technology trends

Lone worker hazard timers: The importance of timed activity

Discover the benefits of integrating Aware360’s hazard timer into your safety protocols and how they improve lone worker safety.



Imagine you are a home healthcare worker—you are conducting a routine 45-minute visit to a new patient's home in the middle of an unfamiliar location. Now remember that healthcare and social service workers are 5x times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than other industries. Feel safe? Thankfully, Aware360’s hazard timer feature can help keep this situation under control.

When working in high-risk environments, workers should always keep their employers updated on their locations, health, and general well-being. With our hazard timer, lone workers can raise the alarm if they encounter abnormalities or miss check-ins, ensuring a prompt and effective response to safeguard their safety. Let’s take a closer look at this essential safety feature.

What is a hazard timer?

You may be familiar with check-in timers, which require workers to confirm their safety every couple of hours as a basic safety measure. Hazard timers, on the other hand, are task-specific, providing tailored safety measures based on the job at hand.

At Aware360, the hazard timer feature is part of our industry-leading SafetyAware solution.

How do hazard timers work?

When workers begin a hazardous task, they log in and activate a configurable hazard timer. This timer is set for a specific interval, such as 15 minutes or two hours, depending on the task's risk level and duration.

As the timer counts down, the worker must either cancel it to confirm they are okay or restart it if they need more time. For higher-risk tasks, shorter intervals ensure quicker response times, enhancing safety and providing timely alerts if assistance is needed.


Let’s take an example…

An outpatient care nurse visiting a patient might set a 15-minute timer and add details like the address and any relevant notes or pictures. This gives the monitoring team precise information to act on if something goes wrong.

  • If the worker fails to check in before the timer expires, an alert is triggered at the control center. 
  • This alert prompts immediate action, using the information provided to locate and assist the worker. 
  • In scenarios where communication devices are compromised, the hazard timer ensures that the worker's last known status and location are available, allowing for a swift and informed response.



Regular reminders and safety levels are built into the system to prevent missed check-ins, reinforcing the worker's habit of maintaining communication. By integrating hazard timers into your safety protocols, you can significantly enhance your lone workers' protection and peace of mind.

Our hazard timer ensures you remain protected, even outside of cellular range. Paired with the Bivy stick, the hazard timer functionality stays active, keeping you connected and secure in the most remote locations. Additionally, our legacy inReach integration for Garmin devices includes the hazard timer, providing seamless safety monitoring. Download our lone worker safety devices brochure to find out more.


What are the benefits of using a hazard timer?

These timers allow workers to set time intervals based on the risk level of their tasks. For example, for high-risk tasks like climbing a ladder, shorter intervals ensure someone is alerted quickly if something goes wrong.

Hazard timers also improve the monitoring team's situational awareness. Workers can add specific details like room numbers or photos of entry points, providing precise location data for faster, more accurate responses in emergencies.

Additionally, Aware360's hazard timers give workers control over their safety by allowing them to adjust the timer and add relevant details based on their job specifics. This feature provides detailed situational awareness, enabling users to include information such as location details or images. In an emergency, this ensures the monitoring team has all the necessary data to respond quickly and effectively, enhancing overall security.

Our alerts are exception-based, meaning monitors are prompted to act only when a hazard timer expires. This system creates an alert in the control center, prompting immediate action. If the timer doesn’t expire, no alert is created, and workers simply cancel it and continue with their tasks until the next check-in or hazard. This approach ensures that monitors focus only on necessary alerts, improving efficiency.

What makes Aware360’s hazard timer feature unique?

Our hazard timer system is unique thanks to its ability to integrate with features like geofencing and real-time alerts. These enhance lone worker safety and efficiency beyond what traditional systems offer.

For example, a land agent for an oil and gas company can set a geofence around a known dangerous property. When the agent enters this zone, the system sends a warning message about the potential danger and prompts them to set a hazard timer. This immediate alert helps the worker recognize risks and take necessary precautions.

Our system also supports customizable policies for different scenarios. In British Columbia, commercial vehicle inspectors set a hazard timer when leaving their vehicle for an inspection. They input the vehicle's license plate into the system, aiding the emergency response team in tracking and responding accurately if the inspector misses a check-in.


Case study: Calgary Dream Centre

Community outreach organizations face unique risks, and the Calgary Dream Centre is no exception. Their staff often visit at-risk individuals in unpredictable situations, making safety processes essential. The biggest challenges included managing unexpected situations and after-hours emergencies without real-time location tracking of their case managers.

Previously, the Centre relied on QR codes on mailboxes for case managers to sign in and out, but this system had significant drawbacks. Staff often forgot to sign out, leaving their safety status unknown. Without hazard timers, incidents shortly after check-in could go unnoticed for extended periods.

Recognizing the need for improvement, the Calgary Dream Centre turned to Aware360's SafetyAware solution. The new system introduced hazard timers and real-time location tracking, significantly enhancing staff safety and accountability. Case workers now use short, five-minute hazard timers for high-risk activities, ensuring immediate alerts if they need assistance.

Aware360’s hazard timer becomes a best practice

Routine tasks can become hazardous when workers get complacent, thinking, "I've done this a million times without any issues." This mindset can lead to skipping safety steps, like wearing a harness or double-checking equipment. That’s where Aware360’s hazard timer comes in.

Our hazard timer ensures that safety protocols are consistently followed, preventing routines from causing safety lapses. Setting regular check-ins and reminders keeps workers vigilant, no matter how familiar they are with the task.

With Aware360's lone worker solutions, you can follow safety procedures, reduce the risk of accidents, and ensure everyone goes home safely.

Book a demo to learn how our hazard timer feature can ensure your routine tasks stay routine

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