Simple ways in which technology can help protect the health and safety of lone workers in the UK

 


The Health and Safety Executive’s definition of the term lone worker is established as someone who works by themselves without direct supervision. This broad concept can include any worker who spends some time in an office on their own, or perhaps travelling between meetings, or even working from home, and it can be either regularly or on an odd occasion.

Many lone workers must work alone in situations that expose them to dangers from work-related verbal abuse or violence, accidents, injury or illness. The ONS or Office of National Statistics estimates that there are about 6 million lone workers in the United Kingdom. Some estimates put this number at as many as 8 million.

As an employer, you actually have a legal Duty of Care to your employees and you need to protect them from such risks. In case one of your workers suffers harm at work as a result of doing their job, you will most probably end up in court. And if eventually it can be proven that the prevention systems you employ are not good enough or up to the job of protecting your workers, you will find yourself in breach of numerous pieces of the Health and Safety legislation. And this will have disastrous consequences.

 

What can be the cost to the business?

The Sentencing Council regulations state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine will be at least half million (£500,000). Of course, it is no defence for you as an employer to state that you did not have enough time, resources or money to reduce those risks.

There is also the possibility of courts imposing publicity orders that may destroy your reputation, lower staff morale and worst cases scenario, prison sentences for employers and managers found to be negligent.

 

How can I protect the lone workers?

You should find ways to provide your lone workers with the backup and peace of mind they require to keep them focused on their work rather than on potential issues and problems. Empower your personnel who works alone to summon help quickly in events of incidents that may threaten their wellbeing.

Using a personal safety device or lone working app, lone workers will be able to communicate with the controllers twenty four hours a day, 365 days per year. Such devices usually come with GPS location, 2 way voice communications and a fall detector function that raises the alarm in the event of a trip, fall or slip – these personal alarms are an excellent tool to protect lone workers when there is an emergency.

 

Emergency situations

Every company needs to perform risk assessments and establish estimates of all the foreseeable risks. This will aid employees to properly respond when an emergency happens. In spite of this, there are many unpredictable incidents that often take place when working alone. Lone workers often slip, fall or trip without immediate medical assistance, and this it can impact or threaten their lives. Some r alarms or devices include the “fall alarm” feature within the device, and this will automatically detect when the person slips, falls or trips and will raise an alarm to alert their manager in charge or even directly the emergency services.

 

Are you an employer?

As an employer, you need to manage any safety or health risks before workers can carry out their duties alone. This applies to any person contracted to work for you, and this includes self-employed individuals too.

Lone workers are those individuals who work by themselves without direct supervision, for instance:

·         as health workers, engineers or delivery drivers

·         as cleaners or security staff

·         in petrol stations or warehouses

·         from their homes

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