Duty of care is defined as the legal obligation for employers to protect their workers from harm and undue risks while at work.
Importance of safety for lone and at-risk workers
Are your employees working alone or in remote environments? If so, ensuring their safety should be your top priority. In today's fast-paced world, where working alone has become increasingly common, it's important to equip your staff with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe while working in isolation.
According to Industry Insight, an estimated 23 million lone workers are employed in diverse industries across the United States and Canada. These individuals encounter a range of unique risks while carrying out their responsibilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States recorded 5,190 work-related fatalities in 2021. Additionally, an alarming number of 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses are reported annually in the country. Considering the ever-increasing number of lone workers and the many hazards they face, ensuring their safety should be of paramount importance.
By taking proactive steps to look after your lone and at-risk workers, you can not only ensure compliance with legal requirements but also nurture a safety-conscious culture that enhances morale and productivity. Let’s explore 5 essential working alone safety tips that every employer should adopt to protect their employees and establish a safer work environment.
Provide the right tools and solutions
When it comes to lone and at-risk workers, equipping employees with appropriate tools and solutions stands as one of the most effective ways to help ensure their safety and well-being. For many decades, a range of radio and GPS technologies have been used for navigation. In the late 1990s, people monitoring solutions emerged, allowing a third party to monitor and locate individuals.
Fast-forward, and over the last few years a surge of groundbreaking technologies and business practices has simplified and cost-effectively enhanced the safety of lone workers. These innovative solutions to lone worker safety feature a wide range of capabilities such as two-way communication, SOS alerts, real-time management, and geofencing.
Additionally, employers can invest in a number of safety devices such as wearables to monitor and protect these at-risk workers through one-touch alerts, fall detection and satellite communication.
A provider like Aware360 offers the technology and response network needed to keep lone and at-risk workers safer and more productive throughout their day with a patented PeopleIoT™ connected worker ecosystem.
Establish communication protocols
Clear and effective communication protocols are essential for ensuring the safety of employees who work alone. Communication plays a significant role in all areas of our lives, and this is especially true when it comes to the well-being of lone workers. By taking the time to create robust guidelines and invest in safety solutions, organizations can create and promote a safer environment for those working alone. Here's a breakdown of our tips:
- Develop clear communication protocols: This should outline how workers should report incidents or issues to supervisors, and the right communication channels to use.
- Provide a way for regular check-ins: Offering lone workers a reliable method to check in regularly is vital for maintaining their safety. This can be in the form of scheduled phone calls, text messages, or even more effective is utilizing safety technology such as mobile apps or safety device systems that enable workers to confirm their safety at designated intervals.
- Develop proactive safety communication: Providing lone workers a way to get in front of their risks by facilitating check-ins when high-risk activities are being conducted.
- Support and supervision: Provide workers with supervision and support, including regular contact with their supervisors or designated point of contact. This helps maintain open lines of communication and helps workers feel valued.
Train your employees
Employers have a responsibility to provide comprehensive safety training to mitigate potential risks. 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.
To achieve this, it is important to enlist the expertise of a professional specializing in adult education and effective assessment techniques. Not to mention, these training courses should always address the intricacies of safety within your specific organization and industry.
Implement emergency procedures
With an effective emergency procedure you can take enormous strides towards keeping your lone and at-risk workers safe. Emergency response procedures can take many shapes and forms and should thoroughly consider every aspect of the job performed by your workers. It is important to tailor these procedures to address the specific needs and potential risks associated with their work.
Here are some important working alone safety tips when it comes to implementing emergency procedures:
- Get expert input: Expert input is crucial when developing your emergency procedure. It is important to involve subject matter experts (SMEs) and experienced safety professionals who can offer valuable insights, fresh perspectives, and innovative ideas.
- Select people within your organization to take responsibility: Identify the right individuals in your organization to monitor and stay on top of safety incidents, while ensuring adequate training in established procedures
- Adopt dedicated safety solutions: Dedicated solutions like those offered by Aware360 are purpose-built for use in different types of situations where employees need support.
- Incident reporting and reviews: Establish a process for lone workers to report incidents, near misses, or any safety concerns they have. It is important to regularly review and analyze these reports to identify trends and update your emergency procedures accordingly.
Monitor and evaluate
Creating safety protocols is only part of the process when it comes to ensuring the safety of your lone workers. To keep your workers safe it is important to constantly review and update your safety procedures, protocols, as well as conduct regular evaluations.
By being proactive about your worker safety and performing test runs and evaluation assessments you can uncover weaknesses and areas requiring enhancement in your lone worker safety program while resolving any concerns that arise. These assessments serve to identify potential hazards or unsafe conditions that might have been overlooked during the program's planning and development stages.
What’s more, evaluating your safety program contributes to compliance with regulations and industry best practices. Through monitoring performance indicators like the frequency and severity of injuries, and conducting regular assessments, you can verify that your program adheres to required standards and successfully looks after your workers.
Stay ahead of the curve: protect your lone and at-risk workers with Aware360's worker safety solutions
Don't wait for an incident to occur before taking action. As an employer, it is your responsibility to prioritize the well-being of your employees, especially those who work alone. Mitigating risks and protecting lone and at-risk workers require careful consideration of various aspects related to worker safety. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made this task easier.
Aware360's worker safety solutions encompass advanced technologies and innovative features that provide real-time management, two-way communication, and a number of people-first capabilities. By investing in our solutions, you can equip your lone and at-risk workers with the tools they need to stay safe in any work environment.
Stay one step ahead of potential risks and demonstrate your commitment to the safety of your lone workers. Choose Aware360's safety solutions and empower your workforce with the protection they deserve. Book a meeting with us and let's create a safer working environment for all.