Establishing a safe working environment for lone workers can be different from managing the health and safety of your other employees. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to protect your employees at work, which includes assessing the risks lone workers face and putting measures in place to control, reduce or avoid these risks.
You should carry out a risk assessment to determine what risks your lone workers may be facing. You may find that these risks can only be controlled or reduced by investing in lone worker solutions (such as mobile apps or personal alarms), but as an employer fear that these solutions won’t be well received.
We’ve put together five top tips for increasing lone worker device usage within your workforce to ensure you protect not only your employees, but yourself as an employer.
Involve your employees in the decision
If you haven’t already invested in a particular lone worker solution or brand, or you find that the one you currently have just isn’t cutting the mustard, now could be an excellent time to consult your employees. Ask your employees for their input. What would they be looking for a lone worker solution to do? What are their worries and concerns when they are working? Are they aware of the importance of promoting health and safety culture within the organisation?
If you already have lone worker solutions or devices implemented in your company, but find they aren’t being used, or aren’t being used correctly, now is the time to ask why and find out what is stopping your employees from using them. Are they difficult to use? Do they have the correct features and benefits to suit your workforce and their roles? Do they understand the importance of using them?
Once you have addressed these questions, your chosen lone worker device supplier should work with you to determine the best solutions for your team. It’s important to keep your employees involved in this process and encourage them to ask further questions.
Employees should know exactly what is expected of them when it comes to the health and safety policies within your organisation. Usage guidelines should be drawn up for your lone worker solutions and devices, along with a lone worker policy (link). You should be clear and concise within these guidelines and policies, and include the following:
- Details of the lone worker solution you have issued your employee with
- How the device is to be carried or worn on the employee’s person
- How the solution is operated, and if there are specific circumstances in which certain elements of the device is activated
- Where employees should report faults with the device
- What happens if the device is damaged or lost
- Where employees can find help and support for using the solution
- If there are disciplinary consequences for not following procedure
Champion your lone worker solutions
Management buy-in of your lone worker apps and devices is important, as it shows employees you do care about their safety at work. Encourage your workforce to report back with any feedback they have on the lone worker solutions and health and safety policies you have, negative or positive. If there are certain employees who are popular with their colleagues, ask them to become health and safety advocates, who leads by example and champions your lone worker solutions.
Train your employees
If your workforce doesn’t know how to use the lone worker solutions you have in place, then they won’t use them. Your lone worker solutions provider should offer training, and it is advisable to take advantage of this. Make sure you take part in the training as well – after all if you are not fully clued up on the apps and devices how can you expect your workforce to be? Invest time in making sure your employees know how to use the devices, and why they are using them.
Your lone worker solutions provider should give you access to a portal that allows you to monitor the use of the lone worker apps and devices, which will allow you to see how much they are being used, and if there are any patterns you need to take note of. By analysing the portal, you will be able to make targeted improvements to how your workforce are using the apps and devices.
It is also vital to ensure that your employees know you are monitoring them for their own safety at work, not as part of a ‘corporate Big Brother’ scheme.
If you’re ready to improve your lone worker device usage in your workforce, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 0141 229 0048, or contact us here.