With the increasing prevalence of complex technologies, lone working is becoming more and more common. As a result, the term ‘lone worker’ is coming to define an ever-expanding group that often includes workers such as cleaners, security guards, healthcare workers, and even those who work remotely, from a home office or a cafe.
While working alone can provide a range of benefits in terms of autonomy, it can also increase the risks associated with accidents, injuries, and a range of other emergencies. To improve lone worker safety, here are 4 steps that we think you should take.
Assess the risks
Before you can take steps to improve lone worker safety, you first need to actually identify those risks most closely associated with the specific work environment in question. You’ll need to start by conducting a risk assessment to identify potential hazards, such as the risk of physical violence from people they may meet in the field, slips and falls, exposure to hazardous materials, or other risks that are unique to your profession.
Identifying these risks will help you identify the areas that require the most attention when it comes to risk mitigation and incident response, and then develop a safety plan to address those risks.
Use technology to stay connected
It’s essential that employers bring technology into their lone worker safety plan to help keep workers connected; a lack of communication is often what makes working in a lone capacity so dangerous in the first place, and technology provides an excellent solution.
This might include the use of GPS tracking devices or other monitoring tools that allow workers to check in at a specific destination, or send out an emergency alert if they encounter a problem. Smartphone apps or wearable devices can also provide a means for workers to connect with other people on their team and access emergency services via a lone worker alarm if needed.
Safety training is also absolutely vital for ensuring that lone workers are prepared to handle emergency situations. This might consist of training on how to identify potential hazards, how to use safety equipment properly, and how to get in touch with relevant safety responders.
Providing regular training, rather than treating it as a one-off requirement, can help to ensure that workers remain prepared to handle unexpected situations.
Create a safety plan
Finally, things do go wrong no matter how prepared you are, making it important that you create a safety plan that outlines the procedures for dealing with emergencies. This plan should include details on how to report incidents, how to call for help, and what steps to take in the event of specific emergencies that are more likely to occur.
Improving lone worker safety requires a multipronged approach that addresses the unique risks associated with working alone, in a wide variety of environments. By conducting risk assessments, providing training, and using technology to stay connected, you can help to make sure that lone workers are prepared to handle unexpected situations and stay safe on the job. Remember that the safety of lone workers is every employer’s responsibility, and it’s important to remain vigilant and take steps to mitigate potential risks at all times.