How to improve lone worker safety in pharmaceutical companies
In this article we will look at the issues for lone workers in pharmaceutical sector and how to improve their safety. We will examine two real case we had, what they have in common and how VerticalMan®, the man down app, can help employers.
Who is a lone workers in pharmaceutical companies?
Lone working is a real issue for pharmaceutical manufacturers who deal with a variety of risks due to the use of chemical substances but also to noises and dangerous equipment. We all know that for the current legislation the employer is responsible for the safety of his workers, but also workers are responsible of their own safety and of safety of other people.
In a pharmaceutical company maintenance workers, packaging workers, laboratory technicians, product analysts and plant supervision man are all lone workers.
Which are the main problems of lone workers in this sector?
The most important issue is to make the communication between workers as simple as possible and especially in case of incident be sure to contact in an automatic way and as fast as possible the rescue teams in order to reduce the action time to reach the lone worker. This last aspect is really strategic, especially considering that several companies have very big plants.
In addition, most employers do not want to take care of safety control.
In the years we have developed experience in this sector thanks to the cooperation with 2 important companies. Each company contacted us for different issues. The first company because they had problems with the system they already used, that often gave a false GPS position and system blockage. They had 10 lone workers. In the second company lone workers only had the mobile phone to use in case of emergency and the company did not have any type of tools to do automatic controls on safety of lone workers. In this company there were 45 lone workers. Also, the system of controlling the patrols of the security guards who periodically, several times a day, walked through the building, was obsolete, so they needed a new solution.
VerticalMan® lone worker app as part of the solution
After a study of the working place and needs of lone worker in the customers’ plants, we proposed each of them a dedicated configuration of VerticalMan®, our man down app, to better fit their specific needs.
One of the features of VerticalMan®, most important for the first company, is that it never sends false alarm and the possibility to use the Smartphone also for other functions without interferences. In other words, VerticalMan® understands when the worker is using other App on the Smartphone: if the Smartphone inclination is due to the use of one of these Apps it does not start the alarm countdown.
In addition, as we already said before, both companies have wide plants so to create indoor positioning was very useful to reduce rescue time in case of alarm. Both customers opted for GSM notifications because isolated workers often carry out their duties in the entire large plant, not all covered by WiFi. In one case we created 87 IPS points all in area ATEX 1, and for the second company 47 IPS points. The IPS has always been completed with local maps of the areas to have the exact position, also visual, on the eCoRo App.
Another feature was to install the alarm console on a tablet instead on a PC. With this solution we avoid to involve IT department and company policy for IT safety, that could reveal as a threat for systems monitoring lone worker safety. To better explain you: some automated updating of the operating system, or antivirus installation, could cause the wrong or not functioning of the system. If the right functioning is not checked at every updating, there could be a risk when there will be the need to act for an alarm received.
For the need to have dedicated, rugged, small Smartphone for each lone worker, instead of using the personal one, we supplied Atom, rugged Smartphone, extremely small, as the old pagers.
As underlined before, to work in a pharmaceutical company means to face also explosion risks. The entire plant of one of the companies is ATEX 1 area, so both Smartphone and IPS beacons had to be certified to work in these dangerous areas. We used eCom Smart-Ex 02 DZ1, latest generation devices for ATEX areas. They were supplied to 30 employees, with 10 of them having also installed VerticalMan®.
Finally, to solve the issue of security guards we have developed a specific app that work simultaneously to VerticalMan: PatrolApp. This app detects having approached the beacons of VerticalMan®’s IPS system. Thanks to PatrolApp the company could automate the operations, once manual with the pressure of physical buttons by the guard, to confirm passage in all the areas provided for by the patrol.
We have seen how lone worker safety can be improved in a pharmaceutical company thanks to the extreme versatility of VerticalMan® app which, with over 140 customizable parameters, allows to satisfy the most different needs.
Work side to side to our customer is a must for us. Thanks to this, VerticalMan® can really be a different man down app and help employers to take care of their lone workers. Behind a worker there is a person, this is why safety of lone worker is our mission in every sector.
Since the signature of the contract we took 2 months to implement and install the system. These two companies are still using VerticalMan® today and one of the two is going to use our eCoRo cloud service, a centralised system for configurate remote VerticalMan®.
If you need a professional solution for your lone worker that fit the needs of your company send an email to [email protected]
|Lone worker Solution||VerticalManGSM|
|Smartphone||Unihertz Atom and eCom SmartEx-02 DZ1|
|Remote notification||SMSs + GSM phone calls|
87 eCom Beacon LOC-EX 01
47 eCom Beacon LOC 01 HC
|Control room||eCoRo App on tablet Samsung Active 2|
|Security guard patrol||PatrolApp|
|Smartphone safebox||SureLock for Android|