How do you guarantee lone worker safety?
Security companies and other employers relied on paper reports and radio check-ins to learn about shifts in the past. Today, the availability of lone worker systems means you always know your employees’ locations and that they’re safe. This includes GPS tracking and other two-way communication features.
Lone workers in industrial, healthcare, or custodial positions (like those working nights) and delivery drivers face an increased risk simply because they’re alone. It could be a medical emergency, workplace injury, or car accident. There’s no one nearby to provide immediate assistance or call for help if needed.
However, lone workers in security face added risks due to criminal involvement. A cardiac arrest, chemical spill, or slip-and-fall accident is just that – an accident. Security officers have to be prepared for acts of violence against them and/or the property they’re guarding.
Read on to learn how new technologies like guard tour tracking software can make a difference in lone worker management. Discover how it can help you meet industry safety standards and keep your officers safe.
What is Lone Worker Protection and Guard Tour Tracking?
Lone workers perform their jobs out of sight of their superiors. Lone worker protection is the equipment given to employees. It does things like:
- Detect hazardous substances
- Enable communications
- Provide their location to managers in the event of an emergency
One example? A badge that triggers an alert when exposed to toxic gas or after a specified period of inactivity by the wearer.
The security industry takes lone worker protection to the next level because of the added threat of outside aggressors. Not only does guard tour management software provide real-time GPS monitoring of officers on patrol, but the better ones also support advanced features. Guards can document incidents and dispatchers can quickly send help when called.
Why is Lone Worker Safety Important?
Lone worker safety is important because it allows employees to do their jobs with confidence. They can rest assured knowing that help is available if something goes wrong. Lone worker tools help minimize damage from incidents that can’t be contained by a single person. These tools can quickly alert authorities to a fire or call for emergency medical response.
Most importantly, lone worker safety should be a priority for you because it is the employer’s responsibility to protect lone workers from risk. You could be held liable for damages or hit with compliance violation fines. It could cost you if an employee is injured on shift and it’s proven you didn’t take adequate steps to protect them.
Top Lone Worker Protection Features for Security Firms
You have to provide lone worker protection. Let’s take a closer look at four key features a lone worker protection solution for security officers should provide:
1. Real-time Location Tracking
One of the most important lone worker protection system features is GPS security guard tracking. It allows you to keep tabs on a guard’s exact location at all times. This enables managers to:
- Make smart redeployment decisions
- Track the progress and speed of guards on patrol
- Make sure guards are where they’re supposed to be
- Ensure guards are safe
Many lone worker tracking apps take things a step further with geofencing systems and other alarm features. Geofencing works with the live GPS tracking feature of the guards’ device to create an at-a-glance map view of a site. Geofencing allows you to establish boundaries and checkpoints. You can also define permitted and restricted areas and receive notifications when guards enter and exit zones.
2. Automated Notifications and Check-Ins
Having visibility into where your guards are – or where they aren’t – and monitoring patrol speeds and routes are critical to keeping lone workers safe. Establishing geofence boundaries for a particular site means your lone worker system will automatically alert you by SMS and email if a guard were to go outside their assigned area. You can check in on guards and make sure everything is okay.
Checkpoints along guard routes also make it easier to track patrol progress and safety. Lone worker systems can send automatic notifications when a guard reaches a checkpoint or when they fail to show up on time. Like geofencing, automated notifications allow you to become aware of potential incidents, even if your guard hasn’t called in to report a problem.
Lone worker protection apps help reduce overtime expenses. Many support flexible scheduling and dispatching tools and provide automated overtime alerts to managers when guards are approaching hourly ceilings. You can more evenly distribute shifts, avoid overtime spending, and increase staff satisfaction by setting customized rules and alerts.
3. Panic Button and Emergency Alerts
Including a panic button ensures that guards can send immediate alerts to your dispatch team. This is great for situations when officers are in serious trouble.
The emergency alert must be taken as more than just a general call for help. It should trigger a series of automated, escalating notifications via email, text, and/or phone messages with the guard’s exact location to the right people. Your emergency contact can then take swift action to coordinate providing proper support. This can include calling units closest to the guard for assistance.
Responding quickly to an emergency can save lives.
4. Video Recording for Dispute Resolution
The best lone worker protection apps capture video evidence of on-patrol guard experiences. On-demand video recording provides indisputable evidence of what your security guard saw, heard, and how they responded to a situation.
This can be especially useful in proving guard or suspect actions in situations where there are no witnesses. The video doesn’t lie. A lone worker system that utilizes mobile features like video recording not only protects guards on patrol but also your firm and its reputation.
Video recording also helps with suspect identification. They can ensure you’re not relying simply on a guard’s memory for an accurate physical description. Images can instead be turned over to law enforcement to help identify the culprit, their clothing, or the make and license plate of their vehicle.
How to Implement a Lone Worker Protection System & Policy
How do you implement a lone worker protection system that’s right for your security firm? Here are five steps:
1. Identify Your Lone Workers.
Any guard posted to a site working alone for part or all of a shift is considered a lone worker. Examples include the officer guarding the entrance of a retail store, manning the booth at a gated residential community, or in a vehicle patrolling the campus or parking lot after hours.
2. Identify Common Hazards.
These are physical, environmental, or biological dangers associated with guard posts. Work with clients to identify any potential risks on the property. Make sure guards are aware of things like chemicals, viruses, trip hazards, hot surfaces and liquids, high voltage areas, valuable assets, aggressive customers, and other hazards.
3. Assess and Manage Risk.
It’s time to decide if taking on a certain client is worth the potential risk. What are the odds of something going wrong? You may struggle to fill the position at prevailing wages if the assignment is too dangerous. What steps can you put in place and what knowledge can you provide to minimize the chances of harm if the risk is reasonable?
4. Establish a Lone Worker Policy.
Draft a set of guidelines for the types of contracts your firm will and will not accept for solitary guarding services. Outline for clients the information they must provide your firm before assigning guards to a post.
Clients should list any hazards present (refer back to #2 on this list). Step-by-step safety procedures and processes should also be documented for guards to follow.
These can be used in the event of an emergency and must include preferences for how to report incidents. Part of your policy should establish a rule for supervisors to periodically visit solitary guards at their worksite. Check on their mental health and overall well-being.
5. Deploy a Lone Worker Safety System
The final element is to supply each guard with lone worker protection devices and software. Some apps run on smartphones, or you can provide tablets to officers in the field.
- The chosen solution should:
- Share real-time guard location
- Allow for check-ins, geofencing
- Support video recording
- Come equipped with panic button features
It should also provide in-depth reporting tools and dashboards for managers to monitor and communicate with frontline officers. Be sure the solution you choose addresses the hazards from step #2.
Protect Your Lone Workers with the TrackTik Guarding Suite
Officers have access to immediate assistance when equipped with effective lone worker software tools. Managers can rest assured knowing the exact officer locations at all times and that they’re safe. Clients have the peace of mind knowing their property is protected at the minimum expense and that backup is only a call away.
TrackTik’s Guarding Suite allows your business to operate with increased transparency and a better approach to client safety, while also ensuring that your employees receive the additional protection and support they need.
To learn more about how TrackTik lone worker protection software can maximize your resources, enhance scheduling, deliver better service, and ultimately improve your bottom line, book a free demo today.