December 1, 2020

Advice on how to improve the safety of your lone workers

ehstoday 8449 loneworker

ehstoday 8449 loneworker

As a business with lone workers and employees who work remotely, it is on you to guarantee their work environment is truly safe and their job does never put them in harm’s way.

How can we improve the safety of our lone workers?

If you break down each recommendation and guideline, you can see that by following them, workers are not only less likely to suffer accidents or injuries, but employees are also kept informed of how their employer is complying with official regulations. This is actually a very important factor to take into consideration, as it allows your employees transparency into the measures taken to safeguard their wellbeing.

For business owners and managers who want to attract exceptional employees, it is really advantageous to take the official guidelines and build upon them. There are many instances where managers can go above and beyond the basic regulations and mandates. For instance, the official regulations do not specify which type of communications managers should provide their lone workers when working remotely. Businesses can go a long way in giving lone workers peace of mind when they give them modern, useful technology that enables instant communications and immediate response times when in danger.

Procedures and best practices

Beyond adhering to the official requirements, managers should establish their own procedures and best practices. Every single job and work environment is actually different, thus requiring employers to establish, sporadically review, and regularly update protocols.

According to the HAS or Health and Safety Authority, there are several control measures organisations should be implementing based on their risk assessments. Some of these control measures may include:

  • Controlled sporadic checks
  • Automatic warning devices, like panic alarms, automatic distress message systems and no movement alarms
  • Instruction and training in procedures, including code words for violent situations when combined with phone communication
  • Use of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment
  • First-aid kits and its training
  • Implementing Standard Operating Procedures
  • Health surveillance
  • Locking and securing workplace
  • Implementing the right incident reporting procedures
  • Counseling

Further, businesses need to anticipate emergencies related to lone workers, then ask themselves whether or not they have answers to these questions:

  • Is there a safe way in and out for the worker at all times?
  • Can one employee safely complete the job?
  • Is there a real risk for violence?
  • Are women at risk in the environment?
  • Is the worker medically fit to carry out the job alone?
  • How well is the worker trained in lone worker safety protocols?

By providing best practices and procedures around each of those issues above, firms and lone workers will be better prepared in case of an emergency. It is up to the business owner or manager to not only ask these key questions but also to act upon them by providing proper measures to address each one.

Monitor workers in real-time

Lone workers should never feel “alone.” Periodic check-ins and monitoring are absolute requirements. Monitoring really begins with having precise records of where every single lone worker will be working at all times. Lone workers are usually assigned one or more job sites, thus requiring dispatchers or some other corporate personnel to keep real-time updates of where lone workers are and if they actually are where they are supposed to be.

Modern lone worker safety devices allow you to automate these processes. Even before a lone worker enters a dangerous situation, he can simply start a timed session on his mobile phone. Then, if he does not end the session before the timer ends, the employee’s supervisors and law enforcement are instantly notified and directed to his location (thanks to the GPS data from the mobile phone).

Even if someone is continuously monitoring the lone worker, the firm needs to also facilitate a safe way to travel to and from the lone worker’s location. This actually plays a critical role in helping emergency services reach the employee rapidly.