Aware360's lone worker solution, SafetyAware, has won the 2020 Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) Readers' Choice Award for Lone Worker Monitoring
The way we work has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly with the rise of remote and lone workers. This change has brought the challenges and risks associated with working alone to the forefront of health and safety programs and personnel.
The ability to monitor and safeguard lone workers from injury and harm has become the latest challenge.
Injuries don't just impact your business on a human level, they also significantly impact your business through reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and costly medical and legal fees. Moreover, a lack of commitment to safety can harm an organization's reputation, while noncompliance with occupational health and safety regulations can result in fines and even legal action.
With 2023 already upon us, it is important for business owners and management to prioritize their lone worker safety through an effective lone worker safety program. To assist with this, we have put together a list of six best practices that will keep your lone workers safer and more productive.
What is a lone worker safety program?
To put it simply, this is a set of policies and guidelines designed to ensure employee safety.
Lone workers face unique risks that are not typically present in a traditional work environment. To address these occupational safety risks, a lone worker safety program will include a variety of measures to help mitigate them.
Why are lone workers at higher risk?
Lone workers are at a higher risk of workplace accidents and injuries due to the lack of immediate assistance in the event of an emergency. Lone workers face various hazards that can be exacerbated by their isolated location and lack of support.
Statistics on workplace injuries and fatalities highlight the importance of mitigating risks for these workers. Half a billion nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses are reported, yet most of these events can be attributed to preventable causes, from not implementing the right personal protective equipment to not having a real-time response system in place to support workers in need.
Employers should therefore take proactive measures to safeguard the well-being of their lone workers and promote a safe working environment.
Key benefits of implementing a lone worker safety program
The objective of a lone worker safety program is to ensure that employees can safely handle possible risks and emergencies.
Implementing a lone worker safety program can bring several key benefits to organizations, including:
Increased safety and well-being: A lone worker safety program helps to ensure the safety and well-being of employees who work alone or in isolated environments. By providing them with the necessary resources, training, and support, organizations can mitigate potential risks and hazards that lone workers may face.
Enhanced productivity and efficiency: Lone workers who feel safe and supported are more likely to be productive and efficient in their work.
Legal and regulatory compliance: Implementing a lone worker safety program can help organizations to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, such as safety legislation. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal action, and reputational damage, which can be costly for organizations.
Reduced costs associated with workplace accidents: Workplace accidents involving lone workers can be costly for organizations, both in terms of direct costs, such as medical expenses and compensation claims, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity and reputational damage.
6 steps to develop an effective lone worker safety program
Ensure EHS compliance
It is essential that your environmental, health, and safety (EHS) solution is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations related to remote and lone working. Failure to abide by them could lead to fines, legal action, and even damage to your reputation.
By staying up to date on all relevant legislation and requirements you will be able to effectively protect employees and mitigate any risks associated with non-compliance.
Obtaining support from your main stakeholders is vital for the success and long-term sustainability of safety initiatives. Any persons or departments that have objectives around the development and success of the organization are considered key stakeholders.
By involving them in the safety program development process, you can consider their concerns and gain their support for the program. Involving stakeholders will y help identify challenges or obstacles that you may have otherwise not considered.
Effective communication of your lone worker safety program is also essential, and can be facilitated by involving stakeholders, such as senior management, in the communication strategy. This collaboration can increase key stakeholder commitment to the program and help align the organization in supporting initiatives.
Updated staff training
Building an effective safety program generally requires up-to-date staff training. Focusing on lone worker training not only reduces the risk of serious incidents but it also helps to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Regular training and assessments help to keep employees informed about relevant safety practices and procedural updates. Training courses should be provided by a professional who specializes in adult education and effective assessment. Effective training should also always cover the complexities of safety training as it relates to your organization and industry.
Foster a safety culture
All organizations benefit from building a positive safety culture. Fostering this culture takes a dedication to continual development as well as a readiness to identify hazards and potential risks. This may be accomplished by emphasizing the value of safety, establishing clear expectations, providing the appropriate digital tools to monitor safety, delivering ongoing training, and rewarding safe conduct.
When safety is prioritized by an entire organization, the following benefits will become clear:
Improved efficiency: Lone workers are more focused and productive because they know they are working in a safe environment.
Increased compliance: A strong culture may ensure that workers follow safety policies and guidelines, reducing the likelihood of hefty fines and legal implications.
Enhanced reputation: Positive safety cultures are typically associated with reliable and responsible businesses. This may enhance the company's reputation and increase its appeal to clients, consumers, and staff.
Increased employee satisfaction: When employees feel that their safety is valued, they are more likely to have job satisfaction. Trust and morale among your employees will improve, which will reduce turnover rates and training costs.
An exception-based digital solution with real-time lone worker monitoring is an important component of a lone worker safety program because it allows for immediate detection of any abnormal events. This is crucial when workers are handling heavy machinery, driving, or working in remote areas, because you need to be able to react quickly to emergencies or possible dangers.
A real-time monitoring system can help improve overall safety culture and increase employee engagement in safety efforts by providing immediate support and protection for lone workers. These systems can also improve the efficiency of response and prevention efforts by actively monitoring worker activity, condition, and location. Real-time systems ensure that there is always someone available to attend to any safety concerns or issues that may arise.
Evaluate areas for improvement through assessments
Conducting test runs and evaluation assessments allows you to identify any weaknesses or areas for improvement in your lone worker safety program and address any issues. These assessments can also identify potential hazards or unsafe conditions that may have been overlooked during the planning and development phase of the program.
Evaluations of your safety program also help to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and industry best practices. By tracking progress indicators, such as the number and severity of injuries, and regularly evaluating the program, you can confirm that it meets necessary standards and effectively protects the health and safety of your workers.
Remote, lone and at-risk worker health and safety has rapidly become a top priority for most organizations around the world. While the health and safety of employees has always been important, remote and lone workers provide a more complicated challenge. However, with 2023 upon us, there has never been a better time to invest in the latest safety solutions, promote a safety conscious culture, and reap the organization-wide benefits.
Aware360's lone worker safety solutions
Aware360 offers solutions that prioritize the well-being of lone workers through real-time monitoring and communication. These solutions focus on the needs of individuals and help to ensure workers can get help when needed, no matter where they are located. Download our guide to lone worker solutions and discover how the latest safety solutions can help save lives.
What is a lone worker safety program?
A safety program is a set of policies, procedures, and checks and balances used to ensure the safety of lone workers.
How do I develop an effective lone worker safety program?
Identify and assess risks: Begin by identifying the many hazards and risks that lone workers may face in their roles. Conduct a risk assessment to evaluate the likelihood and severity of each risk and determine appropriate control measures.
Establish policies and procedures: Develop a clear lone worker policy and emergency procedure that outlines how lone workers should be supported and protected.
Provide training: Ensure that all employees who work alone receive comprehensive training on the policies, procedures, and equipment they need to keep lone workers safe.
Supply necessary equipment: Provide the necessary equipment and resources to support their safety.
Monitor and review: Regularly review and update the lone worker safety program to ensure that it remains effective and relevant.
How can technology help improve the safety of lone workers
Technology can provide various tools and devices that help monitor the well-being of lone workers and quickly respond to emergencies. Various technologies such as wearable devices, mobile apps, monitoring systems, and SOS alarms can assist in reducing the potential hazards related to working alone.