Imagine a lone worker enters an area containing hazardous materials but stays too long – or worse still, gets into difficulty there. If they’re incapacitated having slipped, tripped or fallen, they might need help in a hurry. Yet GPS doesn’t always provide an accurate location for a lone worker in multi-storey buildings. How would you know what their condition is, and exactly where to find them? In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at our patented solution to this problem. It’s a handy Safe Hub feature called Safe Beacon, which connects the worker’s smartphone with Bluetooth-enabled i-beacons.
Responding to risk in specific work areas
In essence, Safe Beacon is a geofence and virtual perimeter in one. Safe Beacon communicates alerts between the Safe Hub platform and Bluetooth-enabled beacons placed discreetly around or within buildings and other structures. When a worker approaches an area protected by Safe Beacon, they will receive an alert on their lone working device. These alerts are entirely customisable and can communicate proactive safety warnings or dynamic risk notifications.
The geofencing and virtual perimeter features cover a range of different risk scenarios. It’s ideal for companies with potentially hazardous areas, for instance where exposure is time-restricted due to environmental factors. If specialist personal protective equipment (PPE) is required in particular zones within a building, Safe Beacon can issue reminders to workers to wear PPE before they enter the area in question. Alternatively, for companies with extensive premises, Safe Beacon can be used in internal or external areas which are difficult to monitor using visual technologies such as cameras.
Helping lone workers in practice with Safe Beacon
The first stage for deployment of our Safe Beacon feature is to install the Bluetooth-enabled ibeacons around an area to create a virtual perimeter or geofence. We can deploy the beacons discreetly or prominently, depending on specific circumstances and preference. The ibeacons are then paired with the Safe Hub App on each worker's devices. Safe Beacon can be used on the smartphone Safe Hub App and on intrinsically safe devices.
As soon as a lone worker approaches or enters an area monitored by Safe Beacon, an alert is sent to the worker and their line manager. Managers can deliver safety messages or instructions regarding PPE. Alternatively, lone workers can use the system to alert Safe Hub if they get into difficulty within high-risk or restricted areas. They can then be quickly located, and immediately provided with the appropriate emergency help.
Innovative technology boosts lone worker safety on the ground
Our Beacon Virtual Barrier module received a US patent in 2019. The patent recognises the links between our virtual barrier powered by Bluetooth-enabled beacons, the management platform for storing positional data from those beacons, and the software installed on a mobile device. While the UK patent for this virtual barrier technology is still pending, we’re hugely proud of the technology which powers this innovative virtual barrier solution.
Safe Beacon works on the Safe Hub App and our range of intrinsically safe devices. Indeed, it is clearly especially important for lone workers operating in potentially hazardous environments to follow strict safety protocols. For their employers, being able to remind them of their safety training is particularly helpful. And for the workers themselves, it’s a comfort to know that they can access help should they need it. It’s another element that makes the Safe Hub lone worker safety system so useful for lone workers in their everyday safety practice.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about our Safe Beacon and all the other Safe Hub lone worker safety features.
Post by Steve White
Steve is Chief Technical Officer at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He works closely with the technical development team and all LWS clients to ensure the effective deployment of Safe Hub. This guarantees the correct integration of Safe Hub with existing and legacy systems, its appropriate scalability, and the efficient operation of systems.