The amount of lone workers (for instance trade, service, medical, social and the whole care industry) is constantly growing. More than 6 million people in the United Kingdom work either without direct supervision or alone.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, stipulate that companies have a legal duty to review all risks to safety and health, taking into account the risks for lone working as well.
Lone work doesn’t automatically entail a higher safety risks or a greater incidence of violence, however it’s usually accepted that lone working does increase the anxiety and vulnerability of workers.
Because of inaction, if a problem happens to a lone worker it could cost a business up to twenty thousand pounds for each abuse. In serious cases, people in charge that are responsible could as well face a disqualification from acting as a business director for up to fifteen years or imprisonment.
How to protect your team?
1. Review all areas of risk taking into account exposure to violence or the feeling of being vulnerable, as well as the medical suitability of the person to work alone, manual handling and if the areas of work itself present potential dangers or risks.
2. Be conscious that usual and normal risks can be intensified for a person that works alone.
3. Establish safe systems of work, using technology, where it’s appropriated, to improve resilience and response times.
4. Fulfil prerequisites for training and how to best manage and monitor your employees. Establish limits for what’s allowed during lone working and set up a clear action scheme in case of an emergency.
5. Make sure that it’s a core section of your human resources policy and that everyone in your company is involved to ensure and maintain lone worker safety.
The advantages of using technology for lone workers are the fact that:
- You don’t need managers to make regular checks and visits because lone workers can “check-in” electronically.
- A panic alarm can be set off without delay alerting a designated contact of an incident.
- The business doesn’t need to constantly include a staff supervising and monitoring lone workers because the system automatically escalates detailed information and warnings, taking into account the location, by email or text so the relevant person can manage the issue.
- A full activity audit log is constantly registered, therefore you’ll know where the members of your staff were and when.
Every single business has to take care of and retain its workers. A business shouldn’t allow its employees to feel vulnerable or to be off work. On average, the price for a lone worker app that guarantees their safety is less than £2 per day per company. This is a cheap price to pay for safety, duty of care and confidence. Lone working protection represents advantages and costs savings for everyone.