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Three Reasons to Invest in Lone Worker Safety

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.

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The hidden costs of poor health & safety

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 are a multitude of ‘hidden costs’ that many forget to consider. Yet these hidden costs can also have a significant, and in many cases, ongoing financial impact on the business.

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Clinton Devon Estates

Clinton Devon Estates is a rural estate comprising 10,000 hectares across East and North Devon and in addition to farming and forestry, operates a range of rural businesses and a portfolio of residential and commercial property.

The company’s lone workers are required to perform off-site duties, which range from independent site visits to using heavy machinery and working at height. Workers are also at risk when travelling between locations (as driving is reportedly the largest killer in the world) whilst staff who are obligated to enter tenant’s houses could be at risk of verbal or physical assault.

Being based in the rural countryside also poses its own safety challenges, due to limited data connection and signal.

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We Are Beams

We Are Beams (Beams) is a UK charity working to support the disabled children, young people and their families across Kent.

As part of their Direct Payment Support Service, Beams is commissioned by the local authority to help families best use the available funding to meet their individual circumstances and needs. The service is provided by a team of lone workers who visit clients at their homes to offer support and advice. Travelling by country roads and working behind closed doors, Direct Payment Case Workers are exposed to both environmental and people risk.

“Dealing with finances can be overwhelming at the best of times. Many of our families employ support workers directly, adding another layer of responsibility or they need to find alternative services which meet their child’s needs to ensure they spend funding in the best way. Lone working allows us as a charity to support as many families in the community as possible to take the stress out of the process. We understand that lone working does come with a set of risks and we want our employees to feel safe and secure as they do so.” – Karen Dorling, Direct Payment Service Manager.

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Turner and Townsend use StaySafe to check-in with staff and monitor their safety out of hours

Turner and Townsend is a construction and project management consultancy, whose lone workers provide a range of services to organisations across the UK. Read more

Dennis Eagle uses StaySafe to monitor the safety of their mobile engineers

Dennis Eagle logo

Dennis Eagle is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of refuse collection vehicles. The company has a number of service centres and contract sites throughout the UK, providing servicing and maintenance of customer vehicles.

Mobile engineers also provide servicing at workshops, customer sites and roadsides across the country. The nature of their work means that direct supervision cannot be guaranteed and work environments can be unpredictable. Read more

Shields Environmental protect lone working telecoms staff

Telecoms supplier, Shields Environmental have switched from a manual check-in system to StaySafe’shields-e logos easy to use app to ensure their staff are safe whilst they work and travel in the field.

Shields Environmental provide services and equipment to the telecoms industry. Their team of lone workers carry out electrical installations on sites across the UK, often travelling between busy cities and remote locations working at height and with electricity. Read more

The rise of the lone worker app – is it time to make the switch?

Dedicated devices have been around for a long time and are a great way to offer personal protection to at-risk employees. However, with the advancement of technology and availability of smartphones, safety apps can offer a new and efficient way of providing protection.

With more and more businesses switching to smartphone technology to keep their staff safe, we take a look at some of the reasons why apps are gaining popularity.

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Check-in calls vs. check-in technology

Manual check-in calls are one of the most common methods used to monitor the safety of employees who work alone. Check-in calls are commonly scheduled at timed intervals throughout the day or before and after entering a work site.

While manual check-ins are perceived to be low cost and low resource, there are a number of challenges that arise when relying on check-in calls alone. Read more

Kingswood Air Conditioning

UK based company Kingswood Air Conditioning have launched the StaySafe solution to monitor the safety of their lone working engineers.

Kingswood-AC-Logo

Kingswood provides servicing and installation of air conditioning equipment to businesses across the UK including NHS and University buildings. Their engineers often travel and work on sites alone, working at height and with heavy equipment.

Slips, trips and falls and heavy lifting are two of the top causes of workplace accidents, accounting for 2.1 million working days being each year (HSE 2014/2015). Engineers working in the facilities management industry are particularly vulnerable to these top risks as well as fire, electrocution and being struck by an object.

When working alone and an accident occurs, receiving immediate help may not be possible. Therefore, it is crucial that lone workers have a way of alerting someone if they are in trouble and in need of help. With Kingswood operating an out of hour call service this became a top priority for the business. Read more