Protecting lone workers with app, cloud-based hub
Workers can sometimes be situated at remote locations, or unmanned sites, where they are out of contact with other workers or members of the public for extended periods of time. Poor phone reception in these locations can make it difficult to notify emergency services if there is an issue while staff are alone in the field.
Throughout Australia and New Zealand, lone working is subject to specific requirements stated within the Work Health and Safety Acts and Regulations applicable to the state or country. Veolia’s Water Division, situated across Australia and New Zealand, sought technology that would help it to adhere to Section 48 of the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.
In late 2020, Veolia made the decision to review and standardise its lone worker solution. Before deciding on a new solution, the company first trialled the StaySafe app to assess its suitability.
StaySafe is a smartphone app and cloud-based monitoring hub that provides visibility of an employee’s location while they work alone. In an emergency, workers can use the app to raise a variety of alerts to ensure that help is sent immediately to the right location. The free trial allowed lone workers to use the system during their normal workday and when responding to call-outs after hours. It also enabled users and managers to test a number of different scenarios to check the app’s usability, functionality and response process.
“At the end of the trial, over 92% of Veolia’s trial participants said they would prefer to use the StaySafe app compared to our old system,” said Scott Murphy, Manager Operational Excellence at Veolia Australia/New Zealand.
Following the successful trial, Veolia switched the 60 operators and maintenance staff across its 25 Hunter region sites to StaySafe. Since that time, Veolia has moved an additional 20 staff across three sites in the Illawarra Region to StaySafe.
“Part of the value provided to Veolia and our employees is the ability to easily raise an alarm and get help, or, if an incident occurs, be easily located by emergency services,” said Karen Arkinstall, Compliance Manager for Veolia’s Hunter Water contract.
The StaySafe app is linked to a secure cloud-based hub that provides businesses with real-time updates on the safety status of their lone workers. In an emergency, employers can accurately locate their staff on a map and send immediate assistance to them. The hub is customisable and allows employers to create tailored reporting lines and escalation procedures to ensure lone workers get the help they need in an emergency.
The positive feedback from lone workers who were a part of the trial included:
- ease of use of the solution as a whole;
- in-app training that made rollout of the app quick and smooth;
- ability to configure the alerts such as man-down, and panic alarms;
- GPS accuracy, which allows for faster response times if a lone worker is in danger;
- highly visible red button that is easy to push in an emergency and easy to change or cancel.
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