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7 types of lone workers you should be identifying in your company

We are all at some point in our working week, a lone worker. We may find ourselves working alone one day, working remotely or in a vulnerable position. We may find ourselves thinking this is just part and parcel of the job, right? Or you may think it so few and far between that something may happen, that it isn't really important and only think about it if a problem was indeed to arise.

The recent abhorrent events at Ladbrokes, have led to issues of lone working being thrust into the public eye. Those that have been unaware of its importance are suddenly realising that this is in fact a very serious and a very real issue and not another report of health & safety gone mad.

Lone workers, are people at risk. These workers can become ill, injured or maybe stranded for hours without help before they are missed or discovered. Companies nee d to have plans in place to monitor these workers and to empower them to get assistance if needed. Solutions like lone worker alarms, man down alarms combined with a lone working operating system are ideal for helping to keep lone workers safe and secure.

Here are some examples of different types of lone workers you may identify in your company and consider putting protective measures in place for:

1. Maintenance workers who complete repairs alone

Maintenance workers spend countless hours working alone or remotely -fixing machinery, working at height, with tools or with high voltage electricity, many of which are unaccounted for. A sudden illness, fall or accident are very real dangers for the maintenance worker who moves freely around a facility all day – often unaccounted for.

Man Down alarms are an effective way to protect your maintenance workers. These devices can be programmed so the worker can provide regular check ins. Using GPS and indoor locating technology means the workers location can always be found if the worst should happen. Furthermore the device automatically activates an alarm if the worker should fall.

2. Factory / Manufacturing Workers Isolated On The Shop Floor.

Workers isolated on the shop floor are amongst the most at risk for falling victim to job-related accidents. Employees may find themselves operating heavy machinery and working in loud environments, if working alone this increases risks greatly. These lone workers need to be contacted regularly to check on their well-being.

Depending on the level of risk, there are escalated alarmed devices that can help protect these workers. For low risk employees the Call-In service would work, as this allows workers to log in and out of the system periodically throughout their shift by a phone located on site. This works in-conjunction with the Text-In services, which creates a simple message on the system as the worker checks in and out.

For workers working on larger sites, yet still considered low risk the Smartphone App offers the same benefit as the Call and Text-In services, but also provides GPS location.

Those that are considered to be at high-risk would benefit from the range of the Man Down devices, these offer the added protection of automatically raising the alarm if a worker should fall.

3. Drivers Spending Hours Alone On The Road

Certain employees can spend hours travelling alone, these include logistic and couriers, LGV/HGV drivers, sales agents, taxi drivers, bus drivers – and yes, Health and Safety employee’s travelling between sites. They require protection - both for their personal safety and to protect cargo. Not only do they face risk whilst driving, they also face risk when they are stationary or making a drop. Drivers often work in unfamiliar areas at all hours of the day leaving them and the cargo at risk

There are number of lone worker safety devices that can help to protect drivers that work alone. Text-In service allows easy and simple check in via any mobile phone. If a check in is missed the alarm is activated. The Smartphone app, would allow drivers to log in by activating the GPS. The drivers location which is then sent to the system and logged and lastly there are the Man Down units, which are ideal for drivers that have to exit their vehicles to drop cargo’s and deliver parcels. A panic button is always available for emergencies.

4. Lab Workers Who Deal With Hazardous Material Alone

Laboratory employees often spend time in labs alone where others can’t see them, which puts them at significant risk. Hazardous materials can spill, and chemical fumes can be dangerous. Combine this with the fact that Lab workers often put in long hours outside of the traditional 9-5 working day, and you have the ingredients for disaster.

A suitable device would be our Man Down Plus as this gives the ability to book on when starting a shift, but Man Down and Panic are always available to raise the alarm. The indoor location technology of Man Down Plus really sets this apart though – when combined with RF TAGS, the lab worker simply holds the device against a small tag at the doorway to each lab – their exact location is then recorded – even if they are in a basement or hermetically sealed building. This means that any response can attend the correct location without having to search a full facility.

5. The Office Workers Who Work Long In To The Night

When it comes to lone working, office based workers are at less risk of violence and accidents than those that work in a higher risk environment. However, that is no reason to avoid protecting your lone working office staff. Many office workers including journalists, customer support staff, helpdesk staff, managers, sales agents, Director’s, administrators work outside of the normal office hours, and often are working alone or remotely within the building. These workers are still classed as lone workers and require adequate protection to remain safe.

A simple Check-Call, Text-In or lone worker Smartphone app, can easily and cost effectively keep your staff protected. Office workers can simply create timers from their mobile or desk phone. These timers are created by the employees themselves and can therefore be tailored to the task at hand

6. The Customer Facing Worker

Many workers can find themselves working alone or remotely in all many of customer facing industries including medical, retail chains, pubs, estate agents, home care visits, counsellors. These are the workers we would term the ‘forgotten’ lone workers. Lone working within these sectors are so entrenched into the daily routine that they are often overlooked to be at risk, or the lone working policy is to use the buddy system. However, buddy systems can always be subject to human error.

Intuitive operating systems allow companies to streamline and speed up the process of monitoring lone workers. Our system allows for you to set up personalised or companywide escalation procedure that will come into effect as soon as the alarm is raised.

Smartphone, Text-In, Check-Call and Man Down devices are all appropriate for this employee the level of protection is dependent on the level of risk you consider your worker to be. All services have a panic functionality.

7. Working with explosives

Working in an explosive atmosphere brings about its own set of dangers in the work place which can cause loss of life, serious injury as well as significant damage. Accidents do happen, and not all can be preventable, but it is vital that those that are working alone in this environment have the correct lone working solutions in place, so if anything was to happen, help can be provided quickly.

Explosions can occur by flammable gases, mists and vapours or by combustible dusts, those working in in ATEX (atmosphere explosive) zones such as pharmaceutical manufactures, printing suppliers, chemical & oil plants, delivering petrol are especially at high risk.

The ATEX approved personal protection device is the most appropriate device to protect this worker. This has all of the Man Down Plus functionality yet has the ATEX approval to enable its use in these locations. The ATEX Man Down Plus is signified by its yellow casing and EX mark.

On top of this, as many people working in these environments can find themselves working alone in secured areas, ATEX beacons work with the ATEX Man Down Plus to aid location workers in large or complex plants. These will show where the worker is working through the LONEALERT platform.

Article Code: LABL201610

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  • Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 11:58
Mathew Colley

Mathew Colley is the Sales & Marketing Manager at LONEALERT, leading supplier of lone worker protection solutions and lone worker alarms to protect staff who work remotely, alone or are vulnerable.

Website: www.lonealert.co.uk

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