The simple definition of a Lone worker is someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision. This could range from someone that works long periods alone in a warehouse to an office worker that stays behind late after work. Both of these workers are equally vulnerable due to the fact that they are working alone. Unforeseen accidents could result in injuries and in worst case scenarios, death. Now take a minute and think how often you are alone whilst at work ? What if you are trapped or knocked unconscious ? How long will it take for your colleagues to find you ?
All the scenarios mentioned above could result in a fatal injury to yourselves or your colleagues. The response time of the emergency services is also very important in cases like this, every minute is valuable to saving someone’s life. This is why companies need to have a robust Health and Safety action plan in place to protect their vulnerable lone workers.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that, organisations could face heavy fines and even custodial sentences for failing to implement a safety plan for employees that work alone within the company. We highlight some of the key measures to put in place to protect lone workers and how it could help to meet your duty of care needs:
It’s very important to provide adequate training to all employees so that they are capable of taking the appropriate measures to protect themselves in certain situations, for example:
With the right training employees would be able to cope in unexpected circumstances, especially if they are working alone. The same applies for all new employees starting with an organisation as this training would help them to learn more about their role and their working environment.
Supervision and Monitoring
Employers must ensure that there’s a certain level of communication in place to ensure the safety of their lone workers. This could be in the form of phones, radio, email or even logging their activity with a dedicated smartphone app at timed intervals. Periodically visiting and monitoring the lone workers would also help to maintain the quality of their work. Finally, ensuring there are procedures in place to ensure that a lone worker has returned to their base or home once their task is completed (HSE, 2013).
Every organisation should carry out risk assessments and identify all the foreseeable risks. This would help the employees to correctly respond in the event of an emergency. However, there are many unforeseeable incidents that could take place when working alone. Lone workers could slip, trip or fall unconscious and without immediate medical assistance, it could impact their life greatly. “Fall alarm” feature within the MicroGuard device would be ideal for this, as it will automatically detect when the user slips, trips or falls and can raise an alarm to alert their supervisor in charge or even the emergency services.