How do you ensure your lone workers are safe?
Although it may not be the first choice for every worker there are some jobs, or elements of a particular role where lone working will be an unavoidable part of the professional process. In fact, in the UK alone there are more than six million people that fall into this solo working category. While many situations do not present much danger, i.e. when working from a home or remote office in a public area, it is the employers duty to ensure that all staff working alone are doing so in an environment that is ‘reasonably safe’. For job roles such as security guards, care workers or council staff on home visits, this can present particularly high risks that must be managed in order to continue legal employment.
It is important for HR, or anyone in charge of the safety for staff, to ensure that appropriate health and safety assessments have been executed before any worker is deployed to a particular site. This includes evaluating the risks involved for the particular task at hand, as well as factoring in any unique dangers that may arise from each working location. Any businesses with five or more workers are legally required to record the findings of these risk assessments, as well as the steps that have been made as a result of the findings. Some specialist industries will also have restrictions on the type of tasks that can be completed by lone workers, and it is important to be fully aware of these limitations in order to remain within the law, while preserving the safety of your staff. Once the risk assessments have been made, some level of external supervision will be required for staff working alone to ensure that they are out of danger. This can involve phone calls or regular site visits from management.
Investing in a remote workforce management system such as IQ:timecard can improve communication between staff and head office, greatly increasing safety for lone workers. Instead of conventional ‘phone call’ check ins, automated software can log arrival and departure data of staff to a shift in real time, meaning management can be alerted should any discrepancies occur. What’s more, GPS capabilities mean that it is possible to track the location of the lone workers, again bringing any concerning data to light.
With thorough risk assessments and intensive training on how to respond to emergency situations, a lone worker can operate in a safe and effective way. And with the help of workforce management software this can be further leveraged.