Enhancing the Safety and Wellbeing of Lone Workers

There is an obvious need for safety solutions to protect workers, and more specifically, lone workers, in the United States.

When it comes to employee safety in the workplace, more specifically, the safety of lone workers in the workforce, there is an unspoken issue in the United States. The frequency of lone worker incidents is severely underreported. Only within recent years has reporting been available around “self-reported” incidents to shed light on lone worker safety. The true cost and safety risks for companies and their lone worker employees are only beginning to be explored. However convincing data has shown that early adopters of worker safety equipment, including Digital PPE, can help to enhance the safety and wellbeing of lone workers across multiple industries.

Exploring the Numbers

Although the true number of workplace incidents for lone workers is severely underreported, data through surveys are starting to shine light in the area. For example, according to a StaySafe survey, 68% percent of companies out of the 478 surveyed, reported an incident involving a lone worker, while 20% if those incidents were labeled “quite serious.”  

Let that number resonate – 68% of companies report having a safety incident involving a lone worker. That’s 2 out of every 3 companies. Pivoting to the overall cost of reported workplace injuries, workplace injuries accounted for 47.4 billion in lost wages and productivity costs, according to Injury Facts. When you add medical and administrative costs, workplace injuries cost 167 billion in losses across the workforce. 

Workplace injuries cost

$167B in losses.

Lone Worker Safety Hazards and Concerns

44% of 224 lone workers felt unsafe on the job due to working alone

Overall safety risks increase for lone workers due to several factors. The inability to get help after a workplace incident is key among them. Many lone workers work during irregular hours and often work in areas with limited or no cell phone service. This makes receiving help in the event of an incident difficult. According to a survey from TracPlus & Ground Control, 44% of 224 lone workers felt unsafe on the job due to working alone. These safety concerns are not confined to field workers in remote areas. Hospitality, real estate, and social workers also deal with the same safety concerns, but with an added layer of risk from potential violence in the workplace.  

While there is a glaring need for workplace safety solutions across multiple industries, there’s also resistance from both companies and employees to adopt safety solutions. For many companies, it’s a matter of cost and scalability, yet for employees it’s an issue of data protection and privacy.  

Best Practices for Implementing New Safety Solutions

Three key factors influencing company resistance to implementing a workable safety solution are finding a solution that works for the specific type of industry, cost, and the ease of scalability. For instance, the needs for a government looking to provide protection for its social workers look different than the needs of a commercial air compressor servicing company.  Social workers may need a potential way to discretely call for help through their safety solution, while a commercial air compressor servicing company may be looking for a solution to have employees on the job check in during various stages of their assignment to ensure the employee is still safe and responsive.  

Cost and scalability can be addressed by finding a solution that can easily integrate with existing equipment already used by the company. Mobile applications, such as the Becklar WorkerSafety Pro app, tend to be the simplest and most cost-effective way to implement safety solutions. The low cost of the app, combined with the ability to integrate with phones or smartwatches that employees already have, makes it one of the most cost-effective, streamlined, and scalable safety solutions available.  

Data Privacy

From an employee standpoint, data privacy is a key factor in resistance to the implementation of Digital PPE, or mobile-connected safety solutions. In a survey of 102 environmental health and safety employees, 65% said data privacy was the main point of resistance to adding a digital wearable safety solution. Workers don’t want their movements tracked or have sensitive information such as their health data shared.  

Being transparent about how the data is being collected and used by the safety device is one of the best ways to combat resistance. For instance, the Becklar WorkerSafety Pro app will never share health data, such as heart rate, with an employer. Location data is only shared when an emergency or SOS is triggered. Employees can feel at ease knowing that the Becklar WorkerSafety Pro app keeps their personal data private.

Another way to encourage the implementation of a safety solution is to educate employees about the technology, and why it is being used, and involve them in the implementation process. Employers should request feedback from employees about the safety solution. A trial period is an excellent way to slowly implement a new safety solution and help ease any reservations from employees about any new safety requirements. 

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Final Thoughts on Lone Worker Safety

There is an obvious need for safety solutions to protect workers, and more specifically, lone workers, in the United States. While we briefly examined the monetary costs for companies and employees, resistance points to implementation, and best practices, the National Safety Council Program, WORKtoZERO, provides a more in-depth white paper on employee safety and implementing safety solutions that can be found here 

If you’re considering a safety solution for your company and employees, Becklar Workforce Safety Solutions are the most comprehensive and customizable solutions in the market. We leverage our innovative applications, powerful devices, feature-rich dashboards, and award-winning monitoring to provide peace of mind to your teams while saving your business money. Our solutions are created to protect people who work alone, at height, or in hazardous environments, across a wide variety of industries. Learn more by speaking with one of our Becklar Workforce Safety specialists today.