Category Archives: Lone Worker Safety

How Investing In Safety & Compliance Solutions Can Save You More Than It Will Ever Cost

Several federal and state laws hold businesses accountable for the well being of their employees. While successful businesses are dedicated to employee safety, many still view measures taken to protect employees as a financial burden. We challenge business owners and decision makers to change the misconception that compliance is a superfluous cost, and instead embrace the tangible savings of compliance as a return on investment (ROI).

Having a compliance solution that works for your business can help you:

Avoid Legal Fees

The chance of entering a lawsuit due to a compliance mistake can pose thousands of dollars in costs for your business. Legal fees can quickly pile up. Consequential reputation damage can have costly effects on your business as trust and goodwill is lost.

Dodge Costly Fines

A breach in compliance can happen on a number of levels. Whether a violation is made on the state, federal, or industry level, subsequent fines can be expected. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agency enforces statutes and regulations that many industries abide by. A serious violation can result in a fine of up to $7,000. A repeat violation costs $70,000. While, a fatal incident can reach a fine of $500,000. Ensuring safety and compliance within all compliance requirements your business is subject to will save up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

OSHA states 1915.84(a) (1) “Throughout each work shift at regular intervals appropriate to the job assignment to ensure the employee’s safety and health; and”1915.84(a) (2) “At the end of the job assignment or at the end of the work shift, whichever occurs first.” 1915.84(b) “The employer shall account for each employee by sight or verbal communication.” Smartphone applications can support the stringent communication requirements OSHA holds employers accountable for. In addition to physically tracking the location of the lone worker, these applications allow for many methods of instant communication. Text and voice messages allow for easy, consistent contact between employers and lone workers that fulfills OSHA standards for communication at regular intervals.

Workforce management apps can almost completely automate safety and compliance tasks in line with NIOSH and OSHA instructions. With situations similar to those employers face in the state of California, advanced workforce management apps can send alerts to employees when the temperature reaches 95 degrees. Employees are then notified to take the required break time within a two-hour period. Employer and employee productivity is increased as each party does less to ensure that workers are safe in their work environments and employers are complying with state and federal laws and recommendations.

Compliance Should be Scalable

As companies grow, they become more vulnerable to disaster when compliance standards are violated. Already costly fees multiply the larger businesses become. Your compliance system should be able to expand with your company across work sectors and geographically across borders.

Compliance as an Opportunity for Growth

A lack of compliance-related incidents creates an encouraging environment for business while avoiding a loss in productivity and money. Putting a relatively small amount of funding into a strong and efficient compliance system allows your business to keep doing what it is meant to instead of dealing with the lengthy hassles of possible compliance breaches.

Summary

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier-grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

Reduce Fraud and Improve Compliance with Mobile Technology

According to a report by OIG in 2016, nearly 5% of Home Healthcare Providers (about 500 agencies in US) are at potential risk of failing due to compliance and fraudulent activities in their Billing processes.

Government agencies are putting increased scrutiny on Providers’ billing practices in order to improve compliance, reduce human errors and mitigate fraud.   These agencies are leveraging modern digital tools to detect fraud and error patterns in billing practices in home healthcare industry.

Organizations such as ACFE point to some common patterns across most compliance failures e.g. incorrect reporting of diagnoses, billing for services not rendered etc.  Human errors, mistakes in documentation and misrepresentation of field activities can lead to compliance failures and loss of revenue for providers – even if these mistakes are not intentional.

These issues can be easily addressed with the help modern digital technologies and processes – mobile phone apps, cloud hosted business planning software AND automated field operations workflow to monitor any exceptions in real-time and maintain electronic audit logs.

Here’s a list of three most widely seen problems and how to address them:

  • Billing for Services not Rendered:   During every care visit, the attendant can collect the member’s digital signature & note via their mobile app as a proof-of-service at the time of service.   myGeoTracking provides mobile forms, pictures and signature capture to facilitate this.
  • Misrepresenting Dates of Service:  Hand written notes and hours logging is prone to errors.  Mobile time & attendance Apps combined with a plans-of-care forms can be used to address this issue.  Apps can precisely log the date-of-service at the time the service is delivered.   The billing department could then rely on this instead of the date that the claim form is signed/submitted (which is usually on a different date).
  • Misrepresenting locations of service:  use mobile app to geotag all activities at the patient’s site.  This realtime location tagging can be further enhanced with automation to create alerts based on scheduled events e.g. late arrival alerts, care-provider absence alerts, entry / exit alerts from patient homes etc.  This setup would then ensure that the service is delivered by the care provider OR an alternative arrangement in real-time in case of an absent attendant.  All billing reports would now carry a location-tag to ensure point-of-care delivery is consistent with the patient records.

As listed above, smart phone app (or Text and IVR) can be used for easy-to-generate attendance logs, accurate billing reports and audit files for home care service providers.  These technologies can help agencies become compliant with State and Federal requirements while also mitigating fraud activities and improving the overall care delivery for members.

How Advancing Mobile Technologies Can Help Support Lone Worker Safety

A health professional on a home visit, a truck driver en route, a maintenance worker on site–lone workers are a common role in the labor forces of various industries. A lone worker is defined as a worker who works in isolation, away from other employees, either on- or off-site. For such employees, the danger of common workplace hazards are amplified as they find themselves away from other workers and management. The nature of isolated work environments offer unique risks that require unique attention and action. Mobile applications have become an unparalleled solution in tackling these challenges. What was once physical equipment (cameras, manual alarm systems, etc.) is increasingly being replaced by technology that is accessible through a smartphone alone.

Employers hold primary responsibility in accommodating lone worker safety. In order to deter from many of the risks associated with lone worker scenarios, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces a number of federal regulations for affected employers. The use of advancing technologies can be instrumental in implementing these regulations.

OSHA states 1915.84(a) “Except as provided in 1915.51(c)(3), “Whenever an employee is working alone, such as in a confined space or isolated location, the employer shall account for each employee.” The GPS technology that can be activated through a number of mobile applications allows for real-time monitoring of employee locations. In using such technology, employers are proactively improving safety protocols while accounting for lone workers with certainty.

1915.84(a) (1) “Throughout each work shift at regular intervals appropriate to the job assignment to ensure the employee’s safety and health; and”1915.84(a) (2) “At the end of the job assignment or at the end of the work shift, whichever occurs first.” 1915.84(b) “The employer shall account for each employee by sight or verbal communication.” Smartphone applications can support the stringent communication requirements OSHA holds employers accountable for. In addition to physically tracking the location of the lone worker, these applications allow for many methods of instant communication. Text and voice messages allow for easy, consistent contact between employers and lone workers that fulfills OSHA standards for communication at regular intervals. Ability to share photos and files with location stamps supports suggestions of expanding communication through sight.

Beyond methods of conventional communication, certain applications provide unique technology for dangerous scenarios. Location-based, touch-based, and manual emergency options allow for messages or alerts to be shared back to employers. These instant tools can be used as a call for help, to report an incident immediately, and more. Lone workers are given a greater level of protection that is accessible simply through their mobile device.

Thanks to advances in mobile technology by service providers dedicated to employee safety, employers are prioritizing lone worker safety across industries like never before.

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home healthcare providers.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436