Ensuring worker safety is of paramount importance for any business, especially those with workers who carry out their duties alone.
Lone working carries added risk because it involves employees doing a job without a teammate or colleague to call on in the event of a mishap or emergency.
Keeping lone workers safe might seem a daunting task, but with a few simple steps, businesses can mitigate much of the risk their lone workers face.
Follow HSE Advice
When it comes to lone worker safety, it goes without saying that a company should follow the guidance given by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The HSE suggests businesses take a two-pronged approach to mitigating lone worker risk:
- Train, monitor and supervise lone workers.
- Respond promptly to an incident reported by a lone worker.
Training is essential for any job, but when it comes to lone workers, it might just be the difference between life and death.
Training in personal safety can help lone workers recognise situations where they may be at risk and show them how to take evasive action.
If lone workers are kitted out with safety devices, they must be trained in how to use the technology and maintain it so that it remains operational at all times.
Monitor & Supervise
The HSE describes a lone worker as “someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision”.
As such, the normal approach to supervision is not applicable. This means that a lone worker must be monitored and supervised remotely.
Technology has a role to play here and there is a range of gadgets and alarms (see next section) on the market that allow lone workers to stay in touch with colleagues back at base.
It is essential that when disaster strikes, a lone worker has the means to sound the alarm.
There is a range of safety devices on the market that allow lone workers to call for help in the event of an accident or emergency.
One key bit of kit for a lone worker is a lone worker app. These can easily be installed on a lone worker’s compatible Android or Apple smartphone or other device.
These apps tend to make use of a site’s wifi network or the phone network to keep the lone worker in touch with colleagues.
This means the site needs to be covered by a strong and reliable communications network if they are to be used.
Lone worker apps also often feature easily accessible SOS buttons, GPS and true man-down detection systems, which alert colleagues if an employee is incapacitated.
Lone working can be a risky business, but that risk can be managed and mitigated with the right training and monitoring procedures in place.
A key part of monitoring lone workers is using appropriate technology to keep in touch with them when they are working away from the base.
This means lone workers are never alone and have a vital lifeline should disaster strike.