Across the UK, local government is a major employer. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the total number of jobs in local government was 2.01 million. However, these figures include some 1.5 million workers in local-authority supported schools. Employees working directly for local councils amounted to around half a million. Of course, in this time of coronavirus lockdown, many of those people will be working from home or on furlough. But a significant number are still out and about – and many of these roles involve at least some lone working. In this blog, we’re going to look at how they can be protected in their everyday work.
Lone working away from colleagues but with the public
The range of lone working roles and job functions in the public sector is striking. Roles with a particularly high risk profile include those where staff work directly with residents and businesses. Many of the highest-risk employees will currently not be out with the public, at this time of lockdown in the UK. This includes most trading standards officers and librarians, for instance. However, council employees such as social workers and park wardens are still working in the community. And sadly, some council lone workers have been the target of abuse and violence from the public.
How Safe Hub can help council lone workers
What makes Safe Hub so special is the fact that we can offer different levels of protection to different groups of council lone workers. If necessary, they can access our safety system using different devices – but all in one deployment and using one web-based management portal.
Example job role #1: staying safe on the road
Take for instance road maintenance staff. Many of the risks are around travel, as each working day this employee will visit different sites to carry out inspections or repairs. Safe Hub's emergency Red Alert feature is a vital tool to protect workers in this situation, together with Yellow Alert, which lets users leave a recording with information about site visits. And with Safe Check, our periodic welfare feature, they will also get proactive support. We might suggest that road maintenance crews can access support using the Safe Hub Smartphone App.
Example job role #2: dealing discreetly with public
For park wardens working alone, the main risks are focused on dealing with the public. At this time of lockdown, access to parks can support health and wellbeing, and prevent social isolation and loneliness. But with social distancing, this group of workers may be subject to anti-social behaviour. For this group of workers, therefore, we might suggest deploying a discreet device such as our SOS Button or SOS Badge ID. Either of these provide easy access to our Red Alert emergency feature – as well as offering a rapid Worker Down response to library workers who have slipped, tripped or fallen.
Example job role #3: when Worker Down is most important
Lone workers at waste and recycling centres face another set of challenges. Potentially operating heavy equipment, they will more likely face more acute risks around slips, trips and falls. Safe Hub deploys motion and shock sensors embedded in dedicated devices or smartphones to offer reactive support with our Worker Down feature. We’d suggest a device such as SOS Fob, unless the worker is regularly in more hazardous environments when our intrinsically safe devices come into their own.
Ensuring council lone workers access the support they need
Here at Lone Worker Solutions, we always seek to make a lone worker safety system part of everyday work practice. We want to make sure to avoid low take-up rates, not least to achieve value for money for our clients. Our first step is always to select the most suitable devices and apps for lone workers. For local councils, the SOS Fob and/or the Safe Hub Smartphone App will usually be the best fit. For high-risk council lone workers, the priority may be a discreet device, so the SOS Fob is ideal. For staff in lower-risk roles, or who work alone occasionally, it may be best to use their own smartphone as a personal security device. However, lower-risk teams can also share SOS Fob devices. Each team member has a bespoke profile which can be ‘ported’ across to any device in a matter of minutes.
On deployment, we work hard to make using Safe Hub part and parcel of lone workers’ everyday safety practice. From extensive initial and top-up training, through to calls to individuals and step-by-step guides, we put lone working end-users first. That way, lone workers feel confident that they can access the support they need whenever they need it. And now more than ever, council lone workers need protection. #CouncilLoneWorkers #KeyWorkers #CustomisedSafety #LoneWorkerSafety
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about protecting council lone workers and key workers.
Post by Spencer Wild
Spencer is an Account Executive at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). As well as supporting existing clients, he works to introduce new clients to Safe Hub, and its package of emergency, buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for anyone working alone or out of sight of colleagues. The system supports lone and remote workers on the widest possible array of BS8484:2016 Gold Certified devices, including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerrys, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist personal safety devices and satellite phones.