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Two-Way Radio Lone Worker Radio Alarm Solutions

Depending on the nature of your business and your industry, there may be occasions where workers need to operate alone.  Ensuring the safety of anyone likely to be working without physical assistance is paramount.  You need to know the members of your team – whether out in the field or in-house – have access to the best systems and technology available. Many of the two-way radios, PTT-over-Cellular (PoC) devices and apps DTS offer feature some kind of lone worker monitoring functionality. How lone-worker mode operates is very straight forward. When lone-worker mode is active, a silent timer will start, counting down based on a period of inactivity on the device (ie. No button presses or calls made). This is sometimes known as a “check-in” or “keep alive” timer and DTS recommend this is set to 30 minutes in the majority of cases. When the timer reaches a set point in the countdown, the device will beep or vibrate to request the user presses a button on the device to re-set the timer. By doing this, the user is effectively confirming that all is well. This period is known as “pre-alarm”, and DTS usually recommend a 2-minute pre-alarm window. If the user does not press the button within the pre-alarm window, an emergency alarm will be raised. This emergency alarm can alert a control room, other device users or external on-call personnel. With certain devices and apps, the emergency alarm can be accompanied by location information and/or by opening the microphone on the device, allowing responders to hear what’s going on.

Whilst the methodology is pretty uniform, parameters for the main check-in timer and pre-alarm timer can usually be altered. On some systems, alteration is made during programming and on others it can be changed by the person initiating on the lone worker timer.

Another key difference is how the lone worker feature is initiated – and who it’s initiated by. As this tends to be the most crucial factor in deployment, we’ve covered the various approaches in detail below.


In this scenario, the device user turns the lone-worker feature on themselves on their device or app. This is the most common form of lone working on basic two-way radio systems where no central software application is present. It places the responsibility on the users themselves.


The user-initiated method is also open to user error. The user may forget to switch lone-worker mode on when they need it (or forget to switch it off when they don’t need it) – leading to missed and false emergency alarms!



Having the lone worker feature centralised allows operators in a Control Room or at a Help Desk to remotely switch a device’s keep alive timer on and off as required. This method also gives the operators visibility of all lone-working personnel via a user-friendly PC or smart device-based interface.

Whilst centralised lone worker can be considered more reliable than user-initiated, it’s not flawless. There can still be human error. Operators can forget to turn the feature on and off as needed. Adding a further process to an operator’s duties can also lead to frustration, particularly if there are dozens of users needing to come on and off of lone-worker mode several times each day.Centralised Lone Worker image 2

Automated Lone Worker

Wherever possible, DTS recommend automating lone working processes. This is also controlled via a central software application but does not require an operator to initiate or terminate the lone worker function. As the name suggests, the lone-worker feature is automatically switched on and off, based on a number of possible pre-set circumstances and parameters.

Another automated parameter is time of day. At a set point during a day, a radio’s lone worker function will automatically be activated. This initiation can also be altered based on which day of the week it is, or to take account of public holidays.

As human error has been removed from the equation, workers can go about their roles with peace of mind. Operators are not having to remember to switch the function on and off centrally. With these benefits in mind it’s worth being aware that solutions of this nature can be more costly, particularly if beacons are utilised to cover internal areas. But, in our experience, the cost is often negligible against the safety gains you achieve.