Lone Worker Protection
What is lone worker protection, why is it important, and how should employers protect their lone workers from risk?
What is lone worker protection?
Lone worker protection means having appropriate policies, risk assessments, procedures and safeguards in place to ensure the safety and security of any employees who work alone – either all or some of the time.
For many employers of lone workers, this involves carefully considered risk assessments, a comprehensive lone working policy, and investing in a lone worker safety solution which will allow employees to easily call for help in an emergency situation, and employers to have clear sight of where their mobile workers are located.
Why should employers protect their lone workers?
Lone workers are subject to increased social and environmental risk due to the fact there’s no one else around to provide help and support should an incident occur. This could be dealing with violence or verbal abuse; accidents such as slips, trips, and falls; or health problems.
There are serious penalties for not protecting lone workers. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported fines totalling £35.77 million between 2019 and 2020.
It’s worth noting that, in 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced new guidelines relating to all breaches in Health and Safety, and Corporate Manslaughter legislation, resulting in fines being increased significantly. Fines are directly linked to the level of culpability of an individual or organisation, and their financial situation.
But it’s not just about financial reparations, anyone deemed to be at fault can face prison and the negative impact on brand reputation following an incident can be irreversible, affecting recruitment of staff, revenue, share price and more.
In a recent case, an Edinburgh-based care company was sentenced for failings that led to the rape of a lone worker. This terrible incident highlights the need to protect lone workers from risk and reminds employers of the importance of implementing appropriate safeguards.
Who is responsible for protecting lone workers?
Employers and managers have a duty of care to protect lone workers from risk. This means comprehensive lone worker monitoring, supervision, education and training.
But lone workers all have a responsibility to protect their own health, safety and security, too, cooperating to ensure they comply with company policies and procedures.
And, don’t forget, as an employer or manager, you also have a duty of care to protect your homeworkers. According to HSE, "you should accept liability for accident or injury of a homeworker as for any other employee".
How can we protect lone workers?
Equipping your staff with a SoloProtect lone worker solution can protect your lone workers from risk.
Workers will be able to discreetly call for help at the push of a “Red Alert” button on their lone worker device or on SoloProtect Mobile, our personal protection mobile app. This opens a call with the SoloProtect Monitoring Centre where trained operators listen into the situation and send an appropriate response (this could be alerting the emergency services and/or a manager).
SoloProtect safety devices and the mobile app also feature an automatic Man Down Alarm or “Incapacitation Alert” which will be activated if the user falls over due to an attack, slip, trip, fall or health issue. Once again, the SoloProtect Monitoring Centre will quickly send help to where it’s needed.
For peace of mind and operational efficiency, managers can log onto SoloProtect Insights, our workforce safety management platform, to see Latest Location information for all safety device and app users. This allows managers to make informed and efficient redeployment decisions, track the progress of work, and to see whether colleagues have arrived home safely at the end of a shift.
Further information about lone worker protection