Are You a Lone Worker?
The term ‘lone worker’ is not always a familiar one in the United States. In fact, you might be a lone worker and not even know what one is. The term lone worker originated in the UK and has become more and more well known in the United States in recent years as companies become more and more proactive in all forms of worker safety and employee protection with at least 23 million lone workers within the country and counting. Let’s discuss what being a lone worker means.
What is a lone worker?
It’s really as simple as its name sounds. A lone worker is someone who works alone. To put a little bit more context to it, a lone worker is anyone who carries out their job tasks out of eyesight and/or earshot of colleagues and employers. This could be because they work at an off-site location, because their job is best suited for an individual or it may just be because they work during odd hours.
The importance of recognizing a lone worker is to address their unique worker safety needs. Every worker faces environmental and/or social risks, some more than others based on their job role, and the lone worker faces an increased risk due to the fact that they are alone. If they run into any dangers or hazards, there is not always someone nearby to get them the help that they need. Furthermore, if the lone worker runs into such trouble that they are unable to alert someone themselves, nobody is around, or willing, to make those that need to know aware of the situation. In many instances, this significantly delays the time it takes to remedy the situation.
Common lone worker types
Almost every company will have at least some sort of lone worker among their staff. Some of the most common lone worker industries include:
- Agricultural and forestry laborers
- Delivery drivers
- Social workers and family services
- Parole Officers
- Education workers
- Fuel station attendants
- Home healthcare nurses
- Hospitality workers
- In-home help providers
- Security personnel
- Postal staff
- Real estate agents
- Traffic/transit workers
- Utilities workers
- Professionals who visit residential and commercial areas
- Retail employees
It is important to note that just because your job title may not fall under any of the categories listed above, this does not mean that you are not a lone worker. If you feel that your job role and function applies to the description of a lone worker mentioned above, then you yourself are a lone worker and should be aware of the extra worker safety precautions that go along with this role.
What can you do about it?
The most important worker safety practices for the lone worker to keep in mind all involve proactive and preventative approaches. As with most worker safety plans, the lone worker must identify all unique, individual risks that they may face and create an action plan for how they will react should the risk occur. This can be done via a lone worker safety policy, which we highly recommend. Employers and those responsible for the worker safety of the lone worker should establish some sort of system that allows them to check in with their workers and keep track of their location as often as possible. In regards to the huge increased risk that facing these issues alone presents, technology systems, including SoloProtect’s own lone worker safety solution, can be utilized to mitigate such types of shortcomings.
The lone worker will always have unique worker safety needs due to the circumstances of their job role, and worker safety action plans and prevention methods should be every bit as accounted for if not more so than those in traditional job roles. To learn more about specific risks that the lone worker faces and preventative measures that you can take to mitigate these risks, you can download our free white paper and infographic, “The Various Risks that Lone Workers Face” here. To learn more information about how our lone worker safety solution can help you, visit www.soloprotect.com/us.