This week Shaun Keyzers from SoloProtect talks about the need to demonstrate that you are doing enough to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of your lone workers and shares some of the steps you can take.
The consequences of doing the bare minimum to safeguard your lone workers’ wellbeing can be fatal. Picture this, you’re a construction site manager and you’ve provided your employees with the correct PPE. You wouldn’t let a single member of your team go on site without a hard hat or the correct footwear, would you? If you spend good money on protective equipment for your employees and want them to be as free from risk as possible then you’d expect them to use it.
Now apply this logic to your lone working PPE. So, you’ve chosen a lone worker solution, your staff have been given a lone worker device, you’ve ticked the box… but are they using it? Are you certain that they are as free from risk as possible?
There are numerous ways to ensure your workforce is getting the most out of their lone worker device, but first and foremost it’s imperative that you actually employ a suitable solution.
It’s the responsibility of all employers to provide a safe working environment for every member of their workforce, including those working alone. This means measures should be taken in order for your lone workers to have the necessary tools to allow them to respond correctly to emergencies. This could, and undoubtedly should, involve appropriate training, thorough risk assessments, a comprehensive lone worker policy and a lone worker solution.
By adopting an unsuitable solution you’re giving your employees an excuse not to use it, and if they’re not using it then you’re essentially paying for nothing. Accepting methods that may well be compliant, but risk leaving your employees highly vulnerable, can have serious consequences. There’s absolutely no reason for any company not to take advantage of the best possible solutions; protecting your lone workers now, will protect your company tomorrow.
An ineffective solution may help you demonstrate your duty of care, but it won’t do enough to show you really care about your responsibility. You’ve shown you’re aware of the problem but, perhaps unintentionally, that you’re not willing to resolve it in full, and, if an incident does occur, this leaves you open to a large fine and/or potentially a custodial sentence.
But what can you do to improve your chances of implementing a suitable lone worker solution? Involving a workforce in the selection of a solution will undoubtedly help and is critical for long term success. This may require extensive trialling of a number of solutions, or even implementing a mix of dedicated devices or apps across the business, if different risk profiles and lone worker needs become apparent.
Working in partnership with staff, reviewing feedback, and comparing solution usage data will assist the process. And if this works, keep repeating – as this is a cyclical process and will continue to benefit your organisation in the long term.
User adoption is also key to employing a successful solution; involving your workforce at the implementation stage will clearly improve user adoption. However, as well as a suitable device, you should be searching for a provider who can offer comprehensive support and training. If a user is confident they have the relevant training, plus continued support, they will invariably be more engaged and device usage will increase.
It’s important to remember there are many things to consider when employing a lone worker solution as no single device fits all needs. If your workforce is varied, then it goes without saying that your lone worker solution should be too. For example, a construction worker will need a different lone worker device than someone on the sales team. Ensure your lone workers have suitable devices and ensure you have the support you need to guarantee the solution you’re paying for is being utilised to its full potential. Never implement a solution and just forget about it.
Workplace safety measures are extremely important in every industry and not protecting your employees also presents a serious business risk – it can easily affect an organisation’s cash position, its share price, perceived brand equity value, and its ability to attract, and retain, the best staff and customers.
Ensuring your staff utilise their lone worker solution can often be a difficult task, how can you really know if they’re using their device correctly, or indeed at all? If you’re not aware, then are you truly protecting them?
You can have a chat with the SoloProtect team at the Lone Worker Safety Expo Conference on 2nd October where they are one of our Key Sponsors. SoloProtect are also excited to announce the release of SoloProtect ID Pro. Find out more about a new generation of lone worker protection here.