Man down devices: safety for lone workers

Man down devices are a particular safety technology used for those workers who carry out their activities in isolated contexts, alone, or in environments with a communication system that is difficult to use. These devices are capable of detecting and monitoring the worker posture, generating various types of alarm in correspondence with events such as prolonged non-movement or maintenance of a lying position.

Although there is no regulatory definition of "isolated worker", this concept includes workers who work in the absence of other nearby subjects, without direct visual or vocal contact with nearby operators. This category, therefore, includes not only the workers who carry out their activities in places that are difficult to reach, but also those who continue to work beyond the canonical hours, providing their presence at night or on holidays.

Furthermore, all those workers who - even if they have colleagues on site - work in particularly difficult conditions in terms of physical effort, methods of difficult communication, adverse environmental factors or places that are difficult to access. For illustrative purposes, the definition in question includes those employed in cold storage, cleaning, security services, but also agricultural operators, mountain or forest guards, workers at depth and at height; all professions that denote a certain degree of potential difficulty in communicating with colleagues or rescuers.

The OPERATION of man down devices

The system must be able to send an alarm signal automatically in all those cases in which the worker is in a horizontal position or in a vertical position for more than a pre-established time. micromotility situation. Reporting by the worker in danger can take place both automatically and manually, using the appropriate button.

The man down device - positioned on the belt, around the neck, in relation to the worker's comfort - detects conditions defined as dangerous - for example an inclination of more than 70° for more than 50 seconds - transmitting its GPS coordinates via cellular network to those responsible for the assistance service.

In fact, if the operator remains in a horizontal position, the device send reports to a control center giving rise to telephone, SMS, GSM, cyclical calls and activating audible and visual alerts on site. This will give rise to on-site rescue and the desirable rescue of the worker struck by illness or accident.

Also for man down devices it is required that before placing the equipment on the market the manufacturer or importer ensures that it is designed and manufactured in compliance with the directives applicable European standards. Since these are radio equipment, the applicable directive is the RED (Radio Equipment Directive) 2014/53/EU. This directive imposes requirements of good use of the radio spectrum, Of safety and of electromagnetic compatibility. The typical procedures must therefore be applied testing of radio equipment.


As is known, current legislation places the obligation on the employer to evaluate and prevent all risks to the health and safety of workers, providing them with "the necessary and suitable personal protective equipment".

These requirements indicate the need for the employer to provide a suitable means of communication to quickly activate the emergency system of the National Health Service.

At a regulatory level it is also useful to remember that in anticipation of the use of man down devices it is necessary to formalize a privacy agreement company relating to geolocation and the processing of related data.

We conclude on a positive note in terms of business management: to encourage the use of man down devices, in many countries these lead to a reduction in the cost of insurance for accidents at work. An additional element to make every effort in the purchase - and production - of these devices aimed at an ever-growing market segment.

All devices put into use by the company must bear the CE marking confirming the successful completion of the process CE certification of the products following in particular the specific procedures for certification of radio equipment.

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