The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) defines a Lone Worker as “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”. This means that a Lone Worker isn’t necessarily someone who works alone but rather someone who may be at risk through reduced contact with their employer, for example someone who goes to appointments out the office or who conducts home visits. In my latest blog, I offer some simple advice for SME’s on how to effectively protect these Lone Workers.
CHECK YOUR LONE WORKING POLICY
The first step for any business is to ensure that they have a Lone Working Policy in place.
Every organisation needs a policy to inform lone workers about the arrangements that are in place to protect employees, which clarifies roles, responsibilities and procedures. As well as covering preventative measures, the policy should also state the actions that will be taken in the case of incidents (including the procedure for reporting and analysing this data). The policy should be communicated to all lone working staff and other relevant stakeholders in the business.
ASSESS & REASSESS
With your Lone Worker Policy in place, there should be regular risk assessments of each working role within the organisation to ascertain if a ‘Lone Worker’ scenario is likely to arise. Employers have a legal duty to carry out risk assessments of any work-related activities which present a risk to personal safety. This policy should identify who might be harmed, the dangers they face and any measures that can be taken to prevent and reduce the risk of injury.
Unless there are significant change of circumstances, Risk Assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis.
SELECT & IMPLEMENT
The data from your Risk Assessment should provide a clear picture of the potential risks that your employees may face – and the times at which such risks are most likely. Based on this data, and possibly with outside consultation with a lone worker solutions provider, an employer should be able to select the appropriate solution/s for their business.
This might be a process as simple as a senior manager making an hourly telephone call to their field based staff – or it may be that a more technology-based solution, such as that offered by Oakpark Security, is proportionate to the risks outlined in the earlier Risk Assessment.
MONITORING & TRAINING
Employers must not simply implement a technology or process solution and assume this is sufficient. Crucial to the success of any Lone Worker solution is ongoing monitoring and training where necessary. Employers should not become frustrated that their may not be – at least initially – the appetite amongst their staff to utilise their lone worker solution.
The key to overcoming this hurdle is to engage staff through regular communication and training. We always advise customers that training should move beyond HOW to use the technology in place, and also address the WHY? Employees may not have considered the implications of certain aspects of their job role, particularly if they are only deemed as a ‘Lone Worker’ for a small proportion of their working week.
If you are concerned about the safety of your employees and would like some further information on the options we can offer to help protect your Lone Workers, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read about Oakpark Security’s suite of lone worker protection solutions by clicking here.