Petra says she’s not a lawyer but has spent enough time around health and safety industry professionals to be able to see that such organisations need to really understand the risks their workers face. “If these risks can’t be removed, all steps that are “reasonably practicable” need to be taken to mitigate them”, she says. “Citing cost as a factor in not using technology to mitigate risks will not cut it.”
Guardian Angel lone worker consultancy is hardware agnostic, focusing on finding the best fit for purpose solution for your particular environment, risk and culture.
She offers the following tips for organisations looking to provide GPS duress devices for lone workers:
- GPS doesn’t work inside buildings, so beware of products which go into sleep mode or only poll every few hours (we won’t know where your worker is);
- Smartphone apps are only suitable in very limited environments for a lot of reasons (your worker isn’t going to have time to reach for the phone, unlock the screen, launch the app and press a button if they’re in trouble. Battery life and polling rates are also a concern);
- If you’re operating in some patchy network areas, you may need a cellular/satellite hybrid solution;
- Your solution should be monitored by a commercial centre who understands people monitoring and you should be able to choose the monitoring centre and move when you choose to;
- GPS chews battery: Check that on 60 sec polling, you will still get around 10 hours minimum;
- Staff need to be engaged: Get them to understand the limits of the technology and be comfortable using it.
- Regular testing of equipment and worker comfort in using it is vital;
- Future proof your solution by ensuring it will work if the 2G network is decommissioned;
- If the device has voice and tracking it needs to have a 3G modem to operate both together;
- Devices should be FCC certified to ensure they have passed the radio activity emissions test.
Among other services, Guardian Angel helps customers assess risks, source the best fit-for purpose solution, create internal processes and train staff. It also provides monitoring and monthly reporting and testing. All are vital components for a successful solution.