The ANT Telecom Blog

Health & Safety: Increasing Importance of Lone Working

Written by ANT Telecom | 26 Apr 2016

 

With new extensive health and safety penalties now in force, Health & Safety Managers have even more of a responsibilty and urgency to protect their workers as well as their organisation's finances and reputation. However, in order to get buy in from management and/or their board and for them to make lone working a priority within their business agenda, Health & Safety Managers need to have an in depth understanding of their lone worker requirements and the solutions that are available to solve the challenges they face.

At ANT Telecom, we understand that designing a lone working solution for the first time can be tough. There are two main elements to get right; firstly the device to trigger the alarm, when someone falls ill or has an accident, and secondly the technology that distributes the alarm information to staff that manage the incident. Though it may sound simple and straight forward enough, getting it right first time, approved and in budget is far harder than it sounds.

The first step is to identify the number of lone workers an organisation has. We regularly speak with Health & Safety Managers and it's surprising the amount that say none when asked if they have any lone workers. Although, when we enquire further, they soon realise that they in fact do have lone workers, and that they actually have a number of them.

Whilst an employee working completely on their own for long periods of time, can be immediately identified as a lone worker, what about those working as part of a team but need to attend to an issue in a remote part of the site by themselves? What happens if they trip and fall and no on sees it? Or someone starts work early or works overtime? From our experience, there seems to be a general misunderstanding on what constitutes a lone worker.

From those working in social housing, manufacturing plants, wind farms, factories and construction sites, to more hazardous areas such as oil or gas refineries, lone workers will naturally have different requirements when it comes to a lone worker solution that will protect them.

Once lone workers are identified, the next step for a Health & Safety Manager is to determine the best device for them to use but the options available on the market can be overwhelming with a number of devices available across a range of technologies; radio, IP-DECT, WiFi, GSM and smartphones. Some devices trigger a text message but don’t call, some have GPS, whilst others don’t, some could fit in bag or be worn around the neck – finding the right match for your lone workers can be challenging.

The second of the process to evaluate is where the alarm information wil go, who will respond, deal with the emergency and ensure lone workers are helped quickly. On site security, line managers and other “lone workers” all make good responders, providing they have the right technology to recieve the alerts wherever they are working and know which member of the team is dealing with an incident when they are unable to do so.

Partnering with an expert communications provider that has a complete overview of the telecoms market means that the right solution can be developed and one that fits in with the existing infrastructure. Importantly, this doesn’t have to be expensive or mean purchasing brand new equipment as existing technology where appropriate can be utilised.

Protecting lone workers is not just an issue for those in charge of health and safety within an organisation but everyone, top to bottom, needs to be involved in resolving lone working and we want to work with Health & Safety Managers to help them achieve this.

To speak to one of our experts and discuss what procedures and devices can be put into place to best protect employees, please call us on 01494 833100 or emailinfo@anttele.com

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