As a functioning lone worker safety system, Safe Hub is effectively an extension of each lone worker’s personal protective equipment (PPE).
For lone workers, there are many elements in ensuring their day-to-day health and safety. Whether they’re out and about with clients or working in their own home, they may need to respond to risks throughout their working day. Safe Hub is there to provide a valuable lifeline, as a worker’s best friend who has fast-track access to the emergency services. But for many roles, there are some more specific safety considerations. One factor is integrating Safe Hub with any personal protective equipment (PPE) which a lone worker uses. In the best-case scenario, a functioning lone worker safety system is in some ways an extension of PPE. In this blog, we’re going to look in more detail at how we can customise our lone worker safety system so that it is just that.
PPE and a fully functioning lone worker safety system
Our clients know what PPE their lone workers need on a daily basis. It may be specific clothing or footwear, hand protection, or above-the-neck protection such as hard hats, eyewear or ear protection. And of course, employers have a duty to supply the necessary PPE to all their workers. We work with this equipment to ensure that lone workers are protected in the best possible manner. This will include accessing emergency help or responding to alerts from managers with minimum delays. We’ll always design a bespoke package of lone worker protection for each of our clients. We’ll get the right combination of apps and devices by looking at the individual risk assessments of each lone worker on the ground.
Risk scenario #1: noisy environments
Many job roles require hearing protection. Hazardous noise affects about 30% of UK workers, and this is an area where the 2018 EU regulation on PPE increased requirements for employers to protect workers. Many organisations mitigate the effects of working in noisy environments by providing their workers with such items as earplugs, earmuffs or canal caps. For lone workers using this equipment, there may be issues with a lone worker safety device that only offers an auditory alert. We’d suggest a screen-based solution, such as ProtectMe or the Safe Hub App, where alerts can also be visual and provided by vibration, rather than just auditory.
Risk scenario #2: restrictive clothing
For other workers who require specialist clothing, it may be an even simpler issue around the accessibility of devices. Hi-visibility or protective clothing may come with limited options when it comes to keeping a device close to hand. Alternatively, there may be too many pockets, meaning that a lone worker in distress may not remember exactly where their device is. In cases such as these, we’d suggest a simple solution for one of our wearable devices such as SOS ID Badge. All of our wearables come with a range of options. These include belt clip, arm holster, wrist band or lanyard, to ensure that the device is within easy reach.
Risk scenario #3: cut-resistant hand protection
In still other cases, a lone worker may have a job role which requires cut-resistant hand protection. They may not be able to use a mobile phone touchscreen easily, as such screens are ‘capacitive’. In other words, the screen requires contact with something holding an electric charge, such as human skin. Unless the fabric of the gloves contains conductive thread, it won’t transmit the electricity needed to operate the screen. Fortunately, Safe Hub has solutions for situations such as these, offering devices for workers to summon emergency help without removing their gloves. We’d suggest SOS Fob or Spot Gen3, as workers can trigger a Red Alert at the push of a button rather than the tap of a screen, saving potentially valuable seconds.
A word on women’s workwear
Gender inequality at work remains a hot topic, especially as the number of women in traditionally male-dominated industries increases. The gender balance campaign group WISE has calculated there are around 1 million women working in core science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) roles. Yet for many women in these sectors, getting properly sized PPE can still be a struggle. From a lack of data at the design stage to misplaced efforts to ‘feminise’ workwear, there are many challenges.
When choosing equipment and technology that protects their workers, employers are making great strides at recognising difference without discriminating. One area where they can be assured that women’s safety at work won’t be compromised is with the Safe Hub lone worker safety system. When we’re deploying at any new client, we always carefully consider risk assessments to fit a lone worker safety system to the individual, not the gender of the job holder.
Further, all our dedicated devices are ideally sized; we don’t offer oversized tablet-phone hybrids which are uncomfortable to fit in one (smaller) hand. Our wearable devices come with a range of options, so we’re not tied to end-users having pockets. For instance, the SOS Fob fits discreetly in the hand but can be worn on the wrist, upper arm or around the neck. What’s more, we’re determined to use the right language. We’re proud to have a reactive safety feature called Worker Down, when many in the health and safety sector refer to ‘Man Down’.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about how Safe Hub fits in with lone workers’ PPE, and how we work beyond gender stereotypes.
Post by George Stavrinidis
George is Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He believes passionately that everyone should be protected and supported at work. George supports LWS clients to make sure they enjoy the most effective relationship with the team and maximise the effectiveness of their deployment of Safe Hub.
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