In loss control: Drones can access areas out of reach of traditional video cameras, making them a valuable tool for security and loss control.
In safety: Drones can monitor work areas for safety violations and assist in accident investigations. Not only can they record an incident, they can follow an investigator to record any eye witness accounts and provide an overview of the accident area to off-site claims managers.
In workers’ compensation claims: Workers’ compensation investigators could use drones to observe employees suspected of malingering.
Things to Remember
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permits the noncommercial use of unmanned aircraft systems with a few common sense restrictions. Those flying drones for commercial use must obtain FAA approval. Nongovernmental employers can receive FAA approval in one of three ways:
- Obtain a “Special Airworthiness Certificate” to perform research and development, crew training and market surveys. You cannot carry persons or property for compensation.
- Obtain a Restricted Category certificate for a special purpose.
- Petition for an exemption to perform commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments.
Some states have enacted laws regarding the use of drones. Most apply to police or other governmental agencies and generally prohibit their use without the appropriate warrants.
Most states have no specific restrictions against workplace drone use. The same privacy rules that apply to video cameras would apply to the use of drones. Anywhere a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a rest room or locker room, should be out of bounds of drones. And although you might not have a legal requirement to notify employees that they may be monitored by drones in the workplace, good employee relations and common courtesy makes notifying employees (and the public, if applicable) a sound practice.