Implementing GPS Enabled Safety Monitoring in a Unionized Workplace

Blackline GPS has helped numerous organizations from small and medium-sized businesses through to enterprises in their adoption of employee safety monitoring.  Ensuring the ongoing of safety of employees is a top corporate priority, a critical concern of unions, and a topic that is on the mind of employees themselves as well as their families.

Blackline has worked with organizations that are interested in deploying Loner® solutions within a union-based workforce.  Concerns have been voiced by employees and union representatives regarding the generalized capability of location-based employee safety monitoring solutions to report the ongoing whereabouts of union personnel.  The additional oversight that such a system may be able to provide has not necessarily been deemed as a positive or required source of knowledge. Furthermore, such empowerment may be viewed as a violation of employee rights and privacy.

Considering that unions and employers have a priority of employee safety, it would be a shame for such an emerging best practice of safety monitoring to become stalled from an adoption perspective.  Fortunately, Loner solutions have been successfully deployed within union-based environments.  There are two key approaches that may be helpful when considering Loner adoption:

  1. Transparent discussion of system use and purpose
  2. Limited location reporting

Transparent discussions of employee safety may result in the general agreement between an employer and a union that a safety monitoring system’s purpose is precisely for monitoring and not for punitive actions or grievance processes. An agreement may be designed to capture this sentiment to ensure approved use of employee location-based data going forward.

Additionally, Loner solutions may be configured such that locations are only reported upon the generation of safety alert.  In this scenario, the Loner device’s internal GPS will continuously compute the employee’s location within the device, storing only the most recent location. Upon the triggering of a safety alert, this most recent location is communicated to the Loner Portal user account so that monitoring personnel are able to effectively manage a timely, location-based emergency response.  No historical data is recorded within the device for later retrieval.

A scenario may occur where an employee enters a large commercial building constructed of concrete and steel where GPS signals are not able to be received. In this situation, if a safety alert is generated, the employee’s last-known location when entering the building would be reported to the Loner Portal user account and to monitoring personnel.

Most customers typically choose to leverage the additional value of Loner device’s default 5-minute location schedule. Every 5 minutes, an employee’s location is reported, creating a bread-crumb of locations that can be helpful to provide additional context during  to a potential emergency response. Monitoring personnel may not be able to directly reach the employee to verify when emergency help is required and this additional location-based history may be helpful to gain insight into the employee’s activity and risks when escalating a safety alert with the employer’s supervisor or other personnel.

Loner® employee safety monitoring solutions from Blackline can be confidently deployed within any organization across nearly every industry. Blackline owns its technology from end-to-end, enabling complete control over how its products operate and the feature-sets that they deliver.

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