Ensuring staff safety is a crucial requirement for all businesses, particularly for those who require employees to work alone. With an estimated 6.8 million people working alone in the UK and over 600,000 injuries to employees at work between 2016/2017, it comes as no surprise that job safety is a paramount element of the tech revolution.
Besides the moral and safety benefits of adopting technology to improve the safeguarding of lone workers, through implementing the right solution employers can also unlock a huge improvement in productivity. Below, Klaus Allion, Managing Director at ANT Telecom highlights how businesses can take full advantage of lone worker technology to improve a workforce’s capacity as follows:
Until technology came to be widely adopted in worker supervision, the ‘buddy system’ was standard practice – a process which requires two employees to team up and work on a single task together. This ensures that should one member of staff become injured, the ‘buddy’ works as a responder to immediately seek assistance. Once considered an adequate method of safeguarding, technology has now advanced to provide closer supervision opportunities, shorter response times in case of accidents, and increased peace of mind for both management and workers alike.
This also allows lone workers to perform solo with complete protection, freeing up the ‘buddy’ colleague to do the same and thus doubling up the tasks completed in any one given day.
Alongside this, another benefit of implementing lone worker devices throughout a workforce, is the multi-use functionality. Depending on the needs of the user, devices can incorporate features such as a panic button, tilt and no-motion sensors and impact alarms, as well as two-way radio. Integrating communication tools such as a two-way radio is an easy and quick solution that allows staff to easily communicate with colleagues on site, whereas incorporating Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications System (DECT) can enable workers to also communicate with employees off-site. Integrating several tools and systems into one streamlined device is a simple and effective way to enable easy communication, boost productivity and ensure safety, without the need for staff to carry multiple devices.
Improved confidence amongst staff
A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick revealed that happiness in the workplace led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers were shown to be 10% less productive. Safety and wellbeing is a key factor to happiness in the workplace, so by prioritising health and safety, managers can significantly improve morale and productivity within a business.
According to research conducted by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) 64% of lone workers report experiencing psychological distress, but studies by the TUC have found that having a lone worker device significantly reduces the negative psychological impacts of lone working. As such, with the implementation of lone worker technology, employees can rest assured that their safety is cared for and should an incident occur, help and assistance are never far away.
Maintaining employee confidence in your chosen technology also requires continual education and training as software updates regularly. Employees will, therefore, need to receive ongoing training to ensure they are on the same page and following protocol and effective use of all technology to maintain compliance. This continued focus on keeping processes and devices up to date is another factor businesses must adopt to make sure employees feel valued.
Unifying monitoring processes
When a member of staff has an incident or a critical machine fails, the response team needs to know immediately so that it can be dealt with quickly and effectively. Many current safety processes rely on alarm management processes where all alerts are routed through operators based at centralised control centres who, in turn, escalate and activate the response. These alerts are typically presented via a dashboard, but often do not provide enough information to differentiate between critical alerts and those that would be considered a lower priority.
Through the combination of pragmatic processes and familiar tools, critical alerts can be automated to go directly to the mobile devices of the most appropriate engineers, on-site. Those same alerts can still be flagged to the control room, but operators will be able to see that a critical task has been escalated, accepted and actioned by the best-placed person for the job. Thus, the time-lapse between an operator receiving and responding to an alert is completely removed. The simplicity of this process can accelerate response times and free busy operators to focus on managing less time critical tasks.
Lone worker technology has changed the game. To sum things up, the benefits and advantages of lone worker technology are about achieving compliance, maintaining staff safety and enabling the workforce to be more productive in their day to day tasks and requirements. Aligning your business with the appropriate devices and software can not only assure you are meeting health and safety requirements but improve productivity and overall work rate of an entire workforce.
by Klaus Allion, Managing Director at ANT Telecom
Klaus Allion is managing director at ANT Telecom, a bespoke telecommunications provider based in High Wycombe. Klaus has over 25 years’ experience working in the telecommunication industry including roles as divisional manager at Bosch Telecom UK and sales & marketing director at ASC.
In his current role, Klaus aims to make ANT’s customers work more effectively and feel safer with ANT’s comprehensive range of telecoms products and services, from telephone systems to wireless technology, such DECT and Radio. ANT provides these solutions to businesses who want to improve productivity, service and safety, especially those operating in challenging and risky environments.
Klaus is passionate about ANT’s customers and developing and executing ANT’s vision to provide excellent service for all customers.