Lone and remote working are on the rise. Fuelled by flexibility, responsiveness, and technology employers and workers alike are actively choosing lone working scenarios. Often these workers in your organisation will be apparent to you. Some obvious categories of workers include lorry drivers, cleaners, park wardens; the list is extensive. But some lone workers may be more invisible. What about the librarian who stays late to tidy up and is alone in the building; or the utility engineer who is working with customers but isolated from colleagues?
Who is working alone?
The first task in developing an effective Health & Safety policy is to identify all of the lone workers in your organisation. A simple definition from the Health & Safety Executive is “Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”. This definition includes staff in fixed establishments who may be out of sight of colleagues, those who are occasionally mobile and working away from their usual base, and those who permanently, or usually, work by themselves.
A full breakdown can be found on the HSE website here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg73.pdf
Devices for everybody
Protection systems, such as Safe Hub, are becoming increasingly popular as a means to safeguard remote workers. The system is accessed by the worker on a phone, dedicated device or PC. But health and safety is not a one-size-fits-all problem. Therefore, it’s essential to identify the risks associated with each person’s job function and particular situation, and to ensure they have a device ideally suited to their scenario. For each type of lone working environment there is a perfect solution, here are a few examples:
People working in remote areas with a weak mobile signal will need satellite devices.
Customer-facing staff probably need a wearable device or a discrete product with an easy to locate SOS feature.
Team members using smartphones or even standard mobile phones may not want to carry an additional device, in which case they need a system accessed via an app or short dial programming.
Office or home-based workers using PCs or laptops should be able to use a desktop-accessible system.
Staff working near to combustible materials or in industrial locations will require an intrinsically safe device, and durable devices designed specifically to remove the risk of a spark.
People using areas where exposure may be time-limited should be protected with alarm beacons that monitor access and egress.
Companies with varied remote and lone workers need to be sure that they invest in a protection system that supports every device and every person, regardless of their work/risk scenario. It is critical to ensure you can set up user-specific profiles. For each individual you can define the exact engagement, monitoring and escalation protocols that will suit their needs.
A single management interface
To ensure companies can then effectively and efficiently support and protect their team members, each device and worker profile must be managed from a single interface. You don’t want to have to log-in to a different system for each type of worker, or for the same worker as their function changes through the day.
One of the founding principles at Lone Worker Solutions is that one size doesn’t fit all. Safe Hub, our proprietary platform, is specifically designed to support the broadest range of devices currently available. The range includes smartphones (Android, Apple iOS and Windows operating systems); standard mobiles and BlackBerrys; dedicated and discrete devices; wearable devices such as a smartwatch; satellite devices; intrinsically safe devices and PC/Laptop apps. The platform features an easy to use web-based management system that supports an unlimited number of staff profiles. So, you can be sure that having identified your lone and remote workers there is a perfect system that can help to protect your team.
Different legislation covers specific scenarios and industries such as construction or working from home. You can find out more on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/
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.