A lone worker (LW) is an employee who performs an action that is carried out remotely from other employees without close or immediate supervision. This kind of staff members may be exposed to risk because there is no-one to support them.
Lone Worker is used to describe someone who is alone in any place as part of his work. But when exactly a person is regarded to be alone at work? And how much time should he pass alone at work in order to consider him a Lone Worker?
Being completely on their own
Cannot be seen or heard by others
Cannot expect visit for another workers for a specific time interval
In most situations, Lone Workers may be alone for a short period of time. A common example is about firemen, when moving away from the team and no one is able to see or hear them until they come back and join the team again.
On the other hand, there are some common examples of guards who supervise remote areas and have to be alone for about the whole of the day or for 2 -3 days in a row.
There is not a distinct boundary to define a job as a Lone Worker job relying on the time a worker may be alone. That is because in the first example, the fireman will work for only half an hour away from the team and in the last example the guard will may be for 3 days alone. However, the former situation bears a much higher risk for the worker and requires a strict Lone Worker policy too.
Identify staff who work alone and the risks they face
Develop and implement a Lone Working Policy
Put control measuers in place
Control any risks faced by Lone Workers
Always carry a mobile phone device
Let your supervisor know where you are and what time you are expected back.
Be aware of the risks of each location
Get constantly trained
Master the use of a Lone Worker Monitoring system and take advantage of NFC or beacon technology to send immediate SOS alerts.
United Kingdom has
6 million Lone Workers
which is equal to
of UK working population
Office Lone Workers
Companies and Organizations that accomplish many Lone Workers tasks have to comply with a Lone Worker Policy in order to ensure maximum safety for their officers. There are some basic questions that any company which employs Lone Workers could answer:
How much time the worker is completely alone?
Is it fair enough to be completely alone for the predefined time or the specific job could be executed in different terms and in less time?
How much time is necessary so as the worker will finish his job?
Is it reasonable to be alone or the company could increase resources and eliminate dangers for Lone Workers?
Which is the equipment of the Lone Worker? Is there immediate access to means of communication and other technology facilities to improve Lone Workers satisfaction and security level?
Will the Lone Worker be able to communicate immediately in case of a dangerous state or he has to afford specific processes that will delay his response and set his life to danger? For example, if the communication or emergency system is in a local station, the Lone Worker will not be able to access it immediately and warn about the danger.
Which is the vehicle that will carry the Lone Worker to the location and how safe is he during the road trip?
How remote is the location of the Lone Worker and which is the minimum time required to access it in case of an emergency?
Will the person be required to work far away from his vehicle for a long time?
Is there any first aid equipment available in case of medical emergency or a first aid kit in order to come up with illness and other medical disorders?
What is the machinery tools need to be used and how dangerous are for Lone Workers health and safety?
Is the Lone Worker fully informed about the use of the machinery and able to follow all safety instructions and guidelines?
Is the machinery maintained in regular basis so as to be totally safe to use?
Has the Lone Worker been trained thoroughly in order to be able to face all situations may arise when working alone?
A Lone Worker company should definetely be aware of all of the above answers and create a specific and strict Lone Worker policy to ensure safety of officers and maximum protection of assets.
Lone Workers work alone. It has to be taken seriously into consideration that many risks arise and many actions have to be taken so as to ensure maximum security.
For example, working with electricity or in a laboratory full of hazardous chemical substances is a high risk situation. Several other factors may deteriorate the situation, such as long hour work or fatigue of the worker.
In some cases, there is increased risk due to animal attacks or working in outside conditions and be exposed to reptiles and insects or extreme weather conditions (Snow, cold, heat, etc.)
On the other hand, if the worker is executing his tasks inside a locked building, how will emergency services access the space if he is not allowed to let them get in? Companies should in any case take care of anything that would be an obstacle to the person's ability to ask for help or contact someone in an emergency state.
Adding more reasons to follow a strict Lone Worker policy, there may be pre-existing medical conditions or physical incapability that may increase risk for the Lone Workers and should be initially taken into consideration. Also, phycology matters regarding some types of Lone working jobs and Lone Workers should be tested if they are able to cope with stressful situations or unexpected processes.
It is easy enough to conclude that all the above factors lead to the necessity of a strict Lone Worker safety policy. A basis of a Lone Worker policy could be of course a lone worker monitoring system that would ensure safety in case of emergency and will set strict guidelines regarding Lone Workers activities.
Particular concern should be granted especially if the employees are operating in a remote area. An employer has to ensure that workers are adhering to risk-free work procedures and performing in compliance with the instructions and training provided. Adequate supervision should ensure workers take reasonable care of their own safety and health. It is up to each employer to determine the most effective way of supervising staff who work alone. One on one supervision is impossible and a means of indirect supervision should be in place. No Lone Worker policy will be effective without implementing a secure monitoring system.
With regard to the practice, the company should be completely satisfied that the Lone worker will do the job in a safe approach and be able to comply with all emergency procedures when left alone. Failing to deal with hazardous habits, and provide adequate data, training, coaching and supervision would be regarded as a break of the employer's obligation of attention. Likewise, workers who do not conform with the safety instructions provided by the employer, wear protective clothing and equipment that is provided, or intentionally misuse or damage equipment, would be a break of their general obligation of attention.
There is a simple question to get in place when thinking about the ideal Lone Working communication system.
Just think about it. Is the Lone Worker able to reach the telephone and immediately call? Maybe yes. But what if he is under a high risk situation such as an intense illness or a physical abuse / attack?
In such a case, emergency signal should be sent without more than 2 or 3 seconds delay. But how could it be possible?
So, employers have to take into consideration that Lone Workers do not have much time to react and should be prepared to click immediately on a button and send a SOS alarm. An effective communication system would let the officer to press immediately on a button on his smartphone or another device and send a notification to the managing staff. Additionally, the staff could receive the alarm in real-time and be able to pinpoint the Lone Workers' location so as to provide help and reinforce him in case of an attack. Lone Worker monitoring systems provide a means of safety for people working alone and particularly in potentially dangerous environments.
QR-Patrol monitoring system is especially designed for guard tours and patrols management but can also be totally applied to a Lone Working situation. This is because Lone Workers need a communication and monitoring system which meets the requirement of real-time and remote signal transmission. QR-Patrol system incorporates both mobile and cloud technology in order to help Lone Workers send immediate alerts via their smartphone to the Alarm Monitoring Center.
However, a certain question should still be answered. What if the Lone Worker can't wait to get the smartphone on his hand, launch an application and send an alert? He has to execute three different actions spending some seconds on each. The above seconds may be crucial for his life as it is possible to be under a direct threat.
ADVANCED BEACON TECHNOLOGY
SEND REMOTE ALARM ALERT
There is a solution to the above problem and it has to do with beacon technology. The carriage of an emergency location beacon is strongly encouraged for use where life-threatening emergencies may occur, to identify location and to point out by pressing on a beacon alarm button that an urgent state exists. It is crucial to understand that it should only be used in an unexpected emergency or as a last resort. Beacons are simply alerting devices used to determine location making use of bluetooth technology. The capability of models currently available varies in accuracy.
So, QR-Patrol monitoring system offers a unique advantage. In the next few days, QR-Patrol will be totally incorporating beacon technology, applying an open protocol. It means that no matter what kind of beacon devices Lone Workers are supplied with, QR-Patrol system will identify them and receive signals from them. Pressing the button on his beacon device, the Lone Worker will be able to send a SOS alert to the Monitoring center via cloud technology and dramatically diminish time of reaction. At the end, it means a huge increase in Lone Workers safety and an efficient way to follow a strict Lone Workers policy.
QR-Patrol system can be used as an excellent Lone Working solution. The system is relying on advanced mobile technology and cloud infrastructure. QR-codes or NFC tags are placed on certain areas in the protected territories and when an officer scans QR-codes or NFC tags with his smartphone, an immediate event is sent to the managing staff via a cloud server. The events vary from test, simple scan and SOS alarms to multimedia events, such as sound recordings and images. In this way, the Alarm Monitoring Center gets notified in real-time about officers' activities and the current situation of the protected areas.
In case of Lone Workers, the major threat to cope with is being ready to face an unexpected threat like the risks mentioned above (slip, physical abuse, illness, accident, etc.) The necessity of a strict Lone Worker policy imposes the use a Lone Worker monitoring system that will facilitate the communication between Lone Workers and managing staff of the company / organization. QR-Patrol system meets this demand by means of real-time messaging and alerting via direct SOS button on the application interface.
However, what if the threat is direct and there is no time to launch the application? Here is when beacon technology is necessary and offers a crucial solution. The Lone Workers can carry a simple beacon device which incorporates a panic button. So, in case of a threat, the employee can immediately press the panic button and send a real-time SOS message to the support team.
QR-Patrol will incorporate beacon technology within the next few days!
When an emergency occurs in a workplace, Lone Worker will not been seen by any of his colleagues as he has to deal with being totally alone.
A lone worker monitoring system can protect him and get the stress out by helping him in case of a threat and dissipating the feel of being unprotected and exposed.
An integrated Lone Working monitoring system can provide safety and confidence for any work environment or occupation.
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