Chapter 5

Lone Worker Solutions: Keeping Your Remote Team Safe

March 28, 2020

It’s important to have a lone worker policy for your workplace. This document will prescribe how lone workers and their managers should perform their day-to-day tasks. More importantly, this document gives instructions to your team about what to do in case of various on-the-job accidents or incidents. 

Here are some of the safety measures to include in your lone worker policy.

Daily Safety Checklist

If your lone workers regularly work in hazardous environments requiring special equipment or safety protocols, create a checklist. Before lone workers head to their designation every day, they must turn in a checklist that confirms they are wearing any necessary safety gear, and that they are bringing necessary devices to contact their manager or team members in case of an emergency. 

Risk Assessment

You should understand potential risks before your lone workers begin their jobs. 

As an employer, you’re legally required to protect your employees. Consider what says about lone working policies: 

“Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk”

See Chapter 6 for a free risk assessment template.

Training and Preparedness

One of the best ways to protect your employees is to invest heavily in their training. Provide them quality information about how to perform their work safely. Set expectations about prioritising safety in every situation they may encounter. Also, support your workers with tools and training that cover worst case scenarios. 

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What should lone workers do if they are threatened or robbed? 
  • What should lone workers do if they are injured on the job?
  • Where can lone workers find the first aid kit on every job site?
  • What is your organization’s standard practice when communications are down?

All what-if situations should be discussed during lone worker training. Their knowledge is their safety. 

Training is also the time to encourage employees to always maintain a transparent relationship with you, their employer. Should something go wrong, it is their responsibility to report all incidents to you or their manager as soon as possible. 

Likewise, if an employee is going into a new situation or handling a new tool, they should tell employers. This allows you to offer further training, instruction, or resources to make sure all lone workers remain safe on the job. 

Emergency Alert Systems

One of the fundamental tools for modern lone worker safety is an emergency alert system.

These systems come in two forms: devices and apps. Here are the core differences and benefits.

Lone Worker Devices vs. Lone Worker Apps

Emergency Alert Devices

There are several companies making high-quality emergency alert devices for lone workers. These devices have slightly differing functions, but all exist to provide an easy way for remote employees to alert a manager during an incident on the job. Many devices come in the form of a small fob with a clear, analog button. It’s easy to click during an emergency. 

Beyond that foundational core, devices offer a range of additional aids, depending on the device and monitoring software you use. For example, Protector by Vatix is an end-to-end lone worker monitoring software that syncs with your team’s lone worker devices to provide real-time location monitoring. 

Emergency Alert Apps

Some emergency alert systems come in the form of apps that can be downloaded to a tablet, computer, or smartphone. These systems are helpful insofar as they exist on devices most lone workers need to perform their jobs. Using a mobile phone app, for example, allows lone workers to report emergencies using a device they’re likely familiar with. 

On the other hand, emergency alert apps often require reliable phone or 4G service. They can also require lone workers or their managers to stay on top of app updates to make sure nothing is lagging in times of emergency. 

A Comprehensive Lone Worker Monitoring Platform

The other side of emergency alert systems is monitoring. Who is in charge of monitoring your lone workers while they’re in the field? Vatix uses real-time tracking to make sure you always know where your lone workers are in case of an incident. 

Even if your lone worker is unable to signal an alert, your monitoring system can tell you where to find your employee, making it easy to locate them in case of incidents in which your employee can’t contact you. 

Monitoring also makes it easy to download reports and manage vital employee safety data. Track on-the-job patterns in case a certain place or job is higher risk than others. More information gives you the power to make better decisions about your workforce. 

In Chapter 6, you can download a FREE lone worker risk assessment template to help you start implementing healthier, safer working environments and policies for employees.