Employee safety monitoring is essential for businesses to protect their employees and ensure they are safe while performing their jobs. With the rise of remote and flexible work arrangements, complete workforce visibility with worker safety monitoring is crucial for businesses to fulfil their duty of care. By implementing worker safety monitoring, businesses can improve employee safety, increase efficiency, and comply with health and safety regulations.
The need for complete workforce visibility
Complete workforce visibility is the ability to monitor the location and safety of all workers in real-time. This is especially important for businesses that have employees working in remote or isolated locations, as it allows them to monitor their safety and respond quickly in the event of an emergency. With worker safety monitoring, businesses can receive alerts if a worker misses a check in or if they have been inactive for an extended period, indicating a possible emergency situation.
Why companies need employee monitoring
According to data collected by Insightful, nearly 80% of major companies now use employee monitoring.¹ But why should companies use employee monitoring systems? The safety of employees is more of a concern now than ever before.
With staff working remotely or from home they are increasingly isolated from their colleagues and do not have the back up or community they did in the office environment. Therefore, it is very important to have a way for management to know a worker’s location in case of an emergency.
Worker monitoring systems help staff communicate with employers
Using a monitoring systems also allows staff to communicate with employers through the use of a help button or missed check in. These features of a monitoring system are perhaps the most important for keeping workers safe.
Invested in your employee’s safety
Companies are increasingly worried about being held accountable for worker injuries or deaths. There has been a sharp rise in Managers, Directors and CEO’s being found liable for injuries and deaths within their company. Showing that you have invested in your employee’s safety by installing employee monitoring software can help show you have embraced your responsibility to their safety.
Evidence shows that monitoring systems can make a business more efficient, as in some larger companies managers can spend over three hours a day doing admin. ¹ Having an employee monitoring system removes that need, as clock ins and shift ends, locations, and shift rotas are all automated giving managers back their time to better use elsewhere.
What are the Pros & Cons of employee monitoring?
- Having an employee monitoring system gives workers access to a help button that enables them to request immediate assistance in an emergency. This can be done by tapping an onscreen button or shaking/tapping the phone’s back if discretion is needed.
- Working remotely means staff are out and about throughout their day. Using an employee monitoring solution with GPS capabilities allows management to see where staff are if there is danger in the vicinity or the worker requests help.
- Companies that choose to have a safety monitoring system are showing their employees that they care about their well-being. It is reassuring to those staff who may be alone, that someone knows where they are and can send help if required.
- Monitoring solutions should only be activated when workers are actively on shift. This shows staff that their employers can clearly see the need to respect their privacy.
- Some employee monitoring systems are not focussed on employee safety and instead monitor staff performance and productivity. This can be quite unnerving for staff as they feel like they are being watched by management.
- In some cases staff actually are being watched. Some software is very intrusive and takes sporadic screenshots of worker’s laptops or accesses the laptop’s camera and take photos of staff to check they are sat at their desk working.
- These features of the monitoring solutions imply to staff that they are not trusted by management to allocate and manage their own time. But instead have to be spied on in a manner designed to ‘catch them out’ not doing what they are supposed to.
- Other monitoring solutions do not turn off, therefore, they are tracking worker’s locations and computer use outside of their work hours. Some would argue that if they are using work phones or laptops then this is acceptable, but is it?
What are the Laws around Employee Monitoring?
In some instances employee tracking and monitoring systems serve other important purposes. Their main goals are to prevent internal theft, examine employee productivity, ensure company resources are being used appropriately, and provide evidence for any potential litigation.
What are the worker monitoring laws in Canada?
In Canada employee monitoring is allowed when Canadian privacy statutes are upheld. Collection, use or disclosure of personal information should normally be done only with an employee’s knowledge and consent. The employer should only collect personal information that’s necessary for its stated purpose and collect it by fair and lawful means. The employer should say what personal information it collects from employees, why it collects it and what it does with it.²
What are the worker monitoring laws in the United Kingdom?Within the U.K employers might monitor workers in various ways, such as:
- drug testing
- bag searches
- checking a worker’s emails or the websites they look at
- Monitoring must be lawful, fair, and transparent.
- The purpose of the monitoring must be specified, explicit, and legitimate.
- If employee monitoring involves collecting or using personal information, the data collected must be adequate, relevant, and not excessive.
- The personal data must be accurate and kept up to date.
- If personal data is collected, it shouldn’t be kept for any longer than is necessary.
- Information gathered through monitoring should be kept secure.⁴
What are the worker monitoring laws in the United States?
Within the United States The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is a federal law that allows employers to monitor their employees’ verbal and written communications under certain circumstances. Some state laws regulate this activity. Federal and most state privacy laws give discretion to employers as to how far they can go with their employee monitoring programs. In some cases, employers do not have to inform employees they are being monitored, depending on their state and local laws. Some regulations do require employee consent. The most notable laws are found in:
- Connecticut: Any company that monitors its employees in the workplace must inform them in writing and detail the worker tracking methods used ahead of time.
- California, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina: All these states’ constitutions explicitly state that residents have a right to privacy. As such, employers in these states may need to tread carefully when setting up employee monitoring systems.³
How Ok Alone is used for worker safety monitoring?
Ok Alone is an employee safety monitoring solution that focusses on keeping staff safe. One way it does this is through having real time locations for all staff who are on shift. This information is visible to management on maps that are accessible on the cloud-based dashboard. These details are vital for reaching staff as quickly as possible in an emergency situation.
Location monitoring and Geofencing
Another way Ok Alone uses location to keep workers safe is through geofencing. This involves creating a geofence electronic barrier (safety zone) around a work site to ensure management know where workers are within the site. Supervisors receive a notification if a worker leaves the area which is very valuable if a person is working remotely, has limited phone coverage or is in a designated work area.
Monitor the worker safety first
A lot of companies have a way of tracking their vehicles or the cargo, as that is what they deem most valuable. But what about the person driving that vehicle? Ok Alone believes that the people are the most important asset of any company, that’s why they monitor people first, product second. Ok Alone has an Add In that works with existing fleet tracking software that will show the location of both the driver and the vehicle.
Worker location monitoring with reliable GPS
Knowing where someone is in an emergency is crucial. The Ok Alone app has three settings workers can choose from on how often their GPS location is updated. GPS High uses the phones GPS to provide continuous data updated every 10 seconds and is the most accurate setting. GPS Normal updates a location every 1-2 minutes and reduces battery usage while still providing accurate location data in an emergency. Non GPS will update the location at regular intervals and maximises battery life, but is not recommended if the worker is frequently moving locations.
What3words extends employee monitoring in Ok Alone
In 2020 Ok Alone partnered with the location app what3words. Teaming up with what3words on locations was a no brainer! This feature gives a three meter square plot with its own three word coordinates that can be shared or navigated to. On the Ok Alone dashboard that Monitors see is a map with the worker’s location. Underneath the map is the option to get the what3words position and coordinates.
What are the worker’s views on safety monitoring?
New research commissioned by The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in the UK questioned 2,152 employees about their workplaces. Nearly half of respondents don’t believe their employer has their health and safety in mind, while four in ten don’t agree their work is supportive of their physical and mental wellbeing. While 44 percent disagreed with the statement: “I trust my employer has my safety and health in mind because of the attention they pay to the way we work.”⁵
Now, while this survey was done in the U.K, it is most likely a reflection of feelings across many sectors at present. People are not feeling appreciated or valued by their employers. Getting employee monitoring software to track people’s keystrokes and response times is not going to help foster a better atmosphere. But, getting an employee safety monitoring system will show that they are valued and their safety and well-being is a company’s number one priority.
How Ok Alone can be used in different monitoring scenarios
Security Guard Monitoring
Some companies have problems with their security guards sleeping on the job. Using the pre-programmed check ins on a shorter duration means guards have to check in more frequently and are less likely to fall asleep. The safety of security guards can be increased by introducing a geofence (safety zone) around the site they are working. If they are forced to leave the site then a monitor will be alerted by the system and allow them to see the guard’s location on the dashboard map.
Panic Button Monitoring
The Ok Alone system has multiple ways of requesting help. On the app there is the large red help button that sits on the home page once a shift has been started. Help can also be requested through multiple taps on the back of an iPhone or shaking an Android phone. Workers can also use the SMS on their phone or call the Ok Alone phone number to request help. If a worker is using the desktop app they can click the help button accessed from the Ok Alone logo on their taskbar.
Drivers Safety Monitoring
Ok Alone is capable of working with existing fleet monitoring software to monitor the safety and location of delivery drivers. Drivers can check in with the solution using their voice, so they do not need to take their hands off the wheel, or alternatively they can set up Drive Mode which recognises the vehicle is moving when a check in is due and checks the driver in automatically.
Multiple Workers Monitoring
Setting up a safety zone around a specific area where you have multiple workers allows management to see that all workers are on site. They can also see if any workers leave the area and will be notified if this occurs.
- https://www.mad-hr.co.uk/blog/is-monitoring-employees-legal-in-uk This text was originally written by MAD-HR Ltd. Copyright © 2022 MAD-HR Ltd. All rights reserved: https://www.mad-hr.co.uk/blog/is-monitoring-employees-legal-in-uk
As an expert in lone worker content management, I possess an extensive knowledge base and experience in the area of lone working and safety monitoring. My expertise in this field encompasses a wide range of areas, including risk assessment, training, communication, and technology. I have a deep understanding of the unique risks associated with lone workers and have researched and written many projects and articles to educate people in how to mitigate these risks.
Throughout my time with Ok Alone, I have kept up to date with technological developments, legislative changes and regulations that have been introduced to help organizations ensure the safety of their lone workers.