Depressed senior woman staying in rest home

IQ:timecard Calls for More Lone Worker Safety Policies

Lots of industries rely on lone workers, but there is a worrying lack of effective safety policies in place, resulting in remote workforce management company IQ:timecard to call on companies and public sector organisations to do more to protect its staff.

Around half of all convenience store workers, especially in smaller stores, report having to deal with verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis, with The Association of Convenience Stores saying one worker is seriously injured during robberies or attempted robberies about every six months in the UK. Community nurses have also spoken out about their vulnerability recently, with 63% of staff reporting abuse in the last two years. Worryingly, 45% of those staff said nothing was done to rectify the situation even when the abuse was reported.

David Lynes, Director of workforce management software solution IQ:timecard, says, “Lone workers across the board are not being safeguarded appropriately. While it may be impossible for employers to prevent all accidents and unexpected events such as abuse from clients, they are failing to do the simplest of checks such as risk assessments and following up with staff after an attack. We even know that policies which were introduced years ago for lone working nurses, such as lone worker devices, have been withdrawn because of funding cuts. The workplace is effectively going backwards in health and safety.”

Mr Lynes added, “We know there are budget restrictions, especially in the public sector and the NHS – however staff safety is not what companies can afford to sacrifice. Apart from risking more staff going on long term sick leave due to stress and a high turnover, businesses are also risking costly compensation claims if staff are injured because safety policies were not adequate.”

From the security sector to contract cleaning, many businesses simply wouldn’t survive if they couldn’t utilise lone workers. However, policies need to be put in place to protect staff when they are at their most vulnerable. IQ:timecard software can be a part of that policy, as it tracks a remote workforce with real time updates. As a time and attendance solution, it effectively tells managers and supervisors at head office where each staff member is for each job, what time they arrived and what time they left.

If staff members spend too long at a certain location or fail to clock in for a job, managers are immediately alerted via SMS or their chosen contact method. This allows them to immediately contact the lone worker and raise the alarm if needed.

Mr Lynes said, “Our software is the tip of the iceberg, a starting point for lone worker safety policies. Companies also need to invest heavily in training for vulnerable staff members, and ensure all matters are recorded and resolved.