With modern technology and business practices, lone working is easier and more efficient than ever. But lone workers face the potential risks of violence, abuse, accident or injury on their own, without immediate back-up from colleagues. This increased vulnerability means it’s more difficult to ensure the health and safety of lone workers than employees who work at an organisation’s premises. And employers have a number of good reasons to take this vulnerability seriously. Thankfully, as well as enabling lone working in the first place, modern technology also provides a solution to these problems. Step forward, Safe Hub.
The scale of lone working in the UK
In the UK, it’s estimated that around 20% of the working population can be considered as lone workers for all or some of their working week. A worker might access data remotely from a server while on a site visit, or catch up with emails at a Wi-Fi hotspot between meetings. And more and more office workers can work at least some of the time at home. So why should an organisation look at Safe Hub as a means of protecting those lone workers?
Every organisation holds a moral and legal duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees, as far as is reasonably possible. In the UK for instance, basic requirements include carrying out risk assessments to identify risks, and taking appropriate steps to reduce them. Employers must develop and implement policies and procedures to mitigate identified risks, including preparing staff to deal with such risks. Where appropriate, additional training, equipment and procedures must be implemented to eliminate any remaining hazards.
Lone worker protection is the right thing to do
As noted above, the specific risks which lone workers face mean that additional mitigation measures must be taken to protect them. And this must extend to ensuring that lone workers have a way of receiving help in an emergency. This is obviously the moral thing to do – and increasingly, companies want to demonstrate that they are the best employer they can be.
Lone worker protection has legal consequences
In the event of a loner worker being injured, there will be severe legal consequences for the failure to comply with health and safety legislation. Any legal action could cost the business in fines and other resources, as many such cases take months or even years to conclude. And in some countries, including the UK, an unsafe workplace can be subject to legal action and fines even if no accident has occurred.
In some cases, individuals within the organisation could face prosecution and imprisonment if they are found to be at fault. In extreme cases where lone workers suffer fatal injury, there may be prosecutions brought under corporate manslaughter legislation. In the UK, tough sentencing guidelines issued in 2015 underline this further.
Lone worker protection saves money too
There are other financial costs to not protecting lone workers adequately. Unsafe working conditions could undermine well-being and reduce morale; higher levels of stress are likely to result in lower levels of productivity and a rise in employee sick leave. If the work environment is particularly stressful, a company may even notice a high turnover of staff. Extra time and resources are then spent on transitioning in and training new employees.
Safe Hub reinforces any organisation’s lone worker protection systems
Safe Hub is the ideal way to monitor and manage the safety of lone workers, and get them immediate assistance in an emergency. What helps Safe Hub to stand out from the crowd is that it reinforces other elements of lone worker protection. As well as offering the broadest range of support features, it’s customisable to each new client. This means that we work with employers to respond to each individual’s risk assessments for all lone working tasks. Whether they need reactive support to limit the effects of slips, trips and falls, or proactive periodic welfare checks, Safe Hub’s able to protect them. And Safe Hub can even stop them getting into trouble in the first place, thanks to its broadcast and barrier functions.
We give lone worker employees extensive training on the proper use of Safe Hub on whichever device they use to access it. This helps to ensure that it becomes a natural part of their everyday working pattern. Safe Hub reinforces any other training which lone workers may have been given, such as how to de-escalate an aggressive situation. And Safe Hub is always optimised to work with each employee’s personal protective clothing and other equipment (PPE). That way, lone workers are covered in an emergency – and so are their employers.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today
Post by George Stavrinidis
George is Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He believes passionately that everyone should be protected and supported at work. George supports LWS clients to make sure they enjoy the most effective relationship with the team and maximise the effectiveness of their deployment of Safe Hub.
About Lone Worker Solutions
At Lone Worker Solutions, it’s our business to protect employees, managers and shareholders from the risks associated with working alone. This includes the potential hazards faced by staff who work by themselves, remotely, or out-of-sight or earshot of colleagues. When it comes to safety we don't believe in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach; instead, we tailor our solution to each organisation's exact needs.
About Safe Hub
Safe Hub is an award-winning BS8484:2016 Gold Certified package of emergency, buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for lone workers. Safe Hub supports lone and remote workers on the widest possible array of devices including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerrys, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist personal safety devices and satellite phones.
This post has been updated to reflect recent changes and improvements to the naming of Lone Worker Solutions' platform and the safety features that it provides. Prior to 2018, Safe Hub was called LoneWorker Manager, Safe Check was called Heartbeat, and Group Alert was called Broadcast Messaging. These updates reflect advancements in the platform and help to improve end-user comprehension.