Mitigating risks for lone workers in potentially unsafe situations

Tuesday, 17 January, 2017 | Supplied by: SafeTCard Australia Pty Ltd

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The Australia-wide SafeTCard lone-worker safety solution was recently implemented at a federal government agency in order to meet its goals of safety for all, and contributing positively to staff wellbeing and achieving zero harm.

With around 650 staff operating across Australia, one of the agency’s key tasks is inspecting either tenanted or vacant properties. Property managers have, in the past, been faced with unsafe situations when undertaking field duties, including, but not limited to, being locked in a bathroom, being bitten by a snake at a vacant property, entering a vacant property containing squatters and entering a property where firearms were on the kitchen bench.

With changes in modern technology, mobile phones were no longer the highest level of risk mitigation technology available. And as staff already have a number of tools of trade to carry when on duty (including mobile phones and iPads), the agency needed to find a solution that required little behavioural change and could be readily incorporated into existing tools and uniforms.

The agency determined it was critical to increase the capability of workers to effectively undertake risk mitigation at every point of their start-to-end journey — before they leave the office to when they return. It needed to find a suitable portable duress solution and a means for field workers to seek assistance, including readily communicating back to a base.

The agency has now implemented the SafeTCard First Response Program, which is a multifaceted program that takes all preventive steps to avoid escalated situations arising. In the unlikely event that a situation becomes high risk, staff are able to activate an alarm that immediately opens a direct line of communication to a monitoring station.

The agency has reported that the SafeTCard program has resulted in improved overall safety, increased capability of workers conducting field work through training provided and a direct communication link for workers in the field. According to reports, staff now feel supported to do their work. Safe work processes can be easily communicated to staff, leading to greater staff engagement, less absenteeism and increased accountability throughout the organisation.

Founded by Bob Hoult, with over 30 years in the security industry, SafeTCard was started in 2010 to solve the need for safety and productivity of lone/isolated/remote and high-risk workers throughout Australia. The technology has a discreet form factor that provides: emergency duress, GPS coverage, man-down alerts, geofence, amber alert and 24/7 call centre. It is designed to assist organisations to meet their ‘duty of care’ requirements for isolated, lone or high-risk workers and provide a mobile workforce platform for real-time management of large workforces. Easy to implement and administer, the customisable device is ISO 9001 certified and also meets the International BS8484 (UK standard) for lone-worker devices.

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