Seven out of ten technology launches fail to meet their strategic goals. How can you ensure your employees are engaged for success?
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The StaySafe app is available on Exloc Instruments’ recently launched intrinsically safe ATEX Smartphone – providing a reliable safety solution for those operating alone in hazardous locations.
The IS530.1 is a robust, industrial smartphone certified for ATEX Zone 1 and Class I DIV1 hazardous areas. This means the device meets requirements to be safely used in the most volatile of environments, where using a regular mobile device could create an electrostatic discharge, which could cause ignition of a flammable or combustible atmosphere.
The ATEX smartphone’s latest technology is fully compatible with the StaySafe app and all of its features including; timed check-in sessions, panic alerts, discreet panic and man-down alerts. Read more
When we think of lone workers we usually imagine those working in complete isolation such as a security guard manning a building at night, or a farmer working out in the middle of a field. However, while this may be true for many, lone working doesn’t always mean being completely alone.
Lone workers may very well operate in highly populated areas or alongside clients, customers and members of the public.
Narrowing our definition of lone workers down to those completely in isolation means that many of our employees are not being included in our lone worker policy and are not receiving the level of protection they need as a result.
So, what then constitutes lone working and how can we identify lone workers in our organization?
A lone worker is anyone working without the direct and immediate support of supervisors or colleagues. To put it simply, if an employee cannot be seen or heard by a colleague, they are lone working, whether that be for all or part of their working day.
Identifying your lone workers
Some of your lone workers will be easy to identify by assessing work patterns and roles. However, there may be times where you may not even be aware that your employees are lone working. It may be useful to talk to your employees and ask the below questions to identify any ‘hidden lone workers’ in your organization.
- Do colleagues work in different parts of a building or site? E.g. two cleaners working on different floors.
- If working on a noisy site, will a colleague be able to see/hear another colleague if they need help?
- Do your employees travel alone during working hours?
- Are there times where employees working as pairs will be separated? E.g. taking separate lunch breaks.
- Will any of your employees be left working alone if a colleague is on leave?
- Are there times where an employee is left to man the shop floor alone?
- Are single employees left working late in the office or other work sites?
Once lone working practices have been identified, it is important that you risk assess each of these situations and put measures in place to ensure your employees are safe.
Understanding the risks
There are of course different risks associated with the level of isolation that comes with lone working. Those out in a remote and completely isolated location are more exposed to environmental risks that could lead to an accident, while those working alongside members of the public or in client’s home are at higher risk of experiencing violence and aggression.
We have produced an infographic that outlines some of the different types of lone working, examples of different roles associated with such situations and the risks that they may face.
If you would like to discuss identifying or protecting your lone workers, please get in touch via our contact form.
This article provides a brief guide on the different options for notes on check-in and session extend.
StaySafe has recently been updated with the ability to allow or enforce the entry of notes not only at the start of a user’s session but also during a session.
The ability to add additional notes during a session has been developed for situations where a lone worker needs to leave useful information throughout the day. For example, those working on different jobs or sites during a session, those about to enter an area of low signal, or to record any identified hazards while working.
To get set up with notes on check-in and session extend, contact us using the form below.
As technology is rapidly advancing, health and safety challenges are increasingly being solved with the assistance of smartphone apps. From providing quick information on the go to reliable monitoring, the ability of smartphones to harness new technologies allows businesses to access low cost, effective safety solutions.
For those working alone, this is particularly valuable as support from colleagues is not always readily available. Yet with 85% of adults in the UK owning a smartphone, support from a mobile device is.
So in what ways can advancements in mobile technology aid the safety of lone workers? Read more
Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms and is shockingly more common than we realise, equally impacting both men and women.
Statistics show that 83 million people have experienced sexual harassment from the age of 15, with 50% of women and 20% of men experiencing sexual harassment at work. Despite these shocking statistics, many more instances of sexual harassment in the workplace still go unnoticed, unreported and subsequently, unresolved.
Forms of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can range from mild to more extreme forms and can be written, verbal and physical. These range from unwanted comments and discrimination, emails with sexual content, sexual advances, intimidation, unwanted physical contact and assault. All forms should be taken equally as seriously and dealt with immediately by employers.
Although sexual harassment can occur at any time and in any location, there is a greater risk to lone working employees, particularly when working late, out of hours and often out of sight where signalling for help can be challenging.
Lone workers are also at high risk when undertaking visits behind closed-doors, where they could face volatile behaviour and aggression from clients, tenants and abusive members of the public. Commonly, roles which involve lone workers visiting homes without any attendance include; care workers, charity workers, family officers, NHS staff, surveyors and real estate workers.
There are also lone workers who are required to deal with members of the public under the influence of alcohol and drugs or suffering from emotional issues which can cause a change in behaviour. Without the appropriate care and training, individuals can be left particularly vulnerable in one on one situations.
Consequences of sexual harassment
- Stress reaction including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, lowered self-esteem and more
- Poor company morale
- Less productivity in staff
- Creates an environment for sexual harassment to flourish
By violating the dignity of a worker, sexual harassment can ultimately create an environment of an intimidating, hostile and degrading nature.
What can be done?
Sadly, many cases of sexual harassment go unreported due to workers feeling unable to challenge or defend themselves against the perpetrator if they are in fact a client. As a result, as much as 53% of women and 69% of men did not report sexual harassment at work.
Cases of sexual harassment may not be reported by staff if they do not feel confident that there is substantial support from their company put in place, creating a barrier for them to take action.
The effects of sexual harassment are monumental and even as little as one instance can have detrimental knock-on consequences to both the company and their staff if not investigated properly and dealt with. Therefore, this is why it is so important to educate and train your staff.
Educating and training staff can be achieved through a strong Sexual Harassment policy to ensure the workplace is free of discrimination. Training sessions should also be arranged for employers to ask questions and be as informed as possible on the matter in order to provide reassurance and instil confidence so that they can be prepared and take the necessary response if faced with this situation.
As an employer, you should seek to have a work environment that is understanding and sympathetic to all employees, including dynamic risk assessment training to evaluate risks and how to overcome them.
You should also make it clear who to report incidents of sexual harassment to and reinforce the idea that employees experiences will be taken seriously.
Lone Worker Safety Solution
A safety solution in the form of an app should be highly considered, as it enables a lone worker to signal for help even in difficult situations. This kind of solution can reassure both the company and their staff by providing accurate and reliable safety monitoring through alert functionality and location updates.
If an employee feels threatened whilst working remotely or otherwise, they can raise an alarm secretly and unknown to their attacker by inputting a special duress PIN. This will fool the attacker into thinking the app has been disabled when in fact a duress alert has been raised in the Hub and help can be sent immediately.
Generated by pressing the phones power button, a user can raise a panic alert swiftly and discreetly from a hidden area, such as a bag or pocket.
The StaySafe app can even be paired with a bluetooth button which can be attached to a lanyard, clothing or worn around the wrist, and used send a panic alert without touching their phone.
While safety measures, policies and training are essential in protecting employees from sexual harassment and assault, a lone worker app is a reliable way of ensuring a lone worker is never completely alone.
It is currently estimated that 22% of the working population can be considered lone workers. With increasing pressures on businesses to enhance profits and productivity, and an increase in automation and new technologies, this number continues to grow year on year.
While lone working allows organisations to operate in a more efficient manner, it brings with it a new set of health and safety challenges. Lone workers are more vulnerable to the risks of violence, abuse, accident and injury since any risks they face, are faced alone.
But should organisations be taking extra care when protecting their lone working staff? This guide outlines three business reasons why you should take lone worker safety seriously; legal, moral and financial.
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London, have been fined following the death of a lone worker.
In October 2011, Damian Bowen was asphyxiated whilst decanting liquid nitrogen, used to freeze blood samples, in a London laboratory.
An investigation into the incident by the HSE, found that the local exhaust ventilation provided to extract dangerous substances, had been switched off. When released into the air, the liquid nitrogen expanded as a gas, replacing the oxygen in the room and creating a deadly atmosphere.
Working with hazardous substances
Working with hazardous substances could cause a number of health issues if not handled correctly. From burns and inflammation, to cancers, respiratory problems and even death.
Legally, procedures and control measures must be put in place for employees handling or working near hazardous substances. In this case, the ventilation system would have been a sufficient way to prevent harm, and Bowen would not have died.
The failure to implement a system that prevented the extraction from being switched off, a proper system of maintaining the equipment and clear arrangements from preventing lone working with liquid nitrogen, demonstrated a clear breach of health and safety legislation.
Both Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The building in which the incident occurred, belonged to Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust, who were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,069.19.
However, the room was rented by Imperial College London who owned the liquid nitrogen store. They were fined £70,000 with costs of £23,069.19.
The death of lone worker Damian Bowen, was an entirely preventable incident. When working with hazardous substances, employers must ensure that not only are procedures in place to prevent harm, but they are always put into practice and regularly checked.
If working alone with hazardous substances, a thorough risk assessment should determine whether it is safe to do so. In this case, the HSE inspector involved concluded that lone working should not have been allowed.
If lone working is determined to be safe in other circumstances, additional safety measures must be put in place to ensure they are at no more risk than employees working alongside colleagues.
One effective way of doing so, is to ensure every lone worker has a way to signal for help in an emergency, even if they are unable to physically do so themselves.
With StaySafe, missed check-in and man-down alerts ensure someone is alerted as soon as possible, even if an employee in knocked unconscious. This is incredibly important for those working with hazardous substances where an accident would require immediate medical attention.
When discussing the costs associated with poor workplace health and safety, direct costs such as fines and legal costs tend to take centre stage. While fines given to a business following a safety failing are designed to have a significant impact on the business, there is a multitude of ‘hidden costs’ that many forget to consider. Yet these hidden costs can also have a significant, and in many cases, the ongoing financial impact on the business.
A remote worker is anyone who works away from a fixed work base, such as an office or work site. Remote workers may work in small groups or on their own, and their roles are likely to require travel to different locations.
Typical jobs requiring remote working include:
- Comunity and mental health workers
- Mobile mortgage managers and business bankers
- Travelling salespeople
- Insurance assessors
- Field service engineers