Policies and procedures, rules and regulations – all essential aspects of effective health and safety management. But leading a horse to water is not that same as seeing its thirst quenched. Introducing, enabling and nurturing a culture of health and safety is the difference between being able to say, ‘our corporate hands are clean’, and running a company where the protection, health, safety, and welfare of staff is a core value.
As a supplier of cutting-edge health and safety solutions, I consider it my responsibility to help clients in this area. I want companies to develop a culture of health and safety – particularly for lone workers – at the heart of the business. I emphasise lone workers, because although all workers can be at risk of injury or violence, lone workers, by the very fact of working alone can be at increased risk. To do this, we have adopted a three-pronged approach: Leadership, Ownership, and Innovation.
Health & Safety Leadership
It is, of course, the role of the directors to take a lead in developing their company’s approach to health and safety. This means setting the agenda around staff and customer protection. As well as preparing all those policies and procedures, rules and regulations, it means defining risk around job roles and considering the reality of each worker’s function in the business. Selecting and deploying equipment and technology is of course, critical. Choosing the best and most robust systems to prevent incidents. And, when accidents do happen; ensuring help can be delivered at the point of need as fast as possible.
So, leadership is about putting in place all the practical barriers to risk without stymieing productivity. But it’s more than that, and this is where policy becomes culture. It means ensuring that safety is at the forefront of how the company actually does business. What risks are acceptable? Which risks are too much?
I believe that a company must foster the idea of active participation from workers in identifying and deploying safer options. Encouraging collaboration is essential. The aim is to minimize exposure to the risk of accident or injury and to ensure staff take action immediately if something does go wrong. The company can develop a positive attitude to disclosure, encouraging employees to actively raise safety issues and not work in any conditions or under circumstances that present an unacceptable risk. This should include a ‘no fault’ reporting procedure so workers can identify and report risks – as well as possible improvements to safety – without the fear of being ignored or labelled ‘trouble maker’. In addition, staff can be encouraged to look at their own safety actions and learning as part of ongoing performance reviews.
Ownership and responsibilities for safety and health
A critical part of the culture is ownership – employees must also take responsibility for health and safety, both for themselves and for the benefit of their colleagues. If the company takes the lead in deploying a solution such as Safe Hub, then it is the workers’ responsibility to take advantage of it – they have to take ownership of their own wellbeing. This in no way removes any responsibility from the company executive, but the end user must be involved.
Employees must use the resources that have been provided for them. They have to check that the resources are appropriate for their tasks and be sure they are used correctly. It is essential that workers engage with training, and support colleagues to do the same. The value of ‘no fault’ reporting is that it enables staff to look honestly at their own actions and at those of colleagues, reporting problems and taking corrective action when needed.
Innovation in occupational safety
The third strand is innovation. Any system has to adapt to changing circumstance and user need. At Lone Worker Solutions, we regularly review our proprietary platform LoneWorker Manager in light of specific client requirements. It becomes a win-win situation. For us, it means a constant improvement in our offering. For our clients, it means the solution they purchase and deploy exactly meets their end-users’ requirements. And, most importantly, for the end users themselves it means the system they are given is a) intuitive to learn, b) easy to use, c) does exactly what it is designed for. Those three aspects are critical because historically, systems to protect workers, and particularly lone workers have been poorly utilized. This is often due to a lack of training, complexity and systems, not quite matching need.
Getting the right balance between leadership, ownership and innovation fosters a culture of lone worker protection that is cost-effective and improves workers’ wellbeing.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today Call: +44-(0)161 885 2122
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.