Employee Monitoring for Safety: Why GPS Tools Don't Measure Up
With an increasing number of employees working remotely and often alone, employee monitoring has become an essential key to keeping lone workers safe. After all, since they are alone, it is important to be able to find them as quickly as possible to provide them with the help they need in the event of danger. Many companies rely solely on GPS tools for employee monitoring purposes in order to locate their employees in the event of an emergency. However, for many scenarios this simply is not enough. Let’s think about it:
Buildings Have Multiple Rooms and Floors
Although your lone workers work outside of your office building, this doesn’t mean that they don’t enter other large buildings during their work day. While GPS tools can provide an address or a general area, this does not account for locating someone in a building with multiple stories or even multiple rooms. Think about what you see if you’ve ever used a GPS tool: you see an indicator of the general area of where a person is in reference to nearby streets. However, most all public buildings have several rooms and multiple floors. In the event of an emergency, would knowing the general vicinity of your employee be enough? Think about trying to find someone in a hotel, a library, an office building or even a shopping center. How long would it take you to locate them once you were inside the building? In dangerous situations, when seconds count, you simply cannot afford to be guessing. Successful employee monitoring requires more specificity.
Not All Areas Are Near Roads
Using GPS tools for employee monitoring and safety doesn’t just raise an issue in buildings with multiple floors and levels. As previously mentioned, GPS gives an indicator as to where someone is by providing the names of nearby streets. However, many employees who work alone, such as those in oil and gas and utility workers, often spend their time in remote areas away from nearby roads. In cases like this, GPS tools can only lead you so far before it becomes a game of hot and cold in order to find your employee. As discussed, an emergency situation does not allow for the time involved in guesswork.
We are not suggesting to leave GPS tools out of your employee monitoring strategy completely. GPS can provide valuable information when it comes to locating an employee. However, employee monitoring for safety can only rely on technology, like GPS tools, to a certain point. In order to truly be able to locate your lone workers quickly and accurately, employee monitoring should also involve your employees’ use of a user activated pre-recorded message or a check in/check out system. Employees who work alone should always take note of where they are, what floor they’re on and room they’re in if applicable and how long that they will be there. Employees’ records of where they are add the human element that GPS tools are missing. Employees can take note of any helpful landmarks, hurdles or items about their location that might not otherwise be known and fill in the blanks that GPS tools leave empty, taking the guesswork out of finding them when timing is critical.
There are several different options for employee monitoring for safety. Employers should tailor how they carry out a check-in/check-out system based on what makes most sense for their work environment. SoloProtect’s lone worker safety solution provides one option that allows employees to be proactively involved with increasing their level of safety on the job seamlessly via a “yellow alert.” Using the GPS-capable SoloProtect device, which provides employee monitoring for safety by allowing employees to connect with our highly trained Emergency Dispatch Center, users can record a short message regarding contextual information of where they are. This information is stored and accessed by the Emergency Dispatch Center in the event of an emergency and the subsequent raise of a distress alert.
Want to learn more about employee monitoring for safety? Access our free guide here.