In a bid to keep the UK economy moving during the coronavirus pandemic, staff are gradually being encouraged to return to work when it is safe to do so. But it will be some time before things can be deemed “normal” again. In the meantime, we will all have to adapt to new ways of working.
For some businesses, this may mean an increase in the number of people working on their own, be that from home, in the office, or during site or client visits. The fewer people everyone is coming into contact with at the moment, the better.
Whilst this move may be a sensible one in terms of limiting the spread of the virus, it may inadvertently increase other risks to staff. For example:
- What if a member of staff is taken ill or has an accident whilst they are on their own?
- What if they face a threat from someone they are visiting when there is no one else around?
- What if they are the only person in the reception area when there is a problem?
As an employer, it is your responsibility to assess these risks and put measures in place to minimise them.
Tips for keeping your lone workers safe
Provide appropriate training
Putting in place the right support and training is key. Ensure your staff are able to identify situations which pose a potential risk. Providing training in conflict resolution may also prove helpful. Staff will feel more confident that they have the skills needed to help de-escalate a tricky situation before it becomes a dangerous one.
Prepare for medical emergencies
Be sure that your staff have the knowledge and equipment to deal with a first aid emergency. There’s plenty of first aid training available which can be delivered from an appropriate distance, or virtually. Provide any relevant staff with a first aid kit to have close to them at all times. Implement a clear and simple emergency procedure so all lone workers know who to call, and in which order, during any medical emergency.
Keep in regular contact
Stress is a very real risk for lone workers who may be working long hours in difficult conditions. It’s important that they feel supported by their employer. Keep in regular direct contact so they know you have their interest at heart, and so they have someone to talk to. Look out for any signs of stress and be prepared to take action to address this.
Share your schedules
At the beginning of each working day, ensure you have a schedule of any lone worker’s day, so you know where they are likely to be at any time. Share your schedule with them too, if relevant. Depending on their role and the risks involved, you could ask lone workers to check in at regular points throughout the day, even it is a simple email or text message to let you know they’re OK.
Invest in a mobile panic alarm system suitable for lone workers
One simple way to provide lone workers with an additional level of protection is by investing in a mobile or app-linked panic alarm system. They’re relatively low cost and easy to implement, and give lone workers confidence that they have a quick and effective way to call for help if they need it.
The Little Green Button mobile app includes location tracking, and the ability for the user to alert colleagues that they need help by simply pressing a button on their phone or tablet.
Colleagues will be alerted by either vibration, sound or both, giving them the opportunity to then attempt to call the distressed lone worker for more information and to provide assistance, or head directly to their location.
Get prepared for lone working now
The most important thing is to take action now so your staff feel prepared whenever they return to work. It’s no good waiting until an incident has occurred before acknowledging the fact that staff facing these new challenges need additional support.
If you’d like to find out more about the Little Green Button app, speak to a member of our team today.