Lone Worker safety

Keeping your lone workers safe isn’t an option, it’s part of your legal obligation as an employer towards your staff.

There are many things you can do to ensure that you're protecting your lone worker employees. Firstly, it's worth identifying who your lone/remote workers are.  Contrary to what many people may think, lone workers are not restricted to a specific industry or job type. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) the definition of a lone worker is “an employee is working alone, such as in a confined space or isolated location.”

Essentially, if an employee is working alone, at any time, they are a lone worker. With more people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic many employers have more remote worker employees than ever.  Due to shift we have seen in working conditions in recent months, many companies have been forced to consider what they can do to ensure the safety and well-being of their lone worker employees.

risk assessment

Generally, lone workers are under higher risk than other employees in the company, even if they are doing a desk-based job. In order to effectively deal with the risks, you need to identify them…completing a risk assessment is a great way of doing this. Consider their work process and activities, equipment used, sources of danger, and how they are likely to use their equipment. 

Completing a Risk Assessment is not a one-time thing - employers should continually review lone worker environments for any new factors that may increase the likelihood of harm.

training

Providing training to employees isn't new, but training employees specifically for lone working may be an element of your new hire program that needs more attention.

Topics could include: How to respond to an emergency; Best use of machinery/equipment and potential hazards. It's the new age of Zoom and Google Meet - potentially the training can be accomplished this way. 

Training benefits both the employee and the employer - both will have greater confidence in each other and the ability to handle whatever comes their way!

technology

With the continuous advancements in technology, it’s no surprise that there’s a 'techie' way to help with the safety of your home workers. You may have heard of computer programs/apps that allow an employer to monitor and manage lone workers by using scheduling tools, SOS alerts and GPS tracking. This technology is particularly beneficial for mobile lone workers such as taxi drivers, delivery drivers, couriers, surveyors, etc. who conduct their duties at various locations throughout the day. Not only can you keep track of their whereabouts for business purposes, but they need help you can easily locate them.

These systems not only benefit the company, but they show your lone workers that you are willing to implement the tools needed to ensure they are well-taken care of.

This technology is not an easy fix,  instead it should be used as part of an overall strategy. There are many different systems, devices and apps on the market, so make a list of your required features and find the best fit.

reporting & performance reviews

Your remote workers may be out of sight but not out of mind. Performance and development reviews for lone workers are often pushed to the wayside, but without them the lone worker may feel isolated, unsupported, and unmotivated.

As an employer, reporting and reviews are a window into the quality and/or quantity of the employee's work. The type of reviews will vary from employee to employee - set clear objectives and encourage open and frequent communication.

Both remote working and the potential of returning to the office full time can cause anxiety (particularly with new remote workers) and negatively affect people's mental health.

Performance reviews and frequent check-ins will help you to identify any early signs of stress.

covid 19 and the way we are

For employers with a mix of site and lone workers: we've been working on new technology to help with the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Our goal is to help businesses provide a safe return to work, notably by using technology to ensure social distancing guidelines are being adhered to. We'll be releasing another blog post soon detailing how this will work, so stay tuned!

to find out if we are the right fit for your lone worker monitoring needs, get in touch with us!