A guide to supporting lone workers
The latest advancements in technology have increased the number of employees who work alone – outdoors or indoors. In fact, building an effective framework for maximum protection for these workers is a priority since lone workers are mostly expected to work under trying conditions in remote areas.
You might be familiar with the term “Lone Worker” if you have ever worked under risky conditions or without being supervised by others. You may not care that much if you are not a lone worker. But if you run a business that employs lone workers or you are the manager of several lone workers, you should consider purchasing a Lone Worker Protection Policy. This article provides information on protective measures a company should take to guarantee a safe and healthy environment for lone workers.
Who is a lone worker?
A lone worker is an employee who operates out of sight or sound of other employees. There is a real risk involved in being a lone worker. In case the lone worker isn’t supervised or seen by other workers, no one will know that he is dealing with an emergency. Even if somebody is close to him, it’s almost impossible to help the lone worker in case of an emergency. In fact, a lone worker is what the definition indicates: A Total Alone Worker.
Lone workers may include construction employees, field service employees, or general employees who work distantly from other workers of the particular company.
1 – Share your policy
A lone working policy will guide and support an employee who is working alone. Even though it’s not a legal requirement, a lone worker policy helps promote a strong safety culture among employees. It keeps them safe and reduces the legal risks in the process.
2 – Assess the risks of the role
You should carry out a thorough risk assessment for each lone working role, which should cover the risks associated with a particular job as well as the environment in which the lone worker works. You should also adapt the risk assessment in case the lone worker is under 18 years of age, pregnant, or has a disability.
3 – Equip lone workers correctly
The system should be proven and tested in place:
- Accurate monitoring that includes check in and check out facilities
- Personal alarms – the employee should get fast and effective assistance during an emergency and this can be provided with a working alone alarm
- GPS tracking – to keep track of the location of the lone worker
- Accurate information of emergency contact numbers including out of hours when needed
4 – Provide training and advice
A lone worker should be trained on how to work safely. The training should cover how to deal with risks, recognize any danger signs, how to de-escalate a station, and how to act in an emergency. The employee should also be advised on safe lone working practices and all procedures to ensure they are safe. If a lone worker feels he has not been shown how to perform a task safely, he should request training from the employer before attempting the specific task.
5 – Encourage openness and communication
Prevention is the best cure. In fact, a lone worker should be able to identify safety risks. The employer should encourage openness and facilitate effective communication with and between lone workers of the company. They should create an environment in which people feel safe reporting risks.
6 – Know when lone working is not ok
Working alone may not be easy in high risk situations. For example, if a lone worker is likely to encounter people who are prone to aggressive behavior, people under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and people with mental health problems, they should not work alone. These are instances where lone working is not recommended.
The aforementioned article provides information on how to guarantee a safe and healthy working environment for a lone worker. Employers are responsible for the safety of lone workers while they perform their jobs.