3 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Employing Lone Workers

lone workers

 

Employing lone workers is in many ways different from employing your regular staff. We took a look at the three most important things you might want keep in mind when it comes to ensuring their safety.

1. Most workers are lone workers. Some are just more likely to slide under the radar.

Many people assume that lone workers are mostly maintenance staff that attends sites alone and out-of-hours. In fact, anyone who is alone when on the job can be classified as a lone worker.

This includes everyone from those who man the checkout at a gas station after hours, office workers who travel to business meetings alone. As you can see, even if you spend only a part of your working hours alone, you’re classified as a lone worker. For instance, a cleaner who leaves the office when everyone else is already gone is a lone worker — in spite of arriving when the building was still full of people. Also, it doesn’t matter if they’re employed or freelancers who work alone.

The term “lone worker” doesn’t only apply to wind turbine maintenance staff or, let’s say, isolated oil rig workers. Still, because of this misconception, many managers in all kinds of industries fail to identify the lone workers they oversee.

2. As an employer, you’re required to ensure safety of your lone workers — it’s something everyone will benefit from.

Lone workers in all industries need to be protected. While some of they might work in hazardous environments, the real danger arises from the fact that they work alone. This means that if something happens to them, whether it’s an intruder confronting the worker, malfunctioning machinery, a fall, or any other accident, there’s no one to help them. This is where implementing a wireless safety system steps in.

Persons in process

Obviously, having a safety system in place protects the lone worker most of all. However, the benefits of having a safety system go far beyond that:

  • The lone worker. When a lone worker can call for help quickly and receive an immediate response, the likelihood of harm decreases significantly. For this reason, many companies nowadays begin to implement various employee tracking systems. Second, the lone worker won’t feel as isolated as before which increases confidence and productivity. Finally, lone workers will feel more valued by the employer.
  • The manager. Use of an emergency tracking device creates a clear assessment trail. This helps the manager see how often lone workers encounter problems. At the same time, it means that the manager has a clearly delineated list of responsibilities when it comes to overseeing lone workers.
  • The organisation. When employees feel secure and serious accidents are scarce, investors and stakeholders feel secure. At the same time, fewer accidents lead to fewer breaches of legislation and employee lawsuits.
  • The police. Outside organisations such as the police will also make use of integrated lone worker emergency system. This way emergency responders will be more effective in handling alarms than delayed phone calls. At the same time, these systems reduce the number of false alarms.

In the end, worker safety benefits the whole community. Lone workers and managers are able to relax, knowing there’s a standard safety system in place in case of emergency. Organisations are able to attract the best employees. Companies don’t have to pay for employee lawsuits and work that is not performed due to work accidents. Positive effects are far reaching.

 

3. Lone workers require different types of monitoring.

Most employees are easily monitored and their working environment is relatively easy to control. After all, you can normally find them in the company offices. When it comes to lone workers, there are other variables you need to consider:

  • Can one person adequately control the risks of the job?
  • If a person has a medical condition, are they able to work alone?
  • Is the lone worker properly trained to prevent and cope with unexpected situations?
  • How will the person be supervised?
  • Do I have effective means of monitoring the lone worker?

All of these needs can be met through careful safety training and effective use of modern technologies. Lone workers need to be trained to identify risks in the workplace by themselves and should a volatile situation arise, they need to know how to handle health and safety issues.

Level of supervision

This is closely tied to the level of supervision. The level of it, is a management decision which needs to be based on a risk assessment — the higher the risk, the higher the level of supervision required. Especially if a lone worker is new to a job, it might even be advisable to have them accompanied at the beginning.

In the end, however, every lone worker will have to make do with remote monitoring. For this reason, effective means of communication are of essence:

  • Supervisors periodically checking on people working alone;
  • Pre-agreed regular intervals of contact between the lone worker and supervisor — either by phone, radio, email, or other technology
  • Automatic warning devices which trigger a warning if specific signals are not received periodically from the lone worker
  • Checking in once the lone worker’s task is completed

Bear in mind that in most cases it is a combination of several of systems that will end up being most effective. Which solution will you choose to use will depend on the work environment, hazards present in the workplace, and the tasks done by the lone worker.

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

Safety Apps are the Future of Reporting Incidents on Public Transport

incidents on public transport

 

When you see a problem for which you’ve built the perfect solution, you often get so excited you just want to shout: “Here! Come on! I could have solved your problem! I’ve got just the tool you need!” And even though these moments arise quite randomly, they always show you new ways of making use of your solution.

One of those moments happened to me last week during the three hours I had to spend on a train. What began as a pleasant trip, turned into a really annoying experience for almost everyone involved. I ended up wishing a solution similar to ours was implemented on public transport everywhere!

Question: How do you report an incident when you’re being watched by the attackers?

Actually, the ride had been quite pleasant for the first two hours or so. I brought my bicycle onboard, took a seat right next to it, and started a conversation with a man who was also travelling with a bike. After all, a shared passion is a great conversation starter.

This only lasted until two shabby looking men entered the compartment. They were obviously under influence of alcohol. When they asked me if they could sit right next to me, I said no.

Because of my reaction, they picked me as their main target. Since changing seats wasn’t an option (as my bicycle was still fixed to the wall), I had to spend the rest of the journey fencing off their verbal and well-nigh physical attacks. I only got a break when they turned their attention to some of the girls traveling in the same compartment.

The worst thing about this regrettable situation was how little we could do about it. As we saw that a direct confrontation wouldn’t help anything, we simply had to endure their unacceptable behaviour until the end.

Use a personal safety app to report incidents on public transport.

All that time I was clutching my phone in hand, thinking about how easy it would be to report the incident through a text message or an app. No risk involved. No direct confrontation. We could have solved this problem in about 5 minutes. Moreover, the solution itself is by no means futuristic and could be implemented with relative ease. Here’s why:

  1. The railway company is already interested in dealing with this kind of situations. It had signs printed all over the place, saying you can report any problems to the nearest conductor. The sign also encouraged us to call the police in case of a serious incident.
  2. Reporting an incident was the issue. During that last hour of my journey, I wasn’t lucky enough to see one. At the same time, I wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable calling the police in front of these two men. First, it would blow things way out of proportion. Second, doing so would irritate the two men even more. Third, they weren’t really breaking any law, they were simply being incredibly unpleasant. Reporting them to the conductor would certainly be the most appropriate response.
  3. Wireless network already present in every car. It wasn’t just my phone that seemed regrettably useless to me in the above situation. The wireless network in every car looked equally impotent. How easy would it be to use it be to summon help through local network, even in areas without Internet coverage?
  4. There are already similar solutions being used in some parts of the world. For instance, two years ago, Indian Railways began to use R-Mitra app to improve women’s safety on their trains. Female passengers were given a technology that allows them to call for help with a single tap. There are also similar system in place in many cities across the US as part of the See Something / Say Something anti-terrorist initiative. The list goes on.

Mobile technologies are the future of reporting incidents on public transport and beyond.

My unpleasant train ride back home shows the potential of personal safety solutions that goes way beyond using it when one’s life is in danger.

Using these technologies in new ways could even help safe lives when it will come to it. The problem is that you simply don’t encounter life threatening situations too often (fortunately). For this reason, most people don’t feel like they would need a safety app installed in their phone. However, once you widen its scope of usability (so it becomes usable even in less threatening situations), there’s a good chance you’ll have it by hand when you’ll need it.

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

7 Personal Safety Tips That Might Save Your Life Tomorrow

 

When things go south, it’s the little things that decide the outcome. If you  stay calm and equip yourself with relevant knowledge, even the most gruesome situations can be resolved with little to know damage to your well-being.

Which is why we’ve put together this list of personal safety tips. If you keep them in your mind, they might save your live of lives of your loved ones someday. You know, the winter has come and the night is dark and full of terrors. Get ready!

1. Always let others know where you’re going to be.

Make sure there’s always at least one person who’s going to look for you in case of emergency. This rules applies particularly to people who live alone.

You probably have a routine, like most people. If you decide to deviate from it, make sure someone knows where you’re going to be. This way, if you fail to show up at a given time and place, someone will begin to worry about you and try to reach you, eventually leading to a rescue operation.

It only takes a short phone call. Call your mom, your significant other, your flatmate, it doesn’t matter. If you want to be extra safe, tell them the exact locations and times, or even people you’re going to meet. Or you can use a personal safety app .

2. Never pull out any weapon.

“Never bring a knife to a gun fight.” When it comes to personal safety and self-defense, the opposite is true. In other words, unless you’re exceptionally skilled with a weapon, you don’t want to bring it into a fist fight.

If you pull out a weapon in a fight, you expose yourself to the risk of the attacker disarming you and using the weapon against you. Besides, robbers usually only bring weapons to intimidate and coerce. You don’t want to make these situations potentially more dangerous than they already are.

3. The bystander effect is real. Call out one person from the crowd.

Everybody knows the case of Kitty Genovese, even if not under that name. In 1964, Genovese, 28 years old, was stabbed, sexually assaulted, and murdered in front of 38 witnesses. The attack reportedly lasted for at least half an hour during which time Genovese screamed and pleaded for help.

Yet, not a single one of the witnesses helped her, each of them assuming that others would take responsibility. Psychologist call this the bystander effect.

For this reason, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, point directly at the nearest person and ask them for help like that. This way, they you’ll have a much better chance of receiving the help you need.

4. Always try to imagine all the possible dangerous situations.

Never stop being aware of your surroundings. If you’re walking alone, don’t be on your phone and take out your earphones. Once you give up one of your senses, you dramatically decrease your chances of survival, should something dangerous happen. The most important thing is to see the danger coming before it hits you.

Once you’ve got all your senses ready, train your mind to always imagine all the possible dangerous situations. See that dark alley? You might want to take another way home, you never know what’s hiding there. Who’s the most suspiciously looking person on the tram? Make sure he doesn’t follow you. You get the idea.

5. Take a step forward when physically threatened.

When someone tries to intimidate your physically (e.g. an idiot who’s trying to pick a fight), take a step forward. Most drunk fighters are no heroes and only pick weaker or easily intimidated targets. If you take a step forward, you have a much better chance they’ll stop harassing you.

Sure, it can seem a bit counter-intuitive, since everyone’s first instinct is to protect oneself. For this reason, you should try to imagine the whole scenario beforehand so you know how to react.

6. When walking alone at night, call someone or fake a phone call.

Many sex workers use this trick when returning home after a night shift. They simply call someone to continually describe their surroundings as they commute through a city. The effectiveness of this strategy is two-fold.

First, there’s another person on the other end of the line. In case something happens to you, they’ll know it and will be able to summon help exactly to the place you’ve described.

Second, attackers usually prefer picking low risk targets. Once you have a phone in your hand, it defers attackers from approaching you, as it’s more risky than attacking a true lone walker.

7. When stuck in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore.

Riptide is a fast narrow current running offshore and cutting through breaking waves. If you live near the sea, you probably know this. You also know how dangerous it can be if you get caught in one.

The surest way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore, left or right, as they’re usually quite narrow and easy to escape.

download beesafe

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

Do You Want to Be Batman? Safety Apps Are Already Making It a Reality

 

Admit it. You only clicked on the title because of the Batman part. Naturally, who wouldn’t want to be Batman. As they say: “The most important thing in life is to be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.” And you know what? They’re right.

So to address the elephant in the room—Yes, you can indeed become a crime-fighting vigilante thanks to a safety app. Sort of. Perhaps not just in the way you’d expect. (It’s still pretty good though.)

Are safety apps opening ways for would-be vigilantes?

But let us start at the beginning. Last October, an app appeared on the App Store aimed at preventing crime. Although it was removed after only two days, it still managed to stir attention.

Called Vigilante, the app showed users where crime was happening in real life—and seemingly encourage them to help stop it. The app provided live video reports from crime scenes and near instant alerts to help people avoid becoming victims.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Only in theory. Vigilante went viral after a controversial promotional video appeared that showed actors using the app to prevent a would-be mugging.

In the end, the name of the app is also partly to blame. According the company’s CEO, the name Vigilante distracted people from the app’s core mission, which is to protect people and cities—not to encourage vigilantism. So they changed it.

Vigilante is back on the App Store now, under the new name Citizen. We can only hope that after the name change the app will encourage its users to be good citizens instead of good vigilantes.

safety app vigilante

Smart cities are already here. Data-driven approaches to safety in cities are an indispensable part of it.

So how does Citizen work? Once a call is made to 911, it lights up an area on your map.  In the case you’re anywhere near an incident, it’ll also notify you of possible danger.

Currently, the app is only available in New York but according to the Citizen CEO, he’s had inquiries “from all 50 states” in the US about launching in other cities. The main reason why it’s only available in NYC is that the company wants to get a better idea of how people are using this app.

In any case, Citizen is already incredibly popular. Since its launch in March, almost 50k users have already downloaded it. This number is quite astonishing considering the limited area where it’s fully operational.

However, the integration with the NYPD is where the true potential of the app starts to shine. The communication between the police department and citizens allows for collection of data that truly shape the smart city of today.

People in NYC are regularly using Citizen to check up on dangerous situations in their neighbourhoods. The app really shows that the solution is already in existence and ready to use. Once the responsible institutions take the first step, things begin to move surprisingly quickly. It’s another step towards the city shaped by real data, not by decisions of few elected bureaucrats.

Batman or Kick-Ass? Safety apps are creating citizen networks where everyone is responsible for everyone’s safety.

With the help of these technologies, everyone can become co-responsible for the safety in their neighbourhoods. The way people from Citizen say it, “it’s putting community back in community, where people are working together and people are staying safe and creating safety through this sort of citizen network we’ve created.” Fine. I know it might sound like a long stretch but doesn’t it make each of us a vigilante in one way or another?

download beesafe

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

5 Mobile Apps That Can Save Your Life This Summer

Mobile Safety Apps

Apart from pleasant new experiences, summer is also filled with danger. Fortunately, if you have a smartphone on you, you’re never alone. The same device that helps you find your way around Paris and waste your time watching videos of Shiba Inu, has the capacity to save your life too.

The combination of wireless connection, GPS, and camera, makes every smartphone a safety device that is available nearly to anyone. Whether you’re walking home alone at night, have concerns about the safety of your children, or perhaps you’ve just heard suspicious noise in your house—for each of these problems, there’s an app that helps you address it.

We bring you 5 safety apps that will help you stay safe this summer. In spite of their similarities, each of them is aimed at a different type of a user and deals with different problems.

Look at this smart safety apps

1. Drunk Mode — For those who love summer festivals.

Summer festivals and parties can quickly turn into stressful experiences if one of your friends goes M.I.A. Thanks to the app Drunk Mode and it’s feature “Find My Drunk” you’ll be able to find your friends as easily as they’ll find you.

All you have to do is to add your friends as your “Drinking Buddies” through Facebook, Twitter, or a text message, and you’re all set. Drunk Mode will track your location through GPS. Moreover, if you lose track of what was happening the night before, you can see a list of the places you went to last night.

Mobile Safety Apps: Drunk Mode

At the same time, Drunk Mode can also protect you from making drunk calls and texts you might regret in the morning. In doing so, not only it protects you from losing your friends but also your dignity.

In spite of Drunk Mode’s popularity at universities in the UK and US, it doesn’t run well on older Android devices. For this reason, some users complain about problems with the app’s stability.

In any case, Drunk Mode is definitely worth trying. If you love to go wild on summer festivals, you should have this app installed. Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free; Google Play Rating: 3.3 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Clearly focused on safety of drunk people– Unstable on older Android devices
+ Price– Unable to call from help directly from the app
+ Block drunk calling and texting– GPS is demanding on battery consumption

2. Sygic Family Locator — For families with children.

Similarly to Drunk Mode, Sygic Family also allows you to share you location with your close ones. As its name suggests, however, it focuses mainly on safety of families with children.

You begin by adding your close ones into Circles. As soon as they accept your invitation, you can begin to track their location on a map. The app will automatically notify you whenever they leave or arrive to places you consider safe (work, school, hotel). It will also tell you whenever your child comes to a place you deem unsafe. Instead of spamming your family with messages “Are you okay?”, you can discretely check it directly in the app.

Mobile Safety Apps Sygic Family

Sygic Family also allows you to set up when and with whom do you want to share your location. In case of an emergency, you can notify your contacts so they can come to your rescue. Finally, if you lose your device, Sygic will help you find it.

The app doesn’t offer a wide range of advanced security features. However, what it sets out to do, it does well. It was not by an accident that Sygic has become huge in the car navigation market.

For some, it might be problematic how this app handles privacy. The members of your group can see where you are every time you turn on the tracking, not only in case of emergency. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker but still something to consider.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a simple and dependable tool that would allow you to track movements of your closest ones, look no further. Whether you want to use it during a normal day or on a holiday, Sygic Family Locator is an excellent choice.

Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free; Google Play Rating: 4.0 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Easy to use– Few advanced features
+ Reliable and accurate– Lack of privacy settings
+ Price– Active GPS drains your battery

3. Companion

Companion wants to be your friend for a rainy day. Although it’s popular mainly at American university campuses, it’s perfectly usable in any other part of the world.

Similarly to other app on this list, you begin by adding contacts of people who’ll be your “companions”. They don’t even need to have the app installed. After that, all you have to do is to enter your destination and you’re ready to go.

Mobile Safety Apps Companion

If you don’t arrive to your destination on time, begin to run, someone yanks your headphones off, or your phone falls on the ground, Companion will ask you if you’re all right. Then you have 15 seconds to reply. If you don’t the app will automatically notify your companions that you might be in danger. You can also send the notification yourself or call 911 with a single tap directly from the app.

Similarly to the previous solutions, Companion is not without a fault. When we were testing it, the app would sometimes finish tracking before we could enter the building, leaving there a window for an attacker to act. Also, some features are only available in the US and people from other parts of the world cannot take advantage of them.

In most cases, however, Companion fulfils it’s purpose reliably and is certainly worth consideration. No other security app does offer so many ways of initiating a call for help. Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free;  Google Play Rating: 3.1 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Advanced activation features (running, fall, etc.)– Sometimes finishes tracking prematurely
+ Calls for help even if your phones gets stolen– Some features unavailable outside the US
+ Price– Active GPS drains your battery

4. Kitestring

Instead of the complexity of the previous solutions, Kitestring offers minimalistic simplicity. It doesn’t require GPS, internet connection, not even a smartphone. Kitestring functions exclusively as an SMS service. 

All you need to do is to enter your phone number at kitestring.io. This is also where you can add emergency contacts as well as modify the contents of the notification they will receive. When you’re done, all you have to do is to send a text message with the number of minutes in which Kitestring should check on you. Once the time runs out, Kitestring will send you a text message. If you don’t reply within 5 minutes, your contact will receive the emergency notification. This is why the service will issue a call for help even if you run out of battery or lose your phone.

Mobile Safety Apps: Kitestring

The man downside of this solution is that it cannot call for help immediately. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, Kitestring will only call for help after the timer runs out. Even then, however, your contacts won’t receive your GPS location. Unfortunately, this is the consequence of the service’s strict minimalist design.

In spite of its shortcomings, Kitestring has a lot to offer. Since it doesn’t drain your battery and doesn’t require an internet connection, it’s a perfect back-up solution. We especially recommend it in combination with some of the full-fledged safety apps.

Price: Free / SMS fee Google Play Rating: N/A

PROSCONS
+ Doesn’t require smartphone or internet connection– Minimalism
+ Doesn’t drain your battery– Cannot call for help immediately
+ Price– Doesn’t track your location

5. BeeSafe 

BeeSafe is a well-balanced mobile safety app that is ideal for lonely walkers who also prize their privacy.

Similarly to Companion, all you have to do is download BeeSafe, sign up, and set up your emergency contacts. Before every trip, you set up a timer and you’re ready go. Shortly before the timer is about to run out, the app will prompt you to reset it. If you don’t, your emergency contacts will receive an emergency notification together with your present location.

Mobile Safety Apps: BeeSafe

Just like Kitestring and Companion, BeeSafe can issue a cal for help even if you cannot call for it yourself. However, BeeSafe also wants to preserve your privacy, as it only relays your current location in the case of emergency. Unlike other solutions, BeeSafe also never stops tracking your position prematurely but only once you turn the tracking off. Finally, if you own a Flic button, you don’t even have to take the phone out of your pocket.

For some, the main disadvantage of BeeSafe might be its price, since the company recently switched to a paid model. Moreover, it doesn’t offer as many methods of activation as, let’s say, Companion.

In the end, however, BeeSafe offers a great compromise between the simplicity of use and reliability. Moreover, if you don’t want to trade your privacy for safety, BeeSafe is exactly what you’re looking for. Download it on Google Play.

Price: $2;   Google Play Rating: 4.0 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Privacy– Price
+ Flic hands-free support– Not as many activation methods
+ Simple to use– Active GPS drains your battery

download beesafe

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.