Choosing the right solution
Step by step guide to choosing the best lone worker monitoring system for your needs.
We understand it can be confusing when comparing the various lone worker monitoring solutions available on the market to choose the one that’s best for you. It is important to understand how to compare and contrast the different technologies, the many functions and the range of packages on offer. Here’s our step by step guide to assessing your options and choosing the best system for your business needs.
1. Is the system designed for commercial use?
Knowing how to differentiate between a commercial outdoor lone worker monitoring solution and consumer offerings for adventurers and explorers is the first step. We know it’s confusing as the GPS technology used can be the same – so these solutions must all do the same thing, right?
Wrong! The GPS technology is simply a method of communication – just as a mobile phone is. The difference is in the design of the backend system – the commercial solutions have been designed specifically to help businesses manage risk across different types of lone workers, to respond to incidents appropriately, to meet employer health and safety regulations and to comply with the law…
2. More on complying with the law
As an employer you are liable for all your workers when they are working for you, including employees, self employed workers and contractors. You have a duty of care and you must comply with:
- the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (in the worst case scenarios)
Failure to comply with these laws can result in fines up to £1million or in extreme cases custodial sentences. Consumer offerings are not designed to comply with these laws and would leave an employer vulnerable, particularly if faced with a serious injury or fatality.
3. More on managing risks
Consumer offerings are for individuals, typically undertaking adventure trips or extreme leisure pursuits such as mountaineering, kayaking, hiking. They are not designed for monitoring lone workers and the different types of risk lone workers may be exposed to.
A commercial lone worker monitoring solution provider will want to understand the outcomes of the lone worker risk assessments you have undertaken, to inform options and help you decide what is the most suitable set up for your business. This should consider the nature of the risks your lone workers are exposed to, whether these are people-based risks such as aggression from members of the public, or whether these are environmental based risks such as working in hazardous or remote locations.
4. Location! Location! Location!
Location is so important… if your workers work daily beyond the reach of mobile phone reception then you will need a completely different solution compared to one suitable for urban workers with reliable mobile phone signal. This affects:
- the device your lone workers will use to communicate with you, a GPS Device versus a GSM device or a Mobile app
- whether you need dedicated devices for all your lone workers or if you can operate a pool of shared devices for infrequent users
- the lone worker procedures you will need to put in place and have supported
- the functionality you need from your chosen system – accurate and detailed Ordnance Survey mapping will enable remote lone workers to be located easily in the event of an emergency.
5. The customer interface
Essential to a commercial lone worker monitoring solution is the backend system you will use to manage and monitor your lone workers. Typically this is an online secure platform with individual access and different levels of permissions. Understanding the functionality and how the system works in the event of an incident will influence your choice.
6. System flexibility
Consider the flexibility of the system. Are you able to self-manage your lone workers through an interactive online platform with secure login, set up different Groups with different lone working patterns and risks? If you have lone workers reporting to different managers is there flexibility to operate different reporting and monitoring options? Are you able to monitor the usage of the system to ensure your lone workers are engaged and fully utilising the system?
You may be responsible for lone workers working in remote or hazardous environments or undertaking risky tasks – does the system enable GPS tracking at regular intervals so you know these vulnerable lone workers are safe?
Ease of administration and reporting are important – check if you can easily assign and reassign devices across your lone worker pool, look for features such as ‘out of office’ to manage daily operations.
8. Responding to incidents
The ability to respond swiftly and appropriately to incidents is a major consideration. Depending on your lone workers, their locations and the types of risks they could be exposed to, the nature of the response to an emergency could be very different. If your urban lone workers are exposed to people-based risks you will probably want a police or ambulance response, if your outdoor rural lone workers are exposed to environmental risks you will probably want a mountain rescue type of response. The type of lone worker monitoring solution you choose needs to be able to supply the correct response for you.
9. Training and customer support
And finally do consider the level of training and customer support you and your lone workers will need to ensure the solution you choose is properly implemented across your business. Good training at the beginning when the system is first adopted pays huge dividends in terms of engagement and ROI on your investment into the system. Responsive customer support when you or your lone workers need it ensures the training is embedded and any user error or technical issues are solved quickly.
10. Assessing the Trackplot lone worker monitoring solution
Click here for our summary of the Trackplot system so you can easily establish if we are suitable for your lone worker safety needs.