Lone worker safety has become a new buzzword these days, and that’s because more and more people have finally realized the danger that comes with working alone. When a worker is alone, they may get assaulted, get hurt, or fall ill and there’s no one around to help them. The assistance they need may come too late.
There are many lone workers everywhere than you may have imagined. They include security guards who may be alone as they patrol around business premises. They include retail workers, hospital workers, and educational workers who may be alone in some areas of their workplace (like a mall, hospital, or school). Others include workers who may visit private homes alone as part of their work, such as nurses, meter readers, electricians, and plumbers. Even farmers are at risk, as they work alone far from the road and far from other people.
So how can we help ensure their safety? Experts recommend several ways to protect them:
1.- Secure the premises
Many workers fear the prospect of being assaulted by people who break into their workplaces while they work alone. But the danger of such an occurrence can be reduced by making sure that unauthorized personnel cannot enter workplaces where some employees may be alone.
This means that doors should have secure locks, and windows cannot be opened from the outside. If possible, there should be alarms that can signal if there’s an unauthorized entry. These precautions can help prevent threats that can come from members of the public.
2.- Roving guards
One sensible way to protect workers is to actually keep them from working alone, or to at least minimize such instances. So if you have some people working alone in certain areas of the workplace, it makes sense to have security guards roam around the workplace. These should be routine visits, so that lone workers can anticipate when they will have some reassuring company.
By having guards walk around the premises, you can make sure that if there’s any trouble it will be discovered sooner. Lone workers can also enjoy having some backup in case there is some trouble or if there some danger suspected. Of course, it’s best if you have two guards walking round together—having just one guard riving the premises simply increases the number of employees working alone.
3.- Security devices
Lone worker safety has come a long way these days due to the availability of affordable yet effective security devices. These devices tend to have GPS features, so that a monitoring center can track where every lone worker is currently located. Alarms can be set when these devices don’t note movement for a certain amount of time, or if they’re tilted to indicate that the worker has fallen down. Some of the more sophisticated devices have communication capabilities that may enable workers to talk to the monitoring center personnel if there’s trouble.
Some of these devices even look like regular IDs pinned on the clothes of the employees, so they may not be noticed by intruders and violent criminals. It may even be possible to surreptitiously activate the alarm so that employees in danger can ask for and receive assistance.
4.- Extra training
Some companies provide their lone workers in additional training to help improve their safety. These can be training in conflict resolution, so that employees are better able to calm down an upset customer. The training can also be in self-defense, so that workers can minimize the severity of their injuries should they be attacked by members of the public.
We need to understand that lone worker safety is not a trivial issue. It takes only a single attack or illness to drive home this point. Don’t wait for such an emergency. Act now so that you can help protect your workers—and your business as well.