Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the risks faced by traveling workers and are providing a mobile worker safety solution. However, not all solutions are equally as effective at protecting traveling workers from the risks they may encounter, or for best ensuring their safety while in transit.
There are traveling workers (or “mobile workers”) in practically every industry - from computer technicians who travel from client to client, to realtors who show homebuyers around prospective properties. Regardless of which industry they work in, mobile workers are exposed to health and safety risks that do not exist in a static environment.
In some states, occupational safety legislation exist that require businesses to consider the health and safety of mobile workers. Some insurance plans offer discounts when businesses provide a mobile worker safety solution. But often, these solutions are not fully effective at ensuring their safety or providing a rapid response when necessary.
Mobile Worker Risks that Do Not Exist in a Static Environment
The risks faced by mobile workers can vary according to whether they travel short distances domestically, or travel vast distances overseas; but they generally fall into four categories: the public, the environment, slips, trips and falls, and other accidents or illnesses.
The public category contains some of the most dangerous threats to mobile worker safety - especially for mobile workers with disabilities, or mobile workers carrying cash, high value goods, or medical supplies as part of their work. These workers can be subject to theft, assault, unprovoked attack, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the event of a terrorist attack or shooting incident.
The environment category includes severe weather events, hostile animals, and dangerous or unhygienic conditions. These threats can be exacerbated when a mobile worker is traveling or working in an environment they are unfamiliar with, or when the nature of the risk is beyond any training they have received. In these circumstances, an effective mobile worker safety solution is essential.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls account for the majority of general industry accidents and are the second leading cause of all accidental deaths behind motor vehicle accidents. When an employee slips, trips, or falls, in a static workplace, there is usually a colleague to help them or call for assistance. Mobile workers often work alone and have to seek help independently - if they are able to.
Other Accidents or Illnesses
The category of other accidents or illnesses covers any type of in-transit event (including motor vehicle accidents) and illnesses that a mobile worker may not initially acknowledge as an illness until it develops into something more serious. This can be a life-threatening issue if it happens overseas, in a remote area with limited medical coverage, or if the mobile worker is working alone in an unfamiliar environment.
What to Look for in a Mobile Worker Safety Solution
A reliable and effective mobile worker safety solution ideally would be a personal safety app that connects mobile workers with their security team and 9-1-1 when an emergency occurs. In addition to a call directory for easy-to-find assistance and a content portal for on-the-go resources, the app contains two key features to enhance mobile worker safety.
The first is a safety timer that mobile workers can set as they leave to visit a client. The safety timer records the departure point and the destination point, and counts down to zero while the mobile worker is traveling. If the timer reaches zero and is not deactivated by the mobile worker, an alert is sent to the business, which can then be followed up by 9-1-1 or by colleagues in the area.
The second feature is geo-targeted push notifications. Businesses can use this feature to “check in” with a mobile worker periodically, or to send alerts relating to severe weather, travel disruption, or other dangerous event (i.e. active shooter event). Due to the app's geo-tagged location tracking software, if a mobile worker does not respond to the push notification, businesses know where to send help.
Ultimately, Health and Safety officials, emergency preparedness managers, and HR directors should look for a personal safety app that would enable their mobile workers to stay connected with their organization's safety and security personnel and empower them to prioritize their personal safety while at work.
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