Media Release: New ‘lone worker’ safety app launched in Queenstown

Queenstown-based safety app company GetHomeSafe is taking off -- this week launching its second app to meet demand for monitoring the safety of people working alone.

The new app launch is timely -- just as new Health and Safety legislation comes into force in April.

The original GetHomeSafe app – targeted at personal users -- recently celebrated reaching 40,000 downloads worldwide, with people using it daily for everything from long-distance driving, to cycling or just for work. 

Founder Boyd Peacock describes the current user base as “very satisfying” and says it shows the company’s core user base is mainly based in New Zealand and Australia.

However the new app meets demand from businesses interested in using it as an essential tool for their workforce. 

“Property management firms, local government, consultants and the agricultural sector are those that are either already using it or are very interested in looking further at its applications across their business,” says Boyd.

“There are a huge number of firms out there with a need for their staff to confirm they’re OK at certain times, such as letting a supervisor know they’re home safe at the end of a shift when they’ve been out of the office.  Most of them are currently using text or phone-in systems.

“That’s fine when the staff member actually remembers to text or call, but not so good if they don’t and you can’t get hold of them. That silence can be very stressful and no use if the staffer actually needs help, or a colossal waste of time and resources if they just forgot, or had a flat battery.”

Over the past 18 months GetHomeSafe has been developing a much more comprehensive safety solution for people working unsupervised and away from the office, a step above some very ‘passive’ traditional methods which have huge potential for human error. 

“With our new app we’ve created an active system where staff are actively reminded of their check-in time and supervisors are actively alerted if someone’s overdue.”  

Staff share what they’re doing and where they’re going via the new GHS app, including how long it will take them to safely complete a task. If they don’t acknowledge the reminders and fail to say they’ve completed the job safely, then supervisors are alerted via a failsafe text message and email alerting network. 

Even if supervisors fail to follow up or acknowledge an overdue alert, it’s automatically escalated to senior management.

“Our system’s perfect for someone in the mobile workforce such as a building or council site inspector, or for a district nurse or social worker to say they’ve safely completed each of their daily home visits,” says Boyd.

“Supervisors have a beautiful online dashboard to see what staff have shared and inbuilt alerting notifies them if something’s out of the ordinary.

“Our new app and management dashboard is specifically designed for monitoring the safety of any group of people, some logging several tasks a day, while our original app’s better suited for individuals and personal use.”

Mr Peacock says the company’s ‘take’ on health and safety is that it’s everyone’s responsibility, from staff to management and owners, and this has been reflected in the new product.

Pre-launch interest in the new app and dashboard has been “fantastic” he says. “We’ve had a wide variety of firms get in touch from very differing sectors, including some international and some very large ones.  

“Several Australian firms have let us know that some staff log their work plans using our free personal use app. They’re looking for a cost effective and robust way of monitoring the safety of their mobile work forces. For some firms our original free app is perfect, but for those logging tens, hundreds or even thousands of tasks a week they need a more comprehensive system.”

An early adopter of the system has been Queensland Terrezo Repairs, with owner Antoinette Aquilina revealing the company had staff all over Australia working out of hours in retail shopping centres, often alone, unsupervised and in the middle of the night.

The company had a system in place where staff were required to text at the completion of their shift, but sometimes forgot, leaving the company struggling to check on their safety. 

“This raised serious workplace concerns for us and we needed a solution,” says Ms Aquilina. “That’s when we learned about Get Home Safe which means we can make informed decisions and manage the situation. It reduces risk and makes our staff more accountable, which is why we see it as an essential business tool and one that helps meet our duty of care as an employer.”

Get Home Safe Limited is a privately-owned company based in Queenstown and follows industry best practices to ensure the security and privacy of people using their services.  The creative and technical support of Dunedin firms Firebrand and Tussock Innovation has helped bring these products to life.

The GetHomeSafe –Personal Safety app is free to download on iPhone and Android and it is free for unlimited personal use. In-App purchases are available to upgrade alerts from email to SMS.

The GetHomeSafe – Corporate Safety app is free to download on iPhone and Android for subscribers to the more comprehensive cloud based service GetHomeSafe – Corporate. Subscription rates are $US5 a month per user.