Why Your Mobile Safety App May Fall Short for Workplace Safety
Many companies have taken important steps in developing safety procedures for those within their office walls, including safety plans that utilize safety apps on employees’ cell phones as they increasingly recognize the importance of workplace safety. However, employees who work remotely and often alone not only face increased dangers because they’re alone, but they are also often overlooked or not given the level of necessary attention when it comes to workplace safety. Lone workers, such as realtors, home health aides, utility workers and others regularly work out of sight of management or other colleagues, and they often face a multitude of social risks, such as assault, robbery or worse.
Many of these employees take solace in the fact that they are never truly alone because they always have their cell phones on them. With the increasing amount of mobile safety apps that smartphones offer, surely they’re covered, right? Unfortunately, using a cell phone or a mobile safety app as a safety device is not nearly as foolproof as one might think. Let’s look at where the safety app falls short.
While it is pretty standard to have your cell phone on you at all times, you still have to do some digging to access it. Not only will you have to dig through your purse, reach for your pocket or grab it from wherever you let it rest, but once you hold it in your hands, you must unlock your phone, and especially if you use a safety app, you will have to search to access it among your other menu items. All of these tasks may seem miniscule in an ordinary, every-day type of situation, but in an emergency, seconds matter, and the moments you take to fumble with your cell phone or search for your safety app among the many icons available could be the moments in which it takes your assailant to reach you or in which it’s too late to receive help.
Many mobile safety apps reassure their user by having them select a friend or family member to contact in the case of an emergency. When this is the case, you run into the issue of availability. Will the person you need to contact be available when you need them, or will their buzzing phone go straight to voicemail as they carry on with their quarterly meeting? That’s not the only issue: the person you reach out to may be available, but they are not trained or equipped to handle all emergency situations. They could likely go into panic as well and lengthen the process of getting you the help that you need. Your safety app cannot guarantee the emergency training that is required for many situations.
There is something about cell phone use in the event of an emergency that is especially troublesome: it can actually escalate a dangerous situation. This can happen one of two ways. In a more obvious scenario, a potential assailant could notice you using your cell phone and/or safety app as an attempt for help and grow angry. Not only could this cause them to do everything in their power to get the cell phone out of your reach, but it also could increase or speed up their level of violence towards you.
In a less obvious scenario, an assailant can actually use your phone to their advantage and hinder getting you the help you need. A well-known, tragic example of this occurred when realtor, Beverly Carter, was murdered. Her assailant used her cell phone to text her husband that she was out with friends and would be home late, attempting to delay the time before worry would set in and actions were taken.
SoloProtect lone worker safety solution was created with the shortcomings of a mobile safety app in mind. Fashioned as an identification badge holder, the device is not only discreet but is easily accessible via a lanyard around the neck or a lapel clip attached to a user’s shirt or belt. This makes it easily accessible so that its user can activate an alert with the push of a button without the knowledge of anyone else. Activating an alert enters a user into a one-way communication call with SoloProtect’s highly trained and certified Emergency Dispatch Center, available 24/7/365, eliminating many of the foreseeable problems associated with using a cell phone and/or a mobile safety app.
Want to learn how employees can de-escalate a threatening situation that has already arisen? View our white paper: How to De-escalate a Threatening Situation.