Most of us rely on colleagues to help in a workplace-related emergency situation but this can be problematic for lone workers. To mitigate the fact that lone workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace emergency situations, lone worker protection devices provide employees who work alone with a way to raise the alert in an emergency.
Most lone worker alarm devices feature a panic button and GPS tracking – basic functions that allow a lone worker to quickly signal for help while allowing the management to immediately direct the support to their exact location. If used correctly, a lone worker alarm system is an efficient and reliable way to allow the employee to safely enlist help when needed.
Why it is important to protect your lone workers?
Apart from the overall responsibility that any employer has for any employees identified as vulnerable, there are sound economic reasons why protecting lone workers should take a high priority:
Employees are the most important asset of every organisation. Employers invest in recruitment, training, and ongoing development. Even with ever-increasing automation, a healthy and active workforce is essential to keep the company in operation. Ensuring the safety and well-being of lone working employees is, therefore, key to protecting the company as a whole.
A responsible employer needs to conduct regular risk assessments and audits after an accident in order to identify the exact nature of risks or hazards associated with all jobs, but especially lone workers. In fact, not doing so could lead to legal consequences if an injured employee decides to sue. However, simply taking the necessary steps to prevent accidents is the best way of reducing the number of incidents suffered by employees and improve lone worker safety.
The results of the aforementioned risk assessments should be used to feed into workplace policies and procedures that, when properly adhered to, safeguard lone working employees and ensure that their presence is accounted for, especially when working away from the main site.
The importance of suitable training for lone workers
Health and safety training for employees but particularly for lone workers is crucial. It needs to be up-to-date and employees should be sent on regular refresher courses of the right level, especially if their role involves risky situations such as the regular handling or proximity of hazardous chemicals or substances.
The training should result in employees that are:
Able to identify risks and hazards; Fully aware of how to use all the necessary equipment and perform all aspects of a task - for example, replacing safety caps on a piece of equipment and turning off the power after use; Cognisant of how to raise an alarm and respond quickly and appropriately to an accident;
Aware of the importance of mobile phones and able to safely use them in a workplace environment;
Able to use the alarms that are currently used by the company.
Each workplace is different and will have its own set of challenges so it is worth seeking the advice of professionals in the area.
As well as training and prevention measures, it is also worth considering lone worker safety devices and a critical alarm management system that can alert response teams when a lone worker device is triggered. ANT Telecom's Critical Alarm Management System, for example, can send an alarm message to a group of responders on their PC and mobile devices within seconds. Alarm messages will include the name of the person that needs help and their location based on GPS or iBeacon, if the lone worker is based indoors. Audio at the scene of the incident can also be captured and recorded too to help responders know the seriousness of the incident and help them determine the best course of action for response.
There are many benefits to using a Critical Alarm Management System including:
A rapid response can vastly reduce the impact of an accident - a minor accident can become major if it is not promptly attended to;
Employees who are aware of the benefits of the system are more likely to feel confident in their ability to stay safe at work; get more tasks done by enabling your two man teams to work safely on their own.
You will be able to relax knowing that you have done everything you need to protect your lone workers and are compliant with existing legislation.
A full audit trail of any alarms triggered;
Expand the solution to monitor other assets within the business such as important machinery and systems.
For more information about how a critical alarm management system can protect lone workers in your company, contact ANT Telecom, who have been providing innovative and effective workplace solutions for over thirty years. Or click here, to read more about lone worker protection.