As an employer the law requires you to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
The minimum you must do to meet the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is:
- Identify hazards, namely what could cause injury or illness in your business
- Assess the risk; decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed as well as how seriously by these hazards
- Eliminate the hazards, or if this isn’t possible, you must put measures in place to control the risks they present.
Lone workers are a special class of employee because they are categorised as higher risk due to the nature of the various situations they could face while carrying out their duties. Their safety therefore needs careful consideration and multiple risk assessments.
1. Identifying Hazards
Risks to lone workers take many forms. As part of your risk assessments you may want to consider the following:
Environmental: These risks include temperature and humidity, such as if a worker may be exposed to extreme heat (or cold temperatures). Additional examples include fire, noise, extreme weather and more.
Hazardous materials: Identify any hazardous conditions that will or could exist where the lone worker is operating and what the risks of each are. Burns? Spills that can lead to breathing problems? Exposure to dangerous or explosive gasses? Ensure all possible scenarios are covered.
Equipment: What risks are inherent in the equipment being used on the site? What problems can occur with this type of machinery that can lead to injuries?
Personal safety: Identify the hazards that exist. For example, are there animals present at the remote sites? Is there a risk of confrontation with potentially agitated members of the public? In each case, what challenges might exist with emergency communications and exits from the situation?
Transportation: Will your lone workers have ready access to transportation when it’s time to leave the worksite? What if a route is blocked or if your worker requires roadside assistance?
Mental health: What levels of stress might an employee working alone experience?
COVID-19: Sometimes lone workers interact with members of the public, presenting a potential risk for exposure to coronavirus.
Additional considerations: Are there other circumstances or unique challenges faced by lone workers on your sites?
2. Assess the Risks
It’s a useful exercise to prioritise the risks identified so you can focus more of your resources on hazards that are potentially more harmful and more likely to happen using the following segments:
- Less significant harm/less likely to occur
- Less significant harm/more likely to occur
- Significant harm/less likely to occur
- Significant harm/more likely to occur
3. Eliminating hazards and controlling risks
Armed with your priority list, it’s time to decide which hazards to address first, and how you are going to do it.
When change is required, the HSE recommends you consider:
- redesigning the job
- replacing the materials, machinery or process
- organising work to reduce exposure to the materials, machinery or process
- identifying and implementing practical measures needed to work safely
- providing personal protective equipment and making sure workers wear it.
In addition to hazard mitigation as above, another option is to consider lone worker safety monitoring technology that automates the process of watching out for your most vulnerable personnel. Sometimes it’s not possible to control all risks, especially when the worker is largely unsupervised and out of sight. This is when you need an extra layer of safety support.
Lone Worker Safety Solutions
Thanks to technological advances, there are automated lone worker safety monitoring solutions that can be implemented to help keep personnel safe, even in the most remote, challenging environments. Eleksen Watchdog is a worker check-in feature which gives workers peace of mind that their safety is being checked when they are working alone. Watchdog enables a configured haptic alert which is sent to the Eleksen Personal Safety Hub at pre-set time intervals. Lone workers simply tap-in on the Hub when they receive the alert by pressing the yellow button to let their dashboard supervisor know they are okay.
If they fail to check in, the Hub and/or Eleksen Smart Garment will start to flash an amber alert and emit a ‘bleep’ to remind them. If the worker still hasn’t tapped-in on the Hub by the time there is a minute remaining of the pre-set time interval, the integrated LEDs will start to flash red, the hub will vibrate and sound an alarm to notify any other workers in the vicinity. When time has run out, the dashboard will immediately show an alert and pinpoint the worker’s location so the dashboard operator/control room can quickly respond to a dangerous situation.
Simple to implement and use, Eleksen Watchdog is a great addition to your risk control protocols.
Contact us for more details at email@example.com or by calling 01455 563 000.