The contemporary work environment is defined by unparalleled dynamism. An increasing number of workers are operating in remote capacities, in a wide range of often dangerous and unpredictable spaces.
Employers are faced with the duty of protecting these individuals, posing a sometimes significant challenge. Thankfully, there are a number of processes and resources that can make this task a fair bit easier – here’s how you can get started with protecting your lone workers.
The first step when it comes to protecting lone workers will always be the same, no matter the environment – to carry out risk assessments. These assessments will allow employers to identify the specific hazards that employees are likely going to face in their workplace, making it possible to then take clear steps to mitigate those risks. HSE have clear guidelines on how to conduct these risk assessments, which can be helpful to facilitate a thorough approach.
With lone workers, the main risks often arise from the fact that they don’t have direct access to assistance. This means that you need to empower them with the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to deal with emergency situations on their own.
Employee training should consist of hazard recognition, the effective use of safety equipment, and appropriate first aid training. The exact skills that employees should know will obviously differ depending on their roles and where it is that they’re working. These skills should be updated on a regular basis, to make sure that they remain fresh and relevant.
Technology based solutions
Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace these days, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that a number of high-tech solutions are being introduced to increase lone worker safety.
Lone worker apps for example can be used to allow employers to track their workers when out in dangerous environments, along with a range of other role-specific functions. When getting started with lone worker safety, it’s especially important to look into these kinds of solutions, to see what your workers could benefit from.
A wide range of roles require the use of specialised personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of harm coming to lone workers. This could be something as simple as high-vis jackets for workers who spend time nearby or on roads, or as complex as specialised respiratory devices to filter out specific toxic chemicals.
Accident response protocols
Accidents will happen – it’s impossible to entirely eliminate risk in most situations. What you can do is respond to these accidents in an effective manner, ensuring that lone workers come to no more harm than is absolutely necessary.
This means that you need to have clear response protocols in place that are practiced on a regular basis. There need to be people who are constantly monitoring incoming calls and emergency alerts, to ensure that no calls for help go unheard.
Lone worker protection is not just some abstract regulatory requirement. It’s a clear responsibility that all employers have towards the people who dedicate their professional lives to the success of their business. By taking the above points into consideration, you can minimise the chances of serious harm coming to your lone workers, protecting them, your brand, and your conscience.