Lone workers are at significantly greater risk than those working in groups of people. So, how do you keep them safe?
1. Identify all your lone workers
Even though most lone worker roles in an organization are apparent, for example, crane operators, water samplers, and district nurses, some lone workers may not be as easily identifiable. As an employer, you need to think about the utility engineer who works with customers but is often isolated from colleagues as well as the employee who stays late into the night completing a project all alone in the building. You also have to consider any employee who occasionally works from home. It is your legal and moral duty to provide them with adequate protection. However, in order to achieve this, you first need to identify all the lone workers in your organization.
2. Risk assessment should be an ongoing process
Considering that unexpected hazards and threats can and often arise, a risk assessment should always be treated as ongoing work. If your organization employs lone workers, you are required by law to carefully consider any risks that the employees may face as a result of their roles, ad put in place measures to tackle these risks. Every job function carries with it certain risks and opportunities. While coming up with a written procedure for every group of workers may seem like an arduous task, it is essential in ensuring their safety. A good procedure should contain a summary of the risk assessment in addition to an alert and escalation protocol.
3. Offer support that helps but doesn’t hinder the lone worker
It is important that you offer lone worker protection that they need without having to burden them with complex or admin processes. Safe Hub offers a full range of features that allow you to achieve this.
Red Alert instantly connects the lone worker to an Alarm Response Centre (ARC), which identifies the worker as well as their GPS location and the type of support that they need.
Yellow Alert enables your lone worker to leave you a voice message informing you exactly where they are in the event of an emergency situation. This is especially helpful when you have lone workers in the field or employees working outside of normal working hours or alone in a large office building.
Worker Down utilizes built-in motion sensors to track the movement of the handset as well as its orientation. If, for instance, the handset detects a sudden impact, this can be an indication that the employee has fallen or is an incident. When this happens Safe Hub will automatically raise an alert with the Alarm Response Centre. However, in case of a false alarm, the worker can easily deactivate it.
Based on the user’s personal risk assessment, Safe Check will send a text, voice, or email message at pre-set intervals. The message will ask the individual to send an identity code to confirm that they are not in harm’s way. If everything is okay, the system will reset until the next message response is due. However, in the event that a response isn’t received within the expected time frame, the system will go into alert mode and connect to the ARC, where the staff will act on the alert based on the agreed escalation procedures.
Group Alert allows the manager to send important messages to specific people, pre-defined user groups, or individuals within a particular radius from a central point in case of an emergency, for example, disastrous weather or a terror alert.
Safe Beacon transmits alert signals between Bluetooth-enabled beacons and Safe Hub. These beacons are usually placed discreetly within buildings. When a lone worker enters or approaches a Safe Beacon-monitored area , the system immediately sends out an alert to the employees and their line managers. The message sent typically contains safety warnings or dynamic risk notifications like exposure to an area being time-limited. They can also ensure that the worker understands the Health and Safety policies.
4. Devices for real-world lone working situations
Every lone worker’s job function carries a certain amount of risk. However, it also presents opportunities for improving safety. Systems to protect lone workers like Safe Hub are usually accessed on a device that suits the worker’s own situation – every worker will need something different, for instance:
Lone employees working in remote areas with weak mobile service will require satellite devices.
Employees that closely work with customers require wearable devices or discreet products with an easy-to-locate SOS feature.
Workers with smartphones or standard mobile phones may not need an additional device. A short dial programming or an app may be used to access the system. Office or work-at-home employees should be able to access the system using desktop software.
Those working with or close to combustible materials or in factories will need an inherently safe device as well as durable devices designed to eliminate the risk of a spark.
Protect areas with time-limited exposure with alarm beacons that monitor access and entry. Different lone working scenarios will require companies to use different devices. Fortunately, Safe Hub supports all of them.
5. Management and auditing
It goes without saying that team leaders need access to clear data to be able to monitor the safety of lone workers. It is also equally important that you have access to quality data for auditing purposes. The best systems offer full auditing and management, and individual profiles, and are device agnostic – everything in one package.
Safe Hub lets you set up individual profiles for every lone worker for health and safety purposes – even when they are sharing a device – spelling out the exact engagement, as well as monitoring and escalation protocols suited to their needs. The platform offers a precise cross-device snapshot of system activity. Additionally, it provides prompt and accurate reporting that is in line with UK Health and Safety Executive requirements, ensures health and safety, and enables auditing and corporate governance.