Protecting lone workers in industrial and remote environments

You are not alone even when you’re working in some of Britain’s remotest areas. That’s because communications devices developed to help protect employees reach almost everywhere, as Vaughan O’Grady discovers

The type of telecommunications systems and devices a company may use for lone worker safety depend on how it defines ‘lone worker’. Public-facing employees, for example, may need protection from hostile customers. But lone workers in remote areas or industrial sites will experience different threats and use different devices. For these workers André Malm, senior analyst with M2M/IoT market research firm Berg Insight and author of the report People Monitoring and Safety Solutions, says the threat is not usually from an irate public. “Your main threat is actually from the environment,” he states.

This could mean, for example, a worker falling off a ladder in a vast treatment plant, someone being involved in a car accident on a lonely road, or even forest wildfires, which, says Gavan Murphy, director of marketing EMEA at Globalstar, “in certain conditions can occur suddenly and spread rapidly, even in the UK”. And he should know. The Globalstar SPOT Gen 3 location-based messaging and emergency notification technology system, which uses satellite communication, has been used by the Forestry Commission in England and Scotland to help protect staff.

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