Central maintenance department to receive ‘lone worker’ app

CENTRAL MANITOULIN – A new level of worker safety is coming to the Central Manitoulin maintenance department following a municipal council decision to supply workers in that department with a lone worker app. Lone worker apps are software applications that work on a cellphone to provide real time oversight on the wellbeing and security of workers when they are conducting their duties alone.

The motion to supply this safety feature was moved by Councillor Angela Johnston and seconded by Councillor Derek Stephens and reads “proceeding with the lone worker app for the maintenance department, and further, that other departments/employees can be added at a later date.” The motion was carried.

Councillor Stephens questioned whether staff had ascertained if the staff at the landfill have cell phones. CAO/clerk Ruth Frawley responded that she had looked into that and had determined that one staff does have a cell, while the other does not. There was some question as to whether the employee without a cell would be amenable to having one, given that employee’s somewhat advanced age.

Councillor Stephens questioned that not insisting the cell-less employee carry a cell might have a bearing on municipal liability and insurance.

CAO Frawley responded that she would inquire with the municipal health and safety officer.

Mayor Stephens questioned whether the municipality should be insisting that its staff acquire certain equipment in order to do their job.

Councillor Stephens responded that the municipality already does just that with safety equipment. CAO Frawley noted that staff are provided with a stipend to cover the cost of that equipment.

Councillor Steve Shaffer noted that the recommendation from the safety, security and health committee was specifically worded to target the maintenance department because those employees all do have cell phones.

In the end it was decided to acquire the app for the maintenance department and to add other workers as it was deemed necessary at a later date.