duty of care

Protecting Your Team: A Guide to Commercial Lone Worker Safety

Ensure the safety of your employees who work alone. Learn about commercial lone worker safety risks, best practices, and how Aware360 can help.


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In the world of commercial business, many workers operate alone and face various risks due to their isolated work settings. These commercial lone workers operate in a wide range of work environments where help isn't always immediately available.

It's both a legal and ethical requirement for employers to protect these workers. In this guide, we'll focus on commercial lone workers—those working in profit-driven activities away from a traditional office—and discuss practical ways to ensure their safety. We'll also explain how our SafetyAware lone worker safety app provides essential real-time monitoring and communication for these individuals, helping to keep them safe and improve operational efficiency.

Examples of industries with commercial lone workers

Every workplace, worksite, and worker has specific requirements to address common workplace hazards. Commercial lone worker safety is a key concern across various industries. Within these industries, employees often find themselves facing unique risks that demand specialized attention and solutions. These industries include:

  • Transportation and logistics: Delivery and truck drivers, along with warehouse staff, can encounter road accidents and lifting injuries. Data from the 2022 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that roles within transportation and material handling recorded the highest number of fatalities for the year.
  • Utilities: Utility workers, such as technicians, encounter several environmental hazards typical of urban and residential areas (ex., electricity, fall risks, weather). Many operate in populated neighborhoods where navigating cramped spaces or dealing with overhead lines presents daily challenges. Explore our guide to utility worker safety and learn more about the hazards, safety regulations, and innovative lone worker solutions.
  • Security: Lone security guards can encounter physical threats, especially when working at night.
  • Retail: Retail workers, especially in smaller or understaffed stores, face several risks, such as theft or assault. Physical tasks such as moving merchandise, reaching for high shelves, and stock management also pose a risk of injury.
  • Healthcare: Caregivers and ambulance staff working alone can be exposed to health risks from patients.

Commercial lone working: the social, workplace and environmental risks to avoid

Lone working encompasses a variety of scenarios where lone workers face numerous hazards. However, recognizing these hazards is just the first step. The work environment for a lone worker might initially appear simple, yet it contains hidden dangers that demand careful monitoring and proactive measures. These risks may seem minor at first, but they can escalate into significant problems over time. We've categorized these risks as follows:

Social risks

  • Violence and aggression: Lone workers in sectors like healthcare, social services, or real estate can encounter aggression from clients, the public, or intruders.
  • Harassment and bullying: Without witnesses, lone workers are at a higher risk of harassment and bullying, which can lead to significant emotional and psychological harm.

Learn how Aware360 can support your lone workers in managing social risks.

Environmental risks

  • Adverse weather Conditions: Urban workers such as meter readers or social workers often face challenges from heavy rains and thunderstorms while traveling between locations. These conditions can increase the risk of accidents during transit, making driving hazardous.
  • Navigating urban terrain: Workers moving through densely populated areas may encounter obstacles like construction zones or uneven city streets, which can pose trip and fall hazards.
  • Exposure to urban hazards: In city environments, workers might also face risks associated with poor air quality or encountering volatile situations in diverse neighborhoods, especially for those visiting multiple homes or sites throughout the day.

See how Aware360 can help your lone workers manage environmental risks.

Workplace risks

  • Accidents and injuries: Lone workers can suffer from a variety of injuries, from minor slips to major accidents with machinery.
  • Health emergencies: Situations like heart attacks or severe allergic reactions are more dangerous for lone workers due to possible help delays.
  • Mental health: Working alone can heighten stress, anxiety, and depression, potentially worsening without detection.

Find out how Aware360 can help your lone workers manage workplace risks.

The risks associated with lone working are interconnected, necessitating a comprehensive safety approach that considers the worker's environment, health, and well-being. Proper awareness, technology, and a safety culture can effectively address these daunting challenges. Since so many industries rely on lone workers, tools like lone worker safety apps are essential for providing real-time monitoring and communication. 

Best practices for commercial lone worker safety

Ensuring the safety of commercial lone workers involves creating a safe working environment for those at risk. By adopting these best practices, companies can minimize the risks faced by their lone workers and foster a culture centered on safety.

Pre-work planning:

  • Risk assessments: Carry out detailed risk assessments for every task and location to spot potential dangers. This step helps in creating plans to reduce risks before work starts. Learn exactly where your business can improve with our lone worker risk assessment guide and template.
  • Communication plans: Set up communication plans with regular check-ins and clear emergency protocols to keep lone workers in touch and able to report problems quickly.
  • Training: Provide lone workers with training to identify hazards, learn how to reduce risks, and handle emergencies. This knowledge is vital for their safety and confidence.

Communication and monitoring:

  • Technology solutions: Use technology like lone worker devices and GPS monitoring for constant communication and to know workers' locations. These tools are crucial for quick responses in emergencies. For example, our SafetyAware app provides two-way communication, real-time monitoring, and 24/7 support to workers in the field.
  • Regular check-ins: Establish a routine for regular check-ins with supervisors or colleagues to ensure lone workers are safe and any concerns are addressed quickly.
  • Incident reporting: Create straightforward procedures for reporting incidents and concerns. Making reporting easier encourages workers to speak up about dangers, leading to a safer work environment.

Work environment:

  • Safety equipment: Make sure lone workers have the right lone worker safety solutions and protective equipment for their tasks. This gear is important for protecting against workplace dangers.
  • Clear and well-lit work areas: Work areas should be free from obstacles and well-lit to avoid accidents and injuries. A clean and bright work environment is crucial for safety, especially when quick help isn't an option.

By focusing on these practices, companies will improve overall safety, reduce the chance of accidents, and reduce related costs.

 

How Aware360 can help

Here at Aware360, we offer the technology and support network needed to enhance the safety and productivity of workers at risk using scalable, people-focused IoT solutions. Our commitment to individual safety means we use lone worker safety technology to keep people connected.

Our services cater to everyone, offering two-way communication and instant support to maintain connectivity regardless of location.

  • Real-time, worker-centric solutions: Aware360’s patented PeopleIoT connected worker ecosystem combines real time data from multiple devices, apps and sensors to deliver a people-centric safety outcome. 
  • Enterprise-ready: Designed and architected as a scalable and adaptable connected worker platform, it can seamlessly integrate with as many existing and future systems and devices as required. 
  • Proven reliability: Our solutions are fully tested and monitored 24x7, ensuring maximum availability. They exceed industry uptime requirements with less than one hour of unplanned outage per year.

Are you unsure which plan is right for you? Book a meeting with one of our safety experts. We’re here to help.

Lone worker FAQs

What is a lone worker?

A lone worker is an employee who works without close or direct supervision, often in remote, isolated, or separate locations from the rest of their team, including outside normal business hours or in the field.

What are the legal requirements for lone worker safety?

Legal requirements for lone worker safety differ by area but typically involve following occupational health and safety laws that require risk assessments and taking the necessary steps to protect lone workers. Requirements may include providing training, safety gear, and plans for emergency responses. Read our Ultimate Lone Worker Safety Guide for Employers to better understand your responsibility.

How can I assess lone working risks in my business?

Conduct detailed risk assessments to spot potential dangers unique to lone workers in your business. Assess the likelihood and impact of these risks and plan how to reduce them. Continuously updating these assessments is also vital.

What technology can help with lone worker safety?

There are several technological solutions to improve lone worker safety, such as GPS monitoring, mobile apps for check-ins and alerts, wearable devices with lone worker safety alarms, and platforms for real-time monitoring and communication.

How does Aware360 enhance lone worker safety in businesses?

Aware360 provides a range of solutions specifically designed for lone workers, including real-time monitoring, GPS monitoring, emergency response capabilities, and communication tools. Our lone worker safety technology helps businesses keep their lone workers safe and connected, ensuring they meet legal safety standards and promote a safe working environment.

 

 

Meet with our experts and learn how we can support your organization’s safety culture

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