SureSafe offers a range of lone worker devices designed to keep lone workers, or ‘at risk’ workers, safe. SureSafe offers tailored solutions to fit both your employees risk needs, as well as fit your organisation's operational needs. SureSafe allows employees to call for help in an emergency, tracks their location via GPS in case they get into any difficulty, can detect falls should employees have an accident, and helps you satisfy your workplace health and safety requirements.
How can we protect Lone Workers?Article by Daniel Westhead
A lone worker is defined by the HSE as “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”.
Some people assume that a lone worker is just someone who works from home, however, there are lots of other jobs that require some degree of lone working, for example, a teacher without another colleague in the classroom or a retail worker stacking shelves with no other colleagues in the direct vicinity.
In the UK, around 20% of the total workforce are classed as lone workers, and this is on the increase. In May 2021, a BBC report found that almost all of the 50 largest UK employers did not plan to bring employees back to the office on a full-time basis. The safety of your employees will always be a primary concern, so how can you ensure that your lone workers are protected?
What must the employer of a lone worker do?
As an employer, you must manage any health and safety risks before people can work alone. This includes contractors and freelance staff.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, employers are responsible for the health and safety of all their workers.
In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) requires employers to assess the risks associated with lone workers to ensure that they do not face more risk than any other employee.
Read more about what the employer of a lone worker must do.
Are lone workers at a higher risk?
Lone workers aren’t necessarily exposed to a higher risk of accidents or violence, however, depending on the nature of their work, being a lone worker does increase one’s vulnerability as there isn’t any direct supervision or anyone to help them if things do go wrong.
The risks that lone workers face largely depend on their job role. The most common risks associated with lone working include:
- Falls, slips and trips
- Driving for work
- Working at a height
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Working with harmful substances
- Operating machinery and equipment
- Falling ill while working alone
While risk by its very nature cannot always be foreseen, implementing good safety measures can help to protect lone workers.
Lone worker protection systems
For many industries, lone worker protocols may have already been established, however for those who have only recently considered remote or lone working opportunities, they may not have analysed the potential impact or hazards for employees.
A survey conducted by Hytera Communications and Health and Safety at Work magazine in 2017 revealed that many lone workers are being sent out without appropriate communications equipment. Nearly 82% said they relied on mobile phones as their main communication system in the field - This could be particularly dangerous for those working in construction, driving or working in a remote location as not only are mobile phones a potential distraction, but you may not receive coverage to call for help if needed.
There are a number of safer, more reliable solutions available to help protect lone workers, including:
Lone worker training
Sending your lone workers on training to equip them with the ability to identify and handle risks alone can help to keep them safe, particularly for those whose role may be vulnerable to violence or injury, such as a security guard.
Lone working policy
A lone working policy can help to encourage a stronger safety culture among employees. It is a practical guide that employees can apply to their roles, reducing the risk of legal issues and keeping them safe.
A personal safety alarm can be a valuable piece of lone working equipment. They provide peace of mind in the event of an emergency for your staff, while ensuring that you meet your obligations as an employer of lone workers.
Lone worker protection devices
All lone workers can benefit from having a lone worker device with them. They are reliable, comfortable and easy to use, designed to keep people safe at work. SureSafe lone worker alarms allow employees to call for help in an emergency, whether they are at risk from violence or abuse, have an accident or suffer from a special medical condition such as epilepsy, fainting spells or heart conditions. You can choose from a variety of styles and types of personal alarm, from simple one-touch buttons which can be worn as a pendant or a wristband, to more sophisticated smart watch alarms.
Monitoring lone workers for protection
Knowing the whereabouts of your lone workers and ensuring that you have a good monitoring system in place will help you to quickly identify any issues should they arise. For example, if an employee is scheduled to arrive somewhere at a certain time and they aren’t there, you can take steps to check on them, and then follow your safety procedures should you fail to get in touch – this can be particularly useful for jobs such as estate agents, drivers or plumbers, for example.
If an employee suffers from a medical condition where they could be more susceptible to a fall, seizure or blackout, not only can they use a lone worker personal alarm to call for help quickly and easily, but our reliable lone worker devices can also offer automatic fall detection which will call for help if they detect a fall without the employee needing to do anything.
If you are considering a lone worker personal alarm system, you should consider what type of monitoring suits your business:
A self-monitored personal alarm will automatically call a selected list of people should an accident or emergency occur – this is a good option if your lone employees are in close proximity to each other, for example in a supermarket or estate agents, as someone can be there to help quickly. Self-monitored alarms do not require an ongoing subscription, so they can be an affordable solution for businesses with smaller budgets.
24/7 Monitored alarms
Monitored personal alarms are connected to a professional monitoring team who are available 24/7 to get the help needed should a lone worker raise the alarm. This solution is ideal for businesses where there may not be resources available to constantly monitor and respond to calls for help. It’s also best suited for businesses where your employees are located far away from each other, whether they are remote working from home or are delivery drivers, electricians or care workers, for example.
Other features for lone worker alarms
If you have a diverse remote workforce that faces different types of hazards, you may wish to use different types of personal alarms depending on your employee’s specific risk profiles.
Not only do our personal alarms allow employees to call for help in an emergency, but they can also offer specific features to overcome certain inherent risks to your work environment and the needs of your employees, such as:
GPS tracking lets your emergency contacts know where you are if you get into difficulty. This is particularly helpful for those lone workers whose jobs are set around being out and about, such as electricians, construction workers and drivers, as you can get the help you need fast, wherever you are.
Automatic Fall Detection
This is a vital feature for those who work in manual jobs, but it’s also important for those who suffer from specific health conditions, such as epilepsy which may cause seizures, falls or blackouts. Should the device detect a fall, it can call for help automatically without the employee needing to press the SOS button.
By ensuring that your lone workers are safe with robust safety measures, your business will be more likely to maintain its reputation as a responsible employer and a great place to work.
Call SureSafe's team of Lone Working experts on 0800 112 3201 to learn more about how you can help keep your team safe when at work.