Lone Worker Survey
I sympathise with Health & Safety advisers who have identified significant risks facing lone workers, then after introducing a monitoring system find that it is used infrequently.
This is particularly evident if the lone worker is using a purpose-built device which has no other use.
Devices are often left at work, at home, or in the car.
Lookout Call conducted a survey to ascertain why there is reluctance to using products which were designed to protect the most vulnerable members of staff.
Here are some of the findings of the survey, which may help employers to anticipate the potential issues before launching a new solution.
Lone workers are often independently minded people who are attracted to the role because it offers them a sense of freedom.
They may have been working alone uneventfully for years and gradually developed a complacent attitude to personal safety.
Those surveyed disliked the idea of being tracked by GPS [72% agreed]
Devices with sensitive MANDOWN motion sensors were particularly unpopular with workers because they feared false alarms may be raised with supervisors [97% agreed]
Many do not want to carry around an extra item of equipment [the device] [63% agreed]
Some feel that using a monitoring system may breach their trust with clients [18% agreed]
Managers may not have fully explained to staff why a new system is required and how it will enhance staff safety.
They may not have included the system in the organisations lone worker policy.
Post-launch they may forget to induct new members of staff or update the systems users.
They may not review usage regularly.
Absence of initial ‘staff buy-in’ and managers not keeping a close eye on things post-launch can have an adverse impact on the introduction of a system.
We found that lone workers are willing to accept a simple system which empowers them to take personal responsibility for their safety [74% agreed]
‘Duty of Care’ should start with the lone worker diligently reporting any new issues to contribute to the client/location risk assessment.
The survey found that most lone workers ‘ideal’ system is very straightforward and may be delivered via a mobile phone. It only needs to hold the workers most recent verbal message, set a timed countdown and include an instant emergency alarm facility [79% agreed]
Apart from there being no capital outlay involved, using a mobile phone-based system has other clear benefits –
Staff rarely forget to carry a mobile phone [98% agreed]
No GPS tracking or Mandown sensor is involved, so usage will be higher [87% agreed]
Lone workers think more carefully about risk before updating their system [73% agreed]
Many large organisations are now questioning the value of buying expensive devices on 3 year contracts if few staff are using them.
The way forward could be to encourage a more ‘hands-on’ approach with staff performing mini risk assessments before each task or journey and reporting anything which would be of concern to H&S.