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HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELLBEING


on keeping it up to date - can be obtained from the HSE, or from lone worker specialists like Peoplesafe.


Organisations must mitigate against any risks they identify in their risk assessments before employees start working alone, so those that are currently preparing to bring employees back to work in this post-lockdown environment should bear this in mind. The HSE has recently updated its guidance in relation to lone working, which advises employers to “train, supervise and monitor lone workers”, and “keep in touch with them and respond to any incident”.


Putting this advice into practice can be effectively achieved with a lone worker safety device or app. Low- risk work can be made safer through activity timers and position reports, for example, while high-risk work may require a more robust solution with an SOS alert function or fall detection that automatically raises an alarm. For instance, Peoplesafe’s purpose-built, 24-hr Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) is dedicated to handling emergency situations and is able to bypass 999 for priority access to the police when necessary. Employers should revisit their risk assessments to determine the service that would be best suited to the needs and roles of their employees, providing both protection and reassurance during a period when many returning workers may be feeling higher levels of anxiety than usual.


employers will need to put extra measures in place to ensure they’re meeting their legal obligations under general health and safety regulations such as the Health and Safety at Work Act.


“If the right protocols aren’t in place, and they can’t rely on


colleagues to ask for advice, lone workers may be more susceptible to poor decision-making.”


Employers have a duty to include specific risks to lone workers in their general risk assessments, so even those that suddenly find themselves dealing with a far greater proportion of lone workers have no excuse not to provide adequate protection for their employees. Reviewing risk assessments regularly is vital to accommodate changing circumstances ensure that employers remain up-to-date and that their provisions for lone workers are as robust as possible. Advice on completing a risk assessment - and


www.tomorrowsfm.com


Employee engagement is key People that are required to work alone should also be prepared to advocate for themselves in some cases, as even the most detailed risk assessments won’t cover every potential health and safety risk they may face. So, if they identify a risk that they don’t feel they have adequate protection against, then they must have a means of flagging it to their employer immediately. They should also be encouraged to ask for any additional training or equipment that they feel they need to be able to work safely, such as appropriate PPE equipment or a personal safety device.


Those that are provided with a lone worker safety service should be much better equipped to deal with any issues that may arise while they’re working solo, but only if they know how to use it. Appropriate training should be provided to those people managing lone workers to ensure there is a clear understanding across their teams and to be able to provide advice where needed. Lone workers should also feel empowered to use the personal safety device they’re given, rather than trying to handle a dangerous situation themselves.


As the coronavirus crisis continues and social distancing measures remain in place, many employers may decide that it’s safer and more practical for more of their employees to work alone rather than in small teams. With the right policies and procedures in place, lone working can be made very safe, and having clear, robust plans and measures in place will enable employers and employees alike to feel confident in taking this approach.


www.peoplesafe.co.uk/ TOMORROW’S FM | 47


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