Common Lone Worker Safety Challenges (and how to overcome them)

Common Lone Worker Safety Challenges (and how to overcome them)

Published March 18, 2024

6 minute read

From keeping in touch when they’re out on the road to ensuring they can get immediate help when they need it – lone worker safety is not always straightforward.  

Here we explore some of the top challenges businesses face when it comes to keeping their lone workers safe and how you can overcome them.  

Challenge 1: My lone workers keep forgetting to
check-in

 

Manual safety measures like buddy systems, diaries, and check-in calls to ensure your lone workers are safe can be unreliable and leave employees vulnerable to harm.  

Whilst having a manual system is better than having nothing at all, these types of safety measures can be flawed. They put the onus on the employee to remember to update their diary and make a check-in call. In reality, people are busy, appointments change and calls get forgotten.  

Manual systems can also be flawed from an administrative perspective. They require an extremely robust set of procedures to be followed at a team level. For example, who monitors that diaries are updated? Who records that check-in calls are made? Is there a dedicated person who is responsible for these tasks? Do buddies take their role seriously – or would they assume their colleague was just busy if they didn’t call when expected?  
 
Plus, if an employee does go missing, manual systems rely on retrospective information – meaning all you have to go on is where they were supposed to be.  

It's these types of unknowns – and the huge capacity of human error – that mean buddy systems and check-in calls are now viewed as being of a lower standard in terms of health and safety provision.  

Solution: Lone worker solutions address many of the weaknesses of manual check-in systems  

 

Specialist lone-worker solutions provide a more robust way to protect staff because they have the functionality and surrounding service to ensure that employees are always protected.  

Moreover, you can actually check that employees are using them when they are supposed to be.  

StaySafe, EcoOnline’s Lone Worker Safety Solution, is an app and surrounding cloud-based monitoring hub that gives visibility of employee locations in real-time, as well as giving staff the ability to call immediately for help in an emergency via a range of alerts. StaySafe also has a check-in functionality, which, if missed, alerts a monitor to the situation so that it can be escalated.  

Dedicated lone worker safety solutions like StaySafe can also be linked to professional monitoring partners who take care of monitoring staff locations and responding to alerts – removing the burden of ensuring staff safety away from internal teams and colleagues and into the hands of trained specialists.  

Challenge 2: My staff aren’t using their lone worker devices  


When staff are issued with safety devices and they don’t use them, it not only leaves staff unprotected, but it's also a significant waste of investment.
 

A common type of lone worker device is an ID card worn on a lanyard or clothing that acts as a panic button in an emergency. However, many organisations have reported that staff aren't using them (leaving them uncharged, or in their bag or car).  

Of course, this is worse than not having anything in place at all. Manual systems for checking staff safety would have been replaced by a device, which in turn isn’t being worn, or is left uncharged in the office or car. On paper you have ‘done the right thing’ but in reality, staff are left more vulnerable than before.

Solution: Embed staff behaviour and make usage visible


Bottom line – you need to be able to see who is using the lone worker solution you invest in and when. This ensures that staff are protected and you are getting a positive ROI. 
 

As lone worker apps utilise cloud-based technology and sophisticated monitoring and reporting systems it is possible to see who is using – or not using – the app and follow up with specific team members to offer extra support.  

Our clients have access to a range of dashboards and reports, allowing them to drill down into staff usage and address any areas of concern. Our Lone Worker Solution also features in-app training, which all new users must complete, ensuring they are fully up to speed with how to use the app from the first time they log in. If they have any subsequent issues or queries, our customer support team is on hand via web chat, phone or email to provide assistance.  

Find out more about StaySafe

Challenge 3: My staff work in low-signal areas  


A common concern from organisations is, what happens if a staff member is in an area of low or no signal?
 

Solution: StaySafe provides 16% more coverage than other solutions 
 

StaySafe, EcoOnline's Lone Worker Solution, offers 16% more coverage in low-signal areas than any other lone worker app, via our low-signal mode which comes as standard for all app users.  

When low signal mode is active, the app only needs a single bar of signal2G connection to maintain communications with the monitoring hub. In addition, missed check-in alerts still signal in the Hub even if the employee has lost signal coverage completely.  

The StaySafe app seamlessly switches between all available connections to offer the very best level of connectivity and protection to your lone working employees.  

High-speed mobile data and Wi-Fi will always be the StaySafe app’s preferred connection, but in areas where connectivity is limited, Low Signal Mode is automatically activated.  
 
While in Low Signal Mode, session communications will continue to be sent to the Hub via SMS. Alerts and session functions will continue to operate as usual, with location data updating if an alert is triggered.  

Data is the first connection the StaySafe app attempts to make, but in areas where a signal cannot be made, low signal mode is automatically activated. While in low signal mode, session communications will continue to be sent to the Hub via SMS. Alerts and session functions will continue to operate as usual, with location data updating if an alert is triggered.  

Session Expiry and Missed Check-In alerts do not require connectivity. This means that as long as the employee begins a session while connected, alerts will be sent if they fail to check-in. This provides a no-cost solution when the signal is down.  

Low signal mode means that staff members who work in hospitals or other buildings with low signal or those who attend patients’ homes in rural or remote areas can still be protected.  

For very remote workers who operate in areas with no cellular signal at all, StaySafe can be connected via Bluetooth to a Garmin satellite device which then provides users with 100% global connectivity.  

Challenge 4: My lone-worker solution isn’t providing
value for money 
 

Another common issue when it comes to lone-worker safety solutions is a lack of value for money. Businesses can find that once they have signed a contract for a solution, they receive little or no support. The result is poor uptake of the solution and low ROI.  

Solution: Comprehensive onboarding and end-to-end support  

The purchase of a lone worker safety solution should include a high-level of wrap-around service, taking you from the initial launch and onboarding right through to contract renewal. In between, support should be on hand and regular catch-ups provided to ensure that you are still getting the maximum benefit from the solution.  

At EcoOnline we have a dedicated team who work with you to ensure that you get the most from your investment in our Lone Worker Solution 

Our clients benefit from a comprehensive onboarding and support service from the moment you begin working with us. This includes a dedicated Account Manager who will work with you to configure your Hub settings, through to interactive training and multiple support channels.  

For example, one of our Local Authority clients has achieved excellent results through our new onboarding and training process. We have worked closely with them to identify unengaged users and provide training, including our in-app training, emails, video content and tutorials, online drop-in sessions and user guides. This program of engagement and training has resulted in the number of active users increasing by an impressive 137.5% and the average number of lone working sessions run by their employees rising from an average of 600 to 1530 per month.  

Re-engagement is also important. If someone hasn’t logged in to the solution for a while, it is imperative that this is flagged and addressed. This can be done through access to dashboards and usage reports, helping employers to quickly identify and rectify any issues before they become embedded behaviours.  

Our customers also receive scheduled reports which enable managers to identify which members of their team are not using the app and follow up with them. Our Account Managers also have regular calls with clients to help identify any areas of improvement, such as gaps in staff training or high numbers of false alarms.  

In addition, within the StaySafe monitoring hub, inactive users and users who haven’t completed their training are also sent a series of re-engagement emails – similar to the emails we use during the onboarding phase – to help get them back on track.  

Likewise, if an employee has a problem with the solution, access to a dedicated support function is important so that issues can be resolved quickly – whether that is a forgotten password or trouble navigating the system. The Customer Success Team can be contacted with any queries via webchat, email and phone and currently holds a positive feedback rating of over 95%.  

Looking for a better way to protect your lone workers? Click below to discover how EcoOnline's lone worker safety software can help ensure every employee gets home safely. 

Find out more about StaySafe


Author Helen Down

Helen has worked within the health and safety industry for nearly a decade and has a background in growth marketing within the SaaS space. Throughout her career, she has written extensively about health and safety, risk, legislation, and lone working.

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