Protecting lone working employees 2016 style: Top tips from London’s Safety and Health Expo
Implementing a lone worker solution is an important step to take as a business, but it does not have to be a difficult one.
The Safety and Health Expo took place in London last week and saw experts come together to offer the latest lone worker advice and guidance. From health and safety experts to users of lone worker devices, everyone had useful tips to offer.
We’ve collated the best advice from the three days, along with our own expertise, to offer a guide on implementing your lone worker safety solution. Some of the speakers over the three days included Health and Safety Managers in the housing industry, Lee-Ann Reading, Denise Williams and Rachel Peters, and Serco Business Support and IT Manager, Lee Horne.
Match the solution to your needs
Step 1. Identifying lone worker risks
The first step in deciding which lone worker solution is right for you is to understand the risks your lone workers face. If you have carried out risk assessments, this step should be simple. You may also consider talking to the lone workers themselves to gain a better understanding of their day to day tasks.
Some important risks to consider are:
– Location – crime rate, environmental hazards, rural vs. industrial
– People – closed door visits, sensitivity of visit, unknown clients
– Travel – length of travel, location, method
– Nature – working at height, electrics, machinery/equipment etc.
Step 2. Identify who is at risk
Do you have lone workers operating in different divisions or carrying out different job roles?
If so they may face different risks. You may want to consider a solution that is fit for each of these groups or implement several solutions. This is where a flexible and customisable solution may be useful as the same solution can be used by all staff
Step 3. Research
Research is key in choosing the right provider for you. Researching online is a good starting point. Make sure you look at the different features available and pick out the solution for the risks identified in step 1.
Look at a number of websites and don’t be afraid to download some material or ask for more information.
You may want to narrow down your search and get in contact with the suppliers that interest you most. They will be most useful in helping you to understand the solution and can provide supporting material and even online demos and face-to-face meetings.
Step 4. Getting staff on board
While a non decision maker may be responsible for gathering initial research, it is important to involve key decision makers as early as possible. Ideally have them attend any demonstrations so they can see the benefits of the solution for themselves and let them hash out any queries in person.
You may also decide to involve potential users in the decision making process. If so, select a small group of staff who are most likely to be using the solution and who are not shy about giving their opinions! The solution needs to be a good fit for the employees who will be using it in order to maximise engagement and usage.
Step 5. Staff Engagement
It is crucial that you communicate to your employees why you are rolling out the solution and what it does. Focus on the fact that it is for their own wellbeing and safety and encourage them to use it for their own benefit, not just as a procedure.
Step 6. Preparation
If you are rolling out a solution that needs equipment such as a mobile device, ensure you have the correct models and requirements before roll out.
Step 7. roll out
If rolling out the solution to a large number of employees, you may want to consider a staged roll out. Begin with your most vulnerable employees and ensure they have received all of the information and training they need to effectively use the solution before rolling out to the next group.
Step 8. training
The amount of training required will vary depending on your chosen solution but it is important that all users fully understand how to use the solution so that they are fully protected.
Some providers will help provide training on an online or in a face-to-face capacity as well as providing supporting documents and training videos.
Step 9. Review
Carry out a review of the solution at a set date. This could be for example, 3 or 6 months after initial roll out. Review whether the solution is working for your business, whether employees are using it and whether they need additional training or support.
Communication is key
Throughout this 9 step process remember, communication is key. With the decision maker, with staff and with the provider. If the three work together, implementing your lone worker solution, should be a smooth and simple process.