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Choosing a Lone Worker Solution

9 March 2017
 March 9, 2017

Lone worker solutions are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms ranging from dedicated standalone devices to personal safety apps for smartphones.

When making a decision on which is the best fit for your own particular requirements, it’s important to consider:

– Who are you looking to protect?

– What situations are they likely to be in

– Where are they going to be working?

– When are employees working alone?

– Why do you need to protect lone workers?

Who are you looking to protect?

Lone workers are defined as those who work in isolation from others, without close or direct supervision. This encompasses employees that work alone in premises, home workers, staff based externally or working outside of normal hours.

There are an estimated 8m lone workers in the UK, with over 70% of the countries’ workforce finding themselves working on their own at some point. Lone working also includes employees who stay late in the office or travel to meetings.

What situations are they likely to be in?

Some roles will come with a greater level of risk, so it’s important to look at the specifics when deciding upon the best ways to protect your employees.

Examples of lone working scenarios could be:

  • Public facing staff such as receptionists, retail workers and community nurses – these need a compact personal alarm that can be easily activated at their discretion without the other party knowing. Sound recording capabilities may also be required for evidential purposes.
  • Scaffolders or maintenance workers – working from height may require a fall alarm that can detect a sudden impact and automatically activate if a period of inactivity follows.
  • Physical roles such as construction or utility work – a handsfree wearable device that doesn’t obstruct their ability to carry out their job may be most appropriate.
  • Attending appointments off site – setting a timer that can alert others if a meeting inexplicably overruns.

Where are they going to be working?

The potential locations covered are as diverse as lone working itself. For example staff may be based at:

  • One location that has limited contact with others or across several areas – may require several devices or perhaps a mobile app solution for those attending meetings who would prefer not to carry a separate device.
  • Remote places that have no signal – a lone worker solution must be able to function in areas with little or no mobile coverage.
  • Apartment blocks or large buildings – if an incident occurs, knowing the exact location can save vital time. Having the ability to record a voice memo (available to Controllers if an alarm is raised) giving the floor and flat number enables emergency services to pinpoint where a user is.
  • Hazardous environments – encountering combustibles, heat, water and chemicals will require a robust device that can withstand more extreme conditions.

When are employees working alone?

Lone working can equally be applied to those working during the day as well as out of hours and nightshift workers. If your organisation is operating 24/7 it’s important to choose a solution that allows monitoring around the clock.

Disaster can occur at any time, so ideally having an Alarm Receiving Centre with specially trained Controllers on hand at all times is the best approach to ensure if your staff need assistance, someone will be ready to help.

Why do you need to protect lone workers?

Protecting employees is a moral and legal responsibility. Legally employers have a duty of care that must be fulfilled by taking appropriate measures to look after the wellbeing of workers.

Failing to do so can result in hefty fines and even custodial sentences in the event of injuries or the death of employees. Therefore, it’s important to give your options careful consideration.

Summary

When deciding which lone worker solution to opt for, it would be advisable to choose a company that meets the following criteria:

  • Trusted supplier with relevant industry accreditations including the latest version of the lone worker standard – BS 8484:2016.
  • End to end service provider that monitors alarms in-house with its own Alarm Receiving Centre, opposed to an outsourced solution.
  • Ability to monitor usage and uptake of safety devices.

For more information on lone worker protection please contact us on 0845 0360 999.