A recent study by Tracplus found that nearly 20% of lone workers working in remote areas have difficulty getting help after an accident. That is a shocking number of workers at risk of an injury since it’s entirely preventable.
Imagine what would happen if 1 in 5 of your workers were suddenly unavailable for work? Your business would have a loss of productivity, a decrease in sales, low staff morale, and a loss of reputation. In the worst case, the closure of the business is also possible. With such high stakes at play, businesses need to prioritise their lone worker’s safety.
So how can we reduce the risk of lone working? Read on to learn more about the pain points of lone workers and the best ways to ensure their safety.
Common Injury Risks Faced by Lone Workers
For lone workers, the risk of injury is much higher as there is no supervisor or team member to assist them when they are in danger.
This makes it even more important to identify and thoroughly understand the hazards in detail so you can take the necessary precautions to mitigate risks and keep your lone workers as safe as possible.
1. Slips, trips, or falls on the same level
Slips, trips, or falls are the most common type of accidents yet are often the simplest and most cost-effective to prevent. Multiple factors can cause these accidents. Some of it includes the workers’ footwear and environmental hazards such as bad weather conditions and low visibility due to fog.
2. Handling, lifting, or carrying
Handling, lifting, or carrying objects can lead to immediate or long-term musculoskeletal injuries. The risk of injury increases when workers bend, twist, have awkward postures or deal with heavy loads.
3. Struck by a moving object
Moving objects include things such as knives or any objects falling from height. Injuries caused by moving objects can be fatal, especially for lone workers, since they cannot get help quickly.
4. Acts of violence
Acts of violence are “any occurrence in which a person is mistreated, intimidated, or attacked in the circumstances relevant to their employment”. Learn more about acts of violence and maritime crime here.
5. Falling from a height
- Falling overboard. A fall from a port or ship into the open ocean is a prevalent cause of maritime worker deaths. Even if workers are pulled from the water; hypothermia, hypoxia, and other near-drowning symptoms may occur. It’s much more dangerous for lone workers as they must account for their safety and can only rely on themselves should they fall overboard.
- Falls from platforms. Ship workers may fall from ropes and scaffolds while completing repairs, while harbour workers may trip when working equipment on storage facility roofs. A fall from many storeys can result in permanent brain damage, physical and mental problems, or spinal injuries resulting in partial or total paralysis.
What is Lone Worker Protection?
Lone worker protection means having proper policies, risk assessments, processes, and safeguards in place to ensure the safety and security of any lone workers.
For many lone worker employers, this entails carefully considered risk assessments, a comprehensive lone worker policy, and investing in a lone worker safety solution that allows employees to call emergency services or others for help quickly.
These safety solutions usually come with monitoring systems and location-tracking functions to help employers provide safety to all staff members in the work environment.
Reasons Why You Need Lone Worker Safety Solutions
1. Government Compliance
Employing a safety solution lowers liability, keeps track of employee actions, dangers, and incidents, and helps businesses comply with workplace health and safety regulations. For this reason, businesses have increasingly turned to smarter solutions to keep their workers safe and avoid legal troubles.
2. Safety Practices and Procedures
Employing an effective lone worker protection solution makes it simple for businesses to create and implement robust safety policies, protocols and procedures that can ensure the safety and well-being of lone workers.
3. Ever-Changing Lone Worker Hazards
The nature of every lone working role is different. This means that every role has its fair share of hazards that could differ from other roles, which makes it necessary and important for employees to be trained in carrying out dynamic lone worker risk assessments.
5 Ways to Reduce Risks of Lone working
1. Use a Lone Worker Device with Alerts
Lone worker devices are applications that allow workers to communicate quickly with their employers and emergency services. In addition, they help reassure lone workers that they can get help if needed while they work without supervision.
Specialist lone worker solutions like the SOL-X Control Of Work System enable real-time visibility of front-line operations from a live dashboard, displaying workers’ identities along with their live location and active tasks.
The system alerts the supervisors through Crew Assist notifications when workers have difficulties performing their tasks or feel unwell.
2. Use Wearables to Monitor Workers
Smart wearables are used for tracking information and are usually linked to a safety system that allows for real-time monitoring to ensure the safety of workers. The SOL-X Crew Protect System, which provides each individual with a SOL-X SmartWatch, is a superb system that accomplishes this.
These smartwatches are equipped with modern hardware and extensive data processing software to generate physical activity profiles that provide users with helpful health and safety preventative information. At the same time, they provide their supervisors with real-time health and activity levels for monitoring.
When workers need assistance, they can access a Crew Assist function on the SmartWatch that helps them contact their supervisor. The Crew Assist function automatically sends the worker’s location and task details which speeds up response time.
3. Conduct Lone Worker Risk Assessments
A lone worker risk assessment allows supervisors and workers to identify and address risks associated with a job role by considering the possible hazards and the environment the lone worker is working in.
Organisations can create a lone worker risk assessment to use, and the assessment should contain and address the following:
- Hazards identified/present
- Who and how a lone worker may be harmed
- Procedures in place to reduce risks and prevent harm
- Further actions are required to reduce the risk
It is also useful to include the names and dates of when the risk assessment was carried out, along with any necessary details.
4. Train Lone Workers and Supervisors
Training is an essential part of any successful business or organisation.
It increases workers’ confidence by allowing them to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle problems and get things done. Furthermore, it shows the workers that the business prioritises their safety.
By training lone workers, supervisors ensure that they are aware of workplace hazards and how to carry out first aid for themselves or other workers in an emergency. Other core components of a training course for lone workers may include:
- Work behaviour and best practices to avoid dangerous situations
- How to use lone working monitoring systems
- How to use personal protective equipment
5. Encourage Cooperation between Lone Workers and Managing Staff
The managing staff of a business with lone workers should always be aware of the activities, locations, and schedules of lone workers, especially if the company has not adopted a lone worker monitoring system.
Without a lone worker monitoring system in place, a constant communication channel must be activated between lone workers and supervisors to ensure they are safe and can receive instructions from their supervisors when needed.
Protect Lone Workers with SOL-X
The easiest and best way to monitor your lone workers in real-time is through IIoT technology from SOL-X for lone worker monitoring.