According to data collected by the National Office of Statistics, there are approximately five million lone workers in the United Kingdom. Because of the dangers they face, one solution to help them are lone worker devices, but, are lone worker devices worth it?
What Are Lone Worker Devices?
A lone worker device is a piece of tech that allows a lone worker to discreetly request assistance, either from their managers or colleagues or, in an emergency, the police, ambulance or the fire brigade. This is done via an alarm receiving centre.
You may think, what is wrong with using a mobile phone like everyone else does?
The difference being that by the very nature of their work, lone workers could be isolated, in a dangerous situation, possibly even a life or death situation where they wouldn’t physically be able to get their mobile phone out of a bag or pocket. Not only that, but that if their attacker noticed that they were trying to get help, it could place the lone worker in even more danger.
For that reason, lone worker devices are designed to be discreet in a dangerous situation.
For example, here at First2HelpYou we provide a lone worker KIT device that has been designed to be hidden on a belt clip, or even behind an ID badge.
Another huge benefit of using a lone worker device instead of a mobile phone is that the device sends GPS data, so the lone worker can be found even if they are lost. The alarm receiving centre can use a Unique Reference Number, which is a fast track to the Police, to ensure help is received faster than dialing 999. Whatsmore, the calls to the alarm receiving centre is recorded, it can be used as evidence in legal or civil proceedings that may arise.
How Do Lone Worker Devices Work?
Different types of lone worker devices have different functionality, but the fundamental purpose is to enable the wearer to call for help in an emergency, regardless of where they are. The man down functionality also puts a call into the monitoring centre if the wearer suddenly falls or is inactive for a while.
The wearer sets the device in a state of readiness by setting an Amber alert. This allows them to record details of what they are about to do and where they will be specifically. This is especially useful if they are working indoors, as GPS needs a clear line of sight to the sky.
From there, the wearer can press the SOS button to send a call to the alarm receiving centre (ARC). Once the call is connected, the ARC staff will listen in and assess the situation. They may try to speak to the wearer if it seems safe to do so, and the wearer can speak to them.
From there, the ARC staff will either call the emergency services or an internal manager or colleague to go and assist the wearer.
The ARC staff will stay on the call until they are 100% certain the wearer is safe and well. The audio is being recorded the whole time.
The Reasons Why Lone Worker Devices Are Worth It?
A UK National Crime Survey estimated that “150 lone workers are attacked every day, and are also at risk not just from violence, but sudden illness or injury and road traffic accidents.”
When you think about the logistics of lone working, it would be a struggle to ensure lone workers safety simply by using mobile phones.
So, anything that could help could and should be used. With the best will in the world, we are always told to make sure our phones are always charged and have a signal, that we don’t knowingly place ourselves in a dangerous situation, but we are only human, and mistakes can be made.
Lone workers quite often can work antisocial hours and have appointments in places they have never been before.
Even when the appropriate risk assessments are carried out, the situation could change in a few seconds.
Think about lone workers in betting shops and local corner shops. They can quite easily find themselves facing an aggressive and inebriated customer who can’t be placated by words.
The shop may have CCTV, but this won’t stop an attack once it has started.
If you think about the discreet alarm buttons they have in banks in the event of an attempted robbery, lone worker devices work on the same principle.
Being able to get help, without placing the worker in even more danger, is the biggest help that someone working alone could have.
Lone Working And Mental Health
It isn’t just physical dangers that lone workers face, according to The Health And Safety Executive, 12.8 million working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
Some of the reasons for being off work with anxiety, stress or depression include violence, threats, bullying and lack of support.
Now, we have mentioned the possibility that lone workers could experience violence, threats or bullying, but lack of support is an important factor, particularly for lone workers.
Lone working isn’t working alone. Quite often it is all too easy for a lone worker to feel isolated, not part of a team and forgotten about by colleagues or their managers.
Feeling isolated can then lead to stress, depression, anxiety, low morale, paranoia and cause a downward spiral in the lone workers mental health.
Lone worker devices not only provide support from physical attacks, but they also help lone workers to feel like they are being supported and looked after.
Just the fact that they know that their location can be easily monitored by a manager or a lone worker monitoring centre, can be very reassuring.
Similarly, lone worker portal applications, such as the one we provide, allow managers to track lone workers movements, record potential hot spots or areas where incidents have previously occurred.
This allows for an extra level of safety and security for lone workers and for their bosses.
Get In Touch
If you would any more information on lone worker devices and the other services we provide such as lone worker monitoring, or if you have any questions about personal safety then please do get in touch. Alternatively, have a look at our Buyer’s Guide here.