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Ensuring our lone workers always stay safe

A common method for guaranteeing worker safety is to encourage watchfulness among workers. Employees are frequently trained to look out for their colleagues, from identifying signs of health issues like hypothermia, to alerting each other of dangerous conditions like slippery walkways.

However, this training is not really effective for lone workers; these are workers whose jobs require them to carry out their duties in isolation from other employees and without direct supervision. These employees face some extra safety hazards as, in addition to the risks present for all employees on a job site, lone workers can’t call out for help to another worker in the event of a real emergency.

Workers must be trained to understand risks inherent in the role and understand when and how to get in touch with others in case of an emergency. Managers need to frequently check in with any worker who is working in isolation through both regular visits as well as communication devices, such as telephone or radio. Employers must create systems to account for all employees and confirm the worker has returned to the headquarters once his or her task is fully completed.

In addition to regular check-ins and a means for employees to get in touch with supervisors, either via telephone or radio, a worker may also be outfitted with an alarm or warning device. This can include panic alarms or other distress signal the worker can activate from the site. Employers can also choose to use an automatic alarm that goes off under certain situations, for instance when it detects a lack of movement or exposure to certain hazardous substances. Automatic alarms can be particularly helpful for reducing safety risk in case a lone worker has fallen unconscious or is not able to speak.

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Lone workers usually occupy some of the most dangerous and challenging jobs. Social workers, realtors, security officers, delivery agents and in-home healthcare providers, often spend great portions of the day away from the offices, colleagues and the security available in those locations. Being alone and visiting unfamiliar and potentially hazardous situations is a real challenge these lone workers face almost every day. The fear of physical harm takes a toll on lone workers, and their lack of safety confidence can eventually lead to a reduced level of performance, a reduced level of engagement with the company and increased employee turnover.

Firms that employ lone workers have worked hard to improve the safety of their remote employees. While each company’s plan and safety device of choice can differ, implementing a solution dedicated to protecting your workers is a great start and a requirement to keep morale as well as performance at acceptable levels.

In a crowded marketplace of lone worker safety alternatives, firms are faced with a wide range of options for improving lone worker safety. Some are better than others, offering high-end workflows, benefits and features. Sorting through the available options is easier when the assessment focuses on these 4 elements that may improve safety outcomes:

 

Alarms

During an attack, the sounding of an alarm can help your employees communicate that they aren’t alone and thus send a warning to the aggressor, which can halt the attack. Different smartphone apps provide alarms and alerts in several ways. Select a product that lets you initiate the alarm without pressing a buttons or unlocking the smartphone, as these unnecessary steps take valuable time.

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A deterrent

At times just having access to the safety system and law enforcement is sufficient to discourage the attacker. A visual deterrent, for instance a brightly coloured tether attached to a phone, allows the employee to share information about their safety system. By letting a potential aggressor know that pulling the tether will result in a notification to the authorities, the worker can operate more confidently while the aggressor will think twice about escalating a situation.

 

Signal for help

Lone worker applications (mobile apps) give employees the ability to notify employers and emergency forces that help is required via a very simple action such as pulling a wrist tether from an unlocked smartphone. Once signalled, the authorities are dispatched to the employee’s location, which they found via GPS monitoring from the employee’s mobile phone.

 

Confidence

By providing your firm with the resources and tools to promote the wellbeing of your workers, you are actually giving your employees the peace of mind of knowing that they are not alone. When employees feel safe, productivity remains intact or goes up and energy is geared towards getting the job done.

Additionally, statistics tell us that worker perceptions of safety can considerably impact job satisfaction as well as productivity, while reduced worker stress is key to a company’s business operations.

Technology has been a real game changer for the lone worker, and that’s very good news for in-home healthcare professionals, realtors and other workers who brave the real world on a daily basis to deliver their services.

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