Lone Worker Protection

Lone Worker Protection

Posted 20 January, 2020 at 16:33

Author Suzanne Brogan on behalf of Brogan & Co Telecoms


Traditionally, lone worker protection has been provided through standalone devices such as key fobs and identity badges. These are referred to as dumb terminals as there is little or no ability to upgrade them or enhance their capability.

The NHS wanted to consolidate to one device in order to save costs and increase usage. Using the smartphone meant that standalone Lone Working devices and cameras could be made redundant. One device to carry, one device to charge and one device to fund.

This was restricted by the need for most sectors to use a lock code because of personal information held on the device. If a user needed to summon assistance, they would have to unlock the phone before making the call.

To overcome the lock screen problem, we invented "Shake to Dial". A vigorous shake of the phone overrides the lock screen (whilst leaving all other data encrypted) and makes a call to our Emergency Response Centre.

Since launching Shake to Dial in 2016, we have developed a wide and growing range of innovative safety and efficiency features which is seeing Jobtrac+ win business against the industry incumbents.

Our "Ubitrac platform technology" is very robust yet incredibly flexible enabling us to provide solutions for multiple sectors. Most of these features are included as standard within Jobtrac+.

Critically, our efficiency tools create a compelling return on investment which removes the cost burden of looking after employees.

Shake to Dial: A vigorous shake of the device overrides the lock screen and makes an overt call to our emergency response centre. We refer to this as overt as your phone will announce "calling emergency response". This has proven to be an excellent de-escalation tool.

Covert Emergency Call: This also overrides the lock screen for those instances when the overt announcement that accompanies the shake to dial call may inflame an attacker further. The user will feel one vibration when the call is placed and another when it is answered. Clients set up a duress word to call for immediate assistance.

The Arm: Our most used feature is our "digital arm around the shoulder" this enables users to call the Emergency Response Centre on a non-emergency basis when they are in a situation which for want of a better phrase “spooks them”. In the NHS, Nurses are often left to lock up clinics and surgeries on their own, a similar situation to key holders called out during the night. A walk across a dark car park for instance can make people uncomfortable for hours before they are due to leave. A Controller will stay on the line until the caller is safely in their car or at their destination.

The Arm is not able to prevent an attack, but in the worst-case scenario we know who the user is, where they are and that they are in trouble. We can then direct the emergency services to the location.

Live Mapping: Authorised users can view the live location of employees or colleagues. Authorisation varies greatly but we recommend that teams can see each other as they will recognise any unusual behaviour.

Amber Alert: Amber Alert should be used on every appointment, in reality it is used only for visits where the user feels there is a risk. A message is recorded on the phone listing the address, their concerns etc. If the property is hard to determine, they can take a photo, they then set an amber delay.

If they are happy when they are in the property, they can simply cancel the alert, if a problem arises after this, the user can utilise shake to dial or amber alert.

If the user is not happy with their situation, they let the amber delay expire and their phone will make a covert call to the Emergency Response Centre. They will feel a vibration when the call is processed and another when it is answered, use of their pre-arranged duress word or an obvious problem will lead to our Controllers bringing the police into the call to arrange assistance.

Static: It is surprising how many people are Lone Working although they are within their organisations premises. The red button under the desk is the obvious solution but increasingly there is no one to respond to it.

"Static" provides the red button as well as providing a generic amber alert for each visitor. Emergency calls are directed out of the building to our Emergency Response Centre where pre-arranged escalation procedures are put in place including bringing the police into the call.

Rip to Dial: A ripcord is provided to enable emergency calls to be made from a locked phone, ideal if the user has dexterity issues or has their hands full with equipment.

Many of our efficiency features further enhance employee safety.

As well as Jobtrac+, Ubitrac also run other products for the NHS, Educational Travel and white label products for a number of like-minded partners.

All products are backed by our dedicated 24/7 Emergency Response Centre (ERC). The ERC has been running without a break since September 2013, a fact of which we are incredibly proud.

The ERC is managed and predominantly staffed, by former RAF personnel, recruited from nearby RAF bases. They are continually trained to ensure the best care for our clients.

We developed and built the ERC from scratch, as we were unable to find anyone to outsource this costly overhead to who we considered offered the level of service that we required for our clients.

The ERC is dedicated to looking after the unique and ever changing needs of the Worlds mobile phone users. We do not and will not compromise on our client’s safety by multi-tasking – looking after vehicles, building, plant, CCTV etc. as our competitors do.

All emergency calls into the ERC are answered within 5-8 seconds, activating a virtual conference room. Our highly trained Controllers can instantly see who is calling, their location, their organisations escalation procedure along with the caller’s vehicle and medical details (if submitted).

Where necessary, we can bring the emergency services into the conference call to initiate a suitable response.

In reality, the main usage of the ERC is for users who are uncomfortable with their situation at that point i.e. last out of a building, having to negotiate a car park in the dark. In short, if a user is spooked, they can call in and our Controller will stay on the phone until they arrive at their destination or vehicle.

Whilst we are not able to prevent an attack, in a worst case scenario, we know who you are, where you are and that you have an issue. We are then able to inform the emergency services.

This provides critical peace of mind for users and their families. This has been particularly successful with Nurses in the NHS and Domiciliary Care sectors.

Our Controllers constantly monitor the Worlds newswires looking for incidents that may harm or hinder our clients. In these situations, we put in place an electronic Exclusion Zone, any handset in the zone when set or subsequently entering that zone is sent a message warning of the danger and where possible offered recommended solutions. These zones are used to alert our clients to any incidence from international terrorism right down local traffic problems.

All calls to the ERC are recorded and can be used as evidence of physical assault, verbal assault and increasingly a threat of litigation. This has been used on multiple occasions in the NHS.

Working with several NHS Trusts, it became obvious that Lone Worker protection was constrained due to budgetary constraints. Working together, we set about identifying areas where efficiency tools could be built into the Lone Worker device in order to generate a return on investment greater than the deployment and running costs.

The result is a solution that can save 5-6 hours per user per week.

Many of the features are included as standard in Jobtrac+, several are only available as part of our "Agile" add on.

Voice to Text: Turns the smartphone into a powerful Dictaphone which will upload your voice recording and then transcribe them into text. Recordings are retained for checking and the text is fully editable online allowing you to cut and paste into a document or user platform.

Photo and Video upload: Photos taken through Jobtrac + are uploaded to our servers and are associated with the location they were taken in. To enhance information Governance, media is auto deleted from the phone as soon as it hits the Jobtrac+ servers.

Text and audio captions can be added to media.

Video can only be uploaded via WiFi to avoid bill shock.

Snap Map: Ideal for proof or attendance as well as being an innovative addition for presentation of quotes, maintenance charges etc. You can select a time determined section of mapping, including media, and send just that section of the mapping to multiple email addresses.

Messaging: 256 AES encrypted messaging can be used for one to one, one to team and one to all. Jobtrac+ messaging is only available to people within your organisation, this prevents messages being sent outside of your organisation by mistake.

Search: Search for the closest person to an address with the necessary skills, provides distance from and ETA and enables admin to enter a message. When received, the user taps on "go to" which fires up their phones sat nav and takes them to the address.

Status: Enables users to hide their location from colleagues etc. when off duty but still enjoy the protection of the Emergency Response Centre 24/7.

MDM: Jobtrac+ provides basic Mobile Device Management such as remote wipe, remote lock, status reporting etc. within the standard portal. We are able to provide full MDM upon request.

Agile

Schedule: Users can download their daily schedule onto their smartphone, this is 128 AES encrypted if the screen lock is invoked.

Intelligent routing: We use intelligent routing to determine the most efficient route. Users can drag and drop the order to account for time dictated visits.

Intelligent appointment allocation: Avoids sending a user to an appointment who does not have the necessary skills.

Key safe code: Particularly helpful for the community health sector, when key safes are used, the code is shown on the handset only when the user is at the premises, inside a pre-set Geofence.

Auto Amber Alert: Creates an amber alert automatically before every appointment (see the amber alert in Lone Worker protection).

Many Company Directors and owners are not fully aware of the implications if one of their employees is involved in a fatal or serious accident whilst driving and using the phone.

Under the Health and Safety Act 1974, all companies must have a robust policy on Distracted Driving, as importantly, they must be able to demonstrate that the policy is enforced with all employees reminded on a regular basis of the policy and their responsibilities.

In the event of a fatal accident involving an employee distracted by phone usage, a proven failure to enforce the Distracted Driving policy can make the company and its Directors liable under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Since 2017, fines are unlimited and of a severity that would close down many companies, but it does not stop with losing your company. It is the Directors who are fined and the responsibility remains with them personally, even if their company fails. In the very worst instances, Directors face going to prison.

The driver can now receive a prison sentence of up to 14 years for causing an accident leading to a death whilst distracted and there have been calls for life sentences to be imposed in the worst cases.

It is also important to realise that having a conversation using Bluetooth at the time of the accident makes no difference whatsoever to the sentence, the offence is distracted driving or dangerous driving, it is not "using a mobile phone".

Q: What does ICED by Speed do?
A: When a phone or tablet exceeds 7 mph ICED by Speed blacks out the screen to prevent usage whilst driving.

Q: What happens when you try to use a phone that is ICED.
A: If the driver tries to use their phone whilst it is ICED, an audio announcement asks them to pull over at the next safe location. Once they have stopped, the phone is programmed to wait 60 seconds before it can be used.

Q: won't ICED also stop me using my phone when I am a passenger?
A: Users can override ICED for up to 24 hours if they are a passenger. This is a three-step process so it cannot be done accidentally. This feature can be allowed or disallowed, company-wide or for each individual. From a company point of view, if an employee says they are a passenger and then drives, they have made a conscious effort to deceive their employer, this effectively absolves the company if the user is then involved in an accident. Employers receive a message when ICED has been overridden, you can re-impose ICED from your admin portal and withdraw permission for that person to override if necessary.

Q: What happens if I have an emergency whilst driving, someone is chasing me for example.
A: You can still make calls to our Emergency Response Centre when ICED, our highly trained Controllers can patch your call through to the Police letting them know who you are and where you are.

Q: What happens if I need to get a message to one of my staff and they are ICED, for example, an appointment has been cancelled.
A: Messages can be sent to the user from the Jobtrac+ portal, these messages are then read out to the user.

Q: Can you make and receive calls over Bluetooth when the device is ICED?
A: ICED can be set to allow or disallow Bluetooth usage depending upon your company policy, this can be set for each individual from your admin portal. Please remember Bluetooth will prevent you from getting 6 points on your licence but makes no difference if you have an accident whilst on a Bluetooth call.

Q: You mention tablets, how does that work?
A: We feel tablet usage when driving is actually more dangerous than phone usage as the device tends to sit on the passenger seat. With this in mind, we include tablet usage within the Jobtrac+ licence fee.

For Android handsets only.

Subject to credit vet and Contract.  CALL 01536 851676 or email Suzanne@brogantelecoms.co.uk

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