Is the Buddy System a Good Fit for Worker Safety?
There are countless numbers of companies that employ what is known as the “buddy system” as a form of worker safety to prevent the risks associated with working alone. The biggest risk for those that work remotely or during off hours is the possibility that they could face emergency situations and no one would know in time, or even if someone did know, they may not know how to get to that person. This is what the buddy system looks to negate. Requiring a “buddy,” or making sure at least two workers are together at all times for remote or off-hours work can significantly decrease the risk of the previously mentioned possibilities. However, if you are currently utilizing the buddy system or considering using the buddy system for worker safety purposes, there are some pitfalls that you must be aware of.
It is expensive.
In many cases, job tasks carried out by these remote workers can effectively be carried out by one person. However because two workers are needed for safety purposes, employers must hire two workers to carry out one job, thus greatly affecting the company’s costs of labor. Of course, safety should always be a company priority, and there are necessary expenses associated with keeping workers safe, but this worker safety method is especially costly. Its costs can seem even more steep when you begin to see shortcomings in its overall effectiveness , as highlighted below.
Employees let their guard down.
In general, people are more likely to have their guard up and be more aware of their surroundings when they are alone. Naturally, while around a colleague, employees are likely to feel more at ease and are likely to let their guard down. However, the reality is, many of the dangers and risks associated with working alone still apply when there are two workers, but because employees feel more safe with someone around, they are less likely to take safety precautions and catch dangerous situations early on. Since the risks still exist, this can be a dangerous mindset to take.
The emergency can apply to both workers.
Many emergencies that remote workers run into can actually affect both workers, defeating the purpose of an additional worker that can call for help. For instance, car wrecks, chemical leaks and other environmental conditions have the potential to affect both employees at the same time and render them unable to call for help. This is not just limited to environmental situations. For instance, if someone with a gun has made it impossible for an employee to call for help, it is unlikely that your second employee within the same close area will be able to call either.
It is absolutely essential to provide protection for your lone workers who face extra risk. While the buddy system is a better alternative than leaving lone workers completely vulnerable, it still leaves many gaps and holes that must be accounted for. To learn more about how SoloProtect can help you protect your lone workers, visit www.soloprotect.com/us.