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In today’s ever-increasing mobile workforce, employees are using their personal smartphones for work to access a variety of mobile applications. For those employees who work alone or remotely, a smartphone not only allows them to maintain contact with their supervisor or employer, it also enables them to access a range of apps on a device they are familiar with – and this can play an important role in their safety.
By Matthew Colley
Mobile apps can help lone workers anticipate potential signs of danger and assess whether it is safe to proceed in certain situations. Apps can also automate the check in/check out process for employees and provide another way to communicate with a supervisor or manager when mobile signal fails.
We’ve rounded up our top favourite apps, covering a wide range of industries, which every lone worker should have available on their smartphone.
A compass app is essential for those working alone in remote locations that they are less familiar with. Smart Compass is enabled by a magnetic sensor, which is used to measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields to help determine orientation.
With the British weather so temperamental, lone workers need to be sure of when the weather might take a turn for the worse, especially when working in forests, farms or even while driving in exposed areas. We like the ‘RealFeel’ temperatures within this app, and the fact that you can get an hourly forecast if you need to know the best time to carry out a potentially dangerous task outdoors.
Most lone workers should carry a torch, even if they don’t work at night. Torches can be useful to assist mobility in areas of low light, to locate keyholes and locks and attract the attention of others when in danger. The Color Flashlight app is able to easily activate a torch from the back of your phone.
LiftRight is a lifting safety app that helps assess the risks associated with manual handling tasks in the workplace. It calculates the Recommended Weight Limit (RWL) that defines the maximum acceptable weight limit over the course of an 8-hour shift. This app is ideal for those working alone in isolated areas of a warehouse, where they need to ensure they are lifting and handling objects in line with the recommended NIOSH Lifting Equation.
If you’re a building Security Guard, this free video surveillance viewer app allows you to view up to 16 IP security cameras from your iPhone; ideal if you need to monitor specific areas of a building whilst out on patrol.
FallClear assists competent and qualified persons working at height to calculate fall distances, and provides advice on how to estimate additional required clearance to account for deflection of horizontal lifelines, stretch of vertical lifelines, and swing falls. It evaluates Required Clearance for several Fall Arrest scenarios that the user identifies by selecting the applicable pictogram. It presumes that Personal Energy Absorbers (PEAs) always fully deploy when arresting a fall.
It may be necessary to assess health problems and prevent them escalating into serious injury whilst working alone. The NHS Health app provides a step-by-step guide on the best course of action for your symptoms, and will advise whether you need to call for emergency help.
As more and more organisations adopt lone worker policies and safety training, there is also the need to provide them with monitoring devices that make responding to any incidents fast and simple. LoneALERT’s protection app provides location information through the smartphone’s built in GPS/LBS location tracking technology, and a designated panic button that raises an immediate alert during any emergency situation.