Digital Personal Protective Equipment

User Experience for Emergency Response Solutions.

Design thinking for protecting exposed lone-workers

Actively protect lone workers ensuring that help is on the way when something goes wrong.

OnGuard revolutionizes worker safety with its cutting-edge Digital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) solutions. Addressing the crucial need for enhanced safety in remote and hazardous work environments, OnGuard's innovative technology offers real-time monitoring, emergency response, and compliance tools. This vital digital advancement significantly elevates lone worker protection, ensuring safety and peace of mind in industries where risk is a constant companion.

Risk management is necessary for workers performing daily tasks that require exposure to any hazard. Also, it is a requirement for companies to prevent negligence, reduce insurance premiums while causing minimum impact on existing workflows, and, above all, support their workforce.


The user experience design has been essential to the company's success. It is very rewarding to participate in a start-up company starting from the ground up and consolidating in multiple industries.  


My role

Physical and digital product design for mobile, web and IoT devices. I also made the illustrations and animations as part of the user journey and marketing materials.



OnGuard changed its branding some years ago. During this project you will see some of the assets under Sens-Net.

Project Duration

From 2016 - 2018


Working closely with clients and stakeholders, early and frequent validation of usability improvements and quick iteration.


Design thinking, and continuous user validation under a waterfall development process.


  • AdobeXD
  • Illustrator
  • ProofmeHQ
  • Trello

Client info 

Propossed Value

Safety and Accident Prevention

OnGuard proactively prevents accidents and enhances safety with continuous monitoring and instant alerts for lone workers. It efficiently manages emergencies, following protocols to minimize risks and legal issues, ensuring a comprehensive safety solution in challenging work environments.

Operational Efficiency and Visibility

Location Tracking: Fundamental to workplace safety and productivity, OnGuard's location tracking provides essential visibility into the whereabouts of the workforce, contributing significantly to operational efficiency.

Regulatory Compliance and Productivity

OnGuard ensures safety compliance with federal and local regulations, supporting legal adherence. It also boosts worker productivity, a key for competitive advantage, by maximizing output relative to expenditure, thereby enhancing economic efficiency and workplace effectiveness.

Problem statement

Design thinking for protecting exposed lone-workers

The dangers of small hydrocarbon leaks underscore the need for vigilant monitoring, rapid detection, and effective response strategies to mitigate their multifaceted risks.

“Working alone”, in the context of OHS legislation, refers to workers working by themselves at a site where assistance is not readily available if there is an injury, illness or emergency. Employers must fulfill several requirements in the OHS Code if they have workers who work alone.

In 2014, OnGuard, initially known as Sens-net, commenced its operations, seizing a pivotal opportunity presented by Alberta's new Working Alone law, OHS Code part 280. This law was enacted in response to the unique and often hazardous conditions faced by lone workers in Alberta, a province known for its diverse and sometimes remote industries, including oil and gas, forestry, and agriculture.

Lone workers in Alberta often find themselves in isolated locations, far from immediate help, making them vulnerable to various risks. These include accidents or health emergencies without immediate assistance, exposure to environmental hazards, and the possibility of encounters with wildlife or other unforeseen dangers. The physical isolation can also lead to psychological challenges, such as increased stress or a sense of vulnerability.

The Working Alone law was designed to mitigate these risks by ensuring that employers and employees take proactive steps to enhance safety. It mandates measures for minimizing or eliminating potential dangers, establishing reliable communication channels for emergency situations, and conducting regular check-ins to assess the well-being of lone workers.

OnGuard's services directly address these challenges. By offering comprehensive safety solutions, including emergency communication systems and routine monitoring, OnGuard aligns with the objectives of Alberta's law, providing essential support to ensure the safety and well-being of lone workers in these challenging environments. The company's focus on innovative safety solutions reflects a deep understanding of the specific dangers that lone workers in Alberta face, offering peace of mind and enhanced protection in the province's diverse and often isolated work settings.

Value Proposition

Actively reducing risks

The OnGuard worker safety solution monitors employee safety 24 hours a day through mainstream or specialized mobile devices.

OnGuard is designed to monitor, record and report employee locations, facilitate simplified employee check-in at predetermined times, remind an employee they are required to check in, detect an employee in a Man Down situation and allow an employee to summon help in an emergency.


When any errors could be life-threatening

As part of their MVP, the company focused on Oil&Gas workers in remote areas of Alberta. As their product offering matured, more verticals and industries were included.

Understand user pains

Storytelling vividly conveys user pains, personalizes experiences, highlights challenges, and fosters stakeholder empathy and understanding to drive effective, user-centric solutions.

In Oil & Gas, lone workers' risk is an everyday concern. It’s a fact of life for thousands of workers in the oil and gas industry that remote workers will be driving hundreds of miles weekly on back roads in rural areas to work in hazardous areas with dangerous equipment like pump jacks. Intrinsic risks are always present, and even when risk assessment, training, and best practices are a high priority for companies, there is a real, ever-present possibility.

John gets into an accident.

Phone detects a fall.

Sends a notification.

Manager is informed

ERC locates alert.

Help is on the way.

Paramedics assist John.

John recovers at the hospital.

Flow chat explaining the roles, statuses and actions in the system

Main emergency scenarios

Panic Button

When an emergency happens and workers need immediate help, they can simply press a panic button either on the screen, on equipped rugged phones or on wearable IoT devices.

Fall Detection

A man-down alarm ensures no one will be left alone in the event of a workplace incident. A fall alert system uses sensors built into Android smartphones or connected wearables detect that you have fallen, are motionless and may be injured.

Toxic Gas Detection

Sophisticated gas detectors and heart rate sensors integrate with all IoT wearables to provide more accurate information to a response team about the type of alert and how to effectively respond.

HazLoc Detection

The system can define a geo-fence around a hazardous area, notifying the user at entry and triggering an alarm in case the operator stays longer than expected.

Lone-workers needs focus on safety, communication, emergency support, and monitoring for isolated work environments.

User-Centered Design Approach

Needs Analysis

Remote Area Risks

Lone workers often operate far from towns with poor cellular coverage, making it difficult to seek help in emergencies, especially if injured.

Inefficient Check-In Policies

Companies require hourly check-ins for safety, but this disrupts productivity and may not be timely enough to respond to immediate dangers or accidents.

Lack of On-Site Support

Unlike on-site workers with peer support, lone workers must independently handle all situations, lacking immediate assistance or guidance.

Outdated Safety Equipment

Despite advancements in cloud computing and wireless technology, safety policies and equipment for lone workers lag behind, often due to insufficient investment and the notion of 'out of sight, out of mind.'

User personas

Dave, 37
Civil Engineer - Manager

A civil engineer from the University of Alberta, works as a lone worker in remote Alberta. Skilled and independent, he faces challenges in isolated terrains with limited connectivity. An avid hiker and photographer, William values his outdoor work despite the risks. He stays connected with his team, relying on his expertise and resilience for safety.

John, 28
Field Worker

William, 37, a civil engineer from the University of Alberta, works as a lone worker in remote Alberta. Skilled and independent, he faces challenges in isolated terrains with limited connectivity. An avid hiker and photographer, William values his outdoor work despite the risks. He stays connected with his team, relying on his expertise and resilience for safety.


A system ready for the worst-case scenario

The system required a web User Interface for ERC responder and a mobile app for intrinsically safe phones for personal in the field. 

Desktop UI for Emergency Response Center

This interface is meant for the ERC responder, who constantly monitoring any situation and ready to act in case of emergency.

Interface for single-user management, including active devices, user profile, locations history, view logs and user properties.

The system allows ERC users to edit, include, and delete geofences and facilities, triggering events like alarms, check-ins or entering in haz-loc areas.

Mobile app for intrinsically safe phones

The mobile app runs on android and was specifically designed for Sonin phones, including an emergency button included in the hardware.

The app was customizable to fit the needs of clients and match their different requirements.


Understanding the Users and Their Environment

Designing with a sense of responsibility is a profound experience, especially when reflecting on the journey of OnGuard, which has become a leader in real-time geo-spatial awareness and worker safety. 

A decade ago, the initial designs were conceptualized with a vision to enhance safety and provide crucial support in high-risk environments. Today, it's incredibly rewarding to see how those designs have evolved and expanded across various sectors, including mining, utilities, hospitality, and transportation. The responsibility felt during the design process is magnified when considering the impact of these services - supporting thousands of users and effectively managing countless emergencies. This journey underscores the significant role of thoughtful design in creating solutions that not only meet industry demands but also safeguard lives and improve daily operations in challenging work environments. 

The growth and success of OnGuard are testaments to the importance of designing with foresight, care, and a deep understanding of user needs, a responsibility that continues to drive innovation and excellence in the field.

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My work

I created three portfolios highlighting UX design versatility, tech leadership, and innovation across industries.

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UX Design for Internet of Things

Open Access

UX Design for Fintech

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