Lone workers – those who are on their own for some or part of their working day – are susceptible to more dangers than their co-workers who operate in teams. While most businesses will, obviously, do their best to protect all their workers, those working independently need unique initiatives to ensure their safety. Here are a few tips for keeping lone workers safe:
Conduct (Another) Safety Audit
Of course, you have already conducted a safety and security audit for your workers. However, many more dangers are exposed when someone is working independently. Take the time to analyse the working environment from the perspective of an independent worker and make any changes that are necessary.
“Alone,” Doesn’t Mean “Abandoned”
A lone worker doesn’t need to feel like they don’t have access to other people. There are obvious measures you can take such as emergency access numbers being made available, but that doesn’t solve the issue of human contact. Bored workers are often ineffective and with the advent of mobile technologies, this doesn’t need to be the case. You may wish to encourage the use of messenger services such as Slack, or mobile interaction between different lone workers at various locations.
How the Worker Feels Is Vital
Safety and security measures are important in any working environment. But when a worker is alone, it’s important that they understand what efforts have been made to ensure their safety. Take the time to educate them and talk them through your thought processes, let them know that you understand the challenges of working on your own, and take their security seriously.
Make Sure They Take Breaks
One of the major dangers faced by independent workers is exhaustion. Lone workers feel an increased sense of accountability, and so tend to work through their breaks rather than taking them. Let your workers know that taking a break is not only their legal right but is also important from a safety standpoint. Don’t encourage a culture where skipping breaks is seen as a badge of honour, and make sure there is somewhere for them to go and something for them to do.