carry, compact and waterproof device. It utilizes the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) for its functioning. With these two systems along with the SOS Fob device enables the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) to locate a lone worker and communicate with him or her via Safe Hub in the event of an emergency. The worker can also easily leave a yellow alert message at the touch of a button. It also has built-in motion and shock sensors to support a reactive “worker down” feature.

The wearable SOS button (Fig.1c) is designed for workers where the nature of their work prohibits them from wearing uniforms and are not allowed to carry large or bulky devices in the work zone. This simple device triggers an emergency response by connecting with the worker’s smartphone or computer app, triggering a red alert that transmits the messages to the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

The satellite device featuring SPOT Gen3 (Fig.1d) is highly applicable in areas with no mobile signal. This device can be crucial in areas where mobile signals are very weak or non-existent and can be useful in places where ordinary self-phones do not work. The device automatically sends the user’s location information to the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) at 10-minute intervals; if the worker is in danger, he/she can trigger red or yellow alert. This satellite device is highly useful for disaster relief workers and for big construction projects like hydroelectric dams where mobile signals are difficult to access.  

Intrinsically safe devices (Fig.1e) are specialized devices from Twig and Ecom. These devices are ideal for lone workers operating in hazardous areas or extreme conditions. Intrinsically safe devices are types of equipment’s that are incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture. At the same time, they are high quality mobile phones, deploying GPS/GSM technology, and they provide excellent reception and coverage while fully supporting the full range of Safe Hub features. In the event of an accident or dangerous situation, the lone worker can manually press the emergency button to trigger a red alert at the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). 


Contributors:

Behzad Esmaeili, PhD - George Mason University
Tomay Solomon - George Mason University
Babak Memarian, PhD - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training
Hyun Woo “Chris” Lee, PhD - University of Washington, Department of Construction Management 

Availability

Blackline Safety Corp.
To obtain information, visit G7 Wireless Gas Detector and Lone Worker Monitoring System or contact 1-877-869-7212 info@blacklinesafety.com

StaySafe
To obtain information, visit Smartphone App or contact 1-844-335-1254

Lone Worker Solutions
To obtain information, visit Safe Hub App or contact 1-732-662-4374

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.