Corona virus and lone work - and what does it mean for employers?
What effect does the corona virus has on lone workers?
The new corona virus (scientific name: Sars-CoV-2) presents us with new challenges. With the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of Corona, such as working from home or the introduction of reduced working hours, many safety precautions lead to a situation where increased numbers of associates are working on their own and are thus classified as lone workers. Lone workers are defined as "people performing their working activities alone, out of earshot and sight of other persons." (Source: DGUV Regulation100-001, "Principles of Prevention", paragraph 2.7). Companies are very keen to keep their businesses up and running, whether they need to perform systemically important tasks, such as in the case of urban utilities and mobile emergency services, or to safeguard revenue to ensure their continued existence.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees. This also applies when these employees are working from home or performing tasks that they would normally do with another person. It is particularly important for people who are at an increased risk, i.e. those who work in precarious professions or have particular health concerns or are at an increased risk of acute health emergencies. Why is it so important?
- A medical emergency or an accident could remain unnoticed and have serious consequences.
- Assistance that could be provided by other people is not guaranteed or may be delayed for lone workers. For example, a first-aider must first be called.
- If the lone worker is not capable of acting, due to an emergency, or cannot move, they cannot call for help, and they need support.
What is the solution?
In order to protect lone workers who are at an increased risk , the use of a personal emergency signal system, for example , is recommended. It can be operated via a smartphone, which means that the associate can use the same device as their work cell phone and to protect themselves whilst working alone. The new GuardMe lone worker protection solution from Bosch is an example of such a product. This solution was developed for Android-based smartphones, e.g. the Sonim XP8, which have the red emergency signal button required by social accident insurance institutions. They are also particularly resistant to damage through falls, moisture and extreme temperatures.
Bosch GuardMe has six different alarm functions, some of which can be triggered manually and some of which can be triggered automatically. In the event of an accident, the lone worker can make an emergency call by simply pushing the panic button. The app's sensors also automatically recognize emergency situations, such as falls, "man down" or immobility, and an acoustic preliminary alarm is triggered. If there is no response, the app establishes a voice connection with a Bosch Monitoring Center, where the Call Center employee will calm the lone worker down and request the appropriate assistance.
Together with an Android-based smartphone, Bosch GuardMe meets all the requirements of a personal emergency signal system in accordance with the regulations set out by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE) and is certified by theGerman Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) in accordance with standard DIN VDE V 0825-11.