Protecting Lone Workers Part 1: Employers
A new study by the Daisy Group has discovered that a third of public sector businesses are failing to protect their lone workers properly – and as one in seven lone workers expect it to take up to seven hours for an alarm to be raised in the event of a problem.
With the Office for National Statistics estimating that there are around six million lone workers in the UK, these figures are clearly unacceptable – but what can be done about it? In the first of a three-part series, this blog will focus on how employers can step up and do their bit to protect their lone workers and ensure they can carry out their job in safety.
Conducting a thorough risk assessment of any work-related activities that might present a risk to employee safety is a key responsibility of any employer. These in-depth assessments should identify a multitude of risks and potential dangers, and take clear steps to prevent and reduce them. If an employer is sending an employee to a new location that hasn’t had a thorough risk assessment conducted, they are breaching their duty of care.
There should be robust and actionable policies in place for lone workers, clarifying all the roles and responsibilities that employers and employees face. Businesses should have a clear protocol in the case of an accident or injury, and any changes to this policy should be communicated to all staff concisely, as quickly as possible.
Lone workers should always be monitored in some way – it can help to flag up problems quickly and efficiently, as well as ensuring that workers don’t feel too isolated while they’re out working. IQTimecard is a great example of a workforce monitoring solution that provides timely updates without being too intrusive. If an employee fails to clock in or out of a certain location, an alert can be sent to the employer, who can then take appropriate action. They can reach out to the worker in question almost immediately, and if there’s a problem (a traffic incident, adverse weather or something more serious), they can dispatch another employee to the location while the issue is taken care of.
Support and Training
It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their staff are fully trained and have all the support they need to carry out their job in an isolated environment. Employers should identify the training needs of their team (whether it’s general health and safety training, or something more specific) and should always strive to ensure that their training remains up-to-date and fresh in the minds of all staff members.