What do Lone Worker Alarms Cost?
Lone worker alarms range in cost depending on the functionality, the type of alarm and the scale of the system needed. Many involve the use of some kind of technology – ranging from internet-enabled apps, Bluetooth, or wireless devices using radio waves, or text messaging and walkie-talkies. Although the old school manual check-in is still in use.
Generally, nowadays effective lone worker alarm systems tend to consist of 2 main parts. The first part is carried by the lone worker, a device or app that can send an alarm signal. The second part is a receiver/monitoring device that displays the alarm information about the location and status of the lone worker(s). So that in the event of an emergency, the lone worker can call for help from either co-workers, or alarm monitoring operators, by either manually pressing a button, or automatically (if they are unconscious) using tilt technology.
Lone Working Alarm Options and the Cost Implications
There are many ways to provide your lone workers with an effective way to raise alarm quickly. All come with different cost implications. Some require a one-off purchase/set up cost whilst others carry connectivity costs, ongoing licence payments or monthly user fees.
So, it is important to consider the lifetime costs involved with an alarm system rather than just the top line quote that is given to ensure that your lone workers are getting the best protection at the best value.
- Level of Risk Lone Workers Face: To meet your Health and Safety obligations, the lone worker alarm device or response method you choose should not be solely dependent on the costs involved. Instead, your starting point should be the level of risk your lone workers face as this will inform what system you need. For example, for low-risk or occasional lone workers, an app on a mobile phone could be an appropriate solution. Whilst, a higher-risk lone worker in a noisy industrial environment working at height may require a robust, wearable SOS device with tilt technology. In order for you to select the best option, you must first understand the potential risks your lone workers face by doing a risk assessment.
- Public-Facing Lone Workers : Public-facing lone workers may face a risk of violence, aggression or injury in the course of their duties. For example, security personnel and healthcare workers (like paramedics, therapists and social care workers). These higher-risk, public-facing lone workers may require a more discreet device that is faster to activate in an emergency situation.
- Type of Workplace Environment: Assessing the workplace environment is key to understanding the risks your lone workers may face. For example, a lone worker at a fixed location versus one that travels for their job may face different issues. For the latter is connectivity/internet coverage an issue?
Once you have a clearer understanding of the environment your employee is operating in then you can decide what alarm system will work best for your lone workers and your budget. Here is an overview of the main types of lone worker solutions on offer in the UK, their associated costs and their potential downsides.
Lone Worker Apps
Apps are a great solution for low-risk or occasional lone workers. They give workers the ability to manually request emergency help or check-in but don’t have the tilt/man down functionality. They require an operational smartphone, a SIM card, and to be connected to the internet.
Costs of the app/service vary according to suppliers. You will also need to factor in ongoing costs (internet and the app subscription fee).
- No tilt/man down technology
- Effectiveness can be hampered by user errors (failure to check in)
- Dependant on connectivity/internet coverage
- Accessing an app on a phone involves a number of steps which in a high stress, emergency situation can be an issue for somebody in danger or in shock
- Not very discrete – raising an alarm via is phone is obvious. This can be an issue in high-risk, public-facing lone workers.
Lone Worker GPS Devices
These tend to be standalone devices that have a GPS component that works with the mobile network. When the button is pressed an alarm is sent with the GPS coordinates. They do not need the use of a phone or other hardware. They tend to be easy to use and are often wearable and discreet to access/use.
Suitable for mobile lone workers.
Costs involved include the GPS device itself, the SIM charges and ongoing fees to the lone worker service provider.
- Needs a mobile network (have a SIM and work much the same way as a mobile phone)
- Can’t connect to other devices or customise
- They may or may not have tilt/man down technology
Wireless Lone Working Alarms
Best suited for fixed location lone workers, they are easy to use (no unlocking a phone and finding an app instead just press a button) and because they use stable radio waves to raise an alarm there are no internet or connectivity issues, and no associated internet costs involved. Also, they can use signal repeaters to cover large areas (including military bases and industrial parks).
They are flexible, the alarm system can be scaled up or down, and have a variety of devices on offer to raise the alarm (personal panic pendants, tilt technology devices, fixed desk or wall-mounted panic buttons) as well as multiple contact methods (telephone, pager or SMS).
Costs, uniquely, wireless lone working alarms only have the upfront product cost, there are no set-up fees, or ongoing long-term user contracts or licence or connection fees which over its lifetime make it a very cost-effective lone worker solution.
- The system needs to be installed by an engineer (usually done in a day as no hard wiring or infrastructure work needed)
- Wireless technology is not suitable for environments that use a lot of metal (like a submarine) as inhibits signal transmission.
- Not suitable for mobile lone workers
- No external call centre used, these are sometimes called Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), instead a wireless system allows the alarm response to be managed by your organisation (and this makes it more cost effective by cutting out the middle man)
If you are looking for an effective alarm system for lone workers, first consider the risks associated with your lone worker as well as the location they operate in, then compare alarm options and the associated lifetime costs based on your requirements.
And if you are considering a fixed location alarm system for your lone workers, then talk to us. We can guide you through selecting the best options for your organisation. So, you can rest assured that your lone workers are kept safe. Call 01280 845530 or email email@example.com