Workplace safety is the most important thing managers need to consider, but how is workplace safety managed for mobile workers and lone workers who work in remote environments? 

Thousands of lone workers and mobile workers travel to remote job sites every day, and they never know what hazards they’ll face when they arrive. Risks can be unpredictable, presenting hazards that are difficult for managers and workers to control. Supporting two-way communication between these workers and their supervisors can help mitigate risk. This article discusses some of these major risks to lone and mobile worker safety and how Anvl’s software and mobile solutions can protect workers on remote job sites. 

Who are Lone and Mobile Workers? 

Research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that mobile workers make up a large portion of the labor force, and will likely account for at least 60% of all workers by 2023. Currently, there are 78.5 million mobile workers out there. By 2024, that number is projected to skyrocket to 93.5 million.

Of course, COVID-19 accounts for part of this explosion in numbers for the lone worker and the mobile worker. It also accounts for part of the increased risk that these workers face, not knowing if they will be exposed to the virus while out and about, particularly for frontline workers with client-facing jobs. So, who are these workers, and what risks do they face?

  • A lone worker is any worker who is on a job site independently, without anyone as backup. Risks can be particularly high for lone workers because there are no other team members to call for help if something happens. 
  • A mobile worker might have other team members with them, but there is no fixed worksite, and the location of work may change from day to day, so risks associated with the worksite can also change each day. 

Frontline lone and mobile workers are employed in a vast array of activities from construction, healthcare and repair services to field service workers, government workers, hospitality workers, transportation workers and more. And, as you might have guessed, the lone worker and a mobile worker can be the same person, depending on the circumstances. These workers face significant risks that their onsite colleagues do not face, so a strong level of two-way communication with supervisors is essential for protecting them. The alarming truth, however, is that the same IDC report found that less than half of these frontline lone and mobile workers are equipped with mobile solutions that make this possible. 

Real Workers behind the Statistics

The National Safety Council makes a “top 10 list” of workplace safety violations reported to OSHA every year, and the numbers are sobering. Remember that each of these numbers represents real people, and particularly underlines the urgent need to improve safety for everyone on the job. These numbers as a call-to-action for putting safety as the first priority in all workplace environments. Below, you can see a list of some of the top safety violations and hazards that workers face: 

  1. Fall hazards 
  2. Lack of effective hazard communication
  3. Scaffolding hazards
  4. Lock out / Tag out
  5. Breathing protection
  6. Ladder hazards
  7. Powered industrial truck violations
  8. Fall protection fails / training
  9. Machine guarding
  10. Eye and face injury

Just a few of the other common and dangerous workplace hazards include fires and heart attacks. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reported an annual 37,910 fires starting at manufacturing and industrial sites every year between 2011-2015. The U.S. Department of Labor reports 10,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest on the job, with a depressing 5-7 percent survival rate due to the time it takes to get help. Time is of the essence when responding to hazards to save lives. Every second counts, which means having reliable two-way communication systems, safety equipment and proper training and accountability at all levels. These are all hazards faced by every worker, but are extra hazardous when considering them in the context of lone or mobile working. 

Lone and Mobile Workers Need Mobile Solutions to Improve Safety

Why are mobile devices the most effective way to keep lone and mobile workers safe? The good news is that mobile solutions with software like Anvl are now available to significantly improve safety for mobile and lone workers. It’s easy and effective to use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets workers can have on the job for immediate assistance, for safety training and to ensure process compliance that enhances their safety. 

Anvl safety software helps protect mobile and lone workers by: 

  • Keeping them engaged with supervisors, and guides them with up-to-the moment, on-the-spot safety guidance and solutions to problems.
  • Supervisors have remote visibility so they can track the location and needs of workers, using the mobile safety software to provide assistance in unpredictable situations. 

Two-way communication is critical between lone and mobile workers and their supervisors, and Anvl empowers both sides to keep workers safe, no matter where the job site is that day. To learn more, request a demo today.

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