A customer, trying to implement a lone worker protection system to help keep his lone workers safe, is getting some serious push back over the issue of tracking.
Their team of technicians regularly work by themselves for part of each day, and consequently face increased levels of risk with no-one nearby to come to their help in case of accident or emergency.
The employer wants to introduce a smartphone based lone worker tracking system that sends automatic alerts in case of panic, non-movement or upon expiry of a user established tracking session. The system uses the GPS and GSM networks to monitor & map the location of each worker in real time. If the employee gets into trouble, because they know exactly where they are, the employer can then respond and send help quickly. Rapid response can at times mean the difference between life and death.
The tracking sessions can only be set up by the employee, not the employer, and are specifically designed that way to circumvent any question of snooping by the employer.
The employer’s only consideration is to provide a safe workplace and help reduce risks that lone workers face every day, and is introducing the system at their own expense. They have no intention of checking up to see if people are doing the right thing, though the system does provide the capability of doing so if it were to be used in that way. Apart from the basic intention to keep people safe, the employer also has a duty of care to fulfil – to provide a safe workplace, safe systems of work, and an effective means of communication with each worker. The penalties of not doing so can be stiff.
However, the team is now up in arms about being tracked, as they say it is a pretext for the employer to spy on them and demonstrates a lack of trust, so they’re pushing back on adopting the system.
So why would you turn down the opportunity to benefit from a system that helps keep you safe? Lone worker safety devices, supported by all-important back-end systems, policies and procedures reduce risks, and also offer peace of mind, not just for the worker, but also for their families and colleagues as well. It’s unfortunate but things happen out there. People slip and fall, have heart attacks, fits, get assaulted. Most people would be grateful you would think that their company’s looking out for them – actively taking steps to make sure they’re safe. Lots of people, especially those who’ve had a bad experience in the past, actually want their employer to know where they are, and to know they will send help swiftly if they got into trouble. Wouldn’t you?
There are some shocking stories about lone worker accidents, assaults, holdups. They happen all the time. But most of us are ok most of the time aren’t we? So I’m curious to know, how do you feel about being tracked? What is your experience? What are the pros & cons in your view? Do you know of cases where tracking has helped someone, or been abused? Is it a condition of employment? How would you deal with the team of technicians?