Did you know that usually 22% of the UK’s workforce are considered to be lone workers? And with the Covid-19 pandemic causing many businesses to operate from home, this percentage has no doubt grown exponentially. But what responsibilities, as an employer, do you have for your employees working remotely? And how can you help protect their safety?
In our webinar taking place on Thursday the 23rd of April from 10 to 12 am, these questions and many more will be answered by Callum Coombes, CEO of Safepoint, who, with his team, has created an app specifically designed to support lone working.
To get started here are 5 Things You May Not Have Considered As An Employer of Lone and Home Workers…
#1 Leave No Worker Behind
Many employers may be aware that they morally, and as good business managers, should protect the safety of their workers, but they might not be aware that they must protect them.
Lawfully, employers are collectively and individually responsible for their employees’ health, safety and welfare. This applies to all staff members, including lone contractors and self-employed individuals working for the company.
If an employer doesn’t comply with the law on employee welfare, they could be subject to heavy fines, uninsured losses, damage to their reputation and even a stay in prison.
#2 Your Employee May Be Surrounded By People, But They May Still Be A Lone Worker
When one thinks of a lone worker, images of people working solo in the middle of nowhere- in a field, wood or empty factory- may come to mind. But the official definition of a lone worker by the Health and Safety Executive is someone who ‘works by themselves without close or direct supervision’.
This means that people who work in public view- such as a cleaner- or who work from home in a house surrounded by family, are still considered to be lone workers.
#3 Include Your Employees When Conducting Risk Assessments
Conducting a thorough risk assessment is one step towards ensuring your employees are protected when lone working. However, as tempting as it may be to churn the assessment out without much thought, it is important that you include your employee in the assessment to explore all angles. Your workers may be aware of risks that you haven’t yet envisaged.
Also remember that if your business has more than five employees, you must document your risk assessments in writing.
#4 Everyone In Your Organisation Should Be Aware of Your Health and Safety Procedures, Not Just Front Line Workers
After writing your risk assessments, your next step will be to draw up comprehensive procedures for handling all at risk situations. Remember to include your employees again, as you did with your risk assessments, and break the procedures into easy to follow steps which are written in plain English.
Make sure you train everyone on the procedures, whether they are front line workers or managers. Your managers should lead by example to demonstrate how seriously your business takes it’s health and safety responsibilities. Schedule regular refresher sessions and take the time to train new workers before they start their duties.
#5 Use New Tech To Keep Connected, Don’t Rely On Texts and Phone Calls
In a study conducted by the Daisy Group, a communications business, one in six lone workers reported that they suspect it would take their colleagues at least seven hours to realise if they went missing.
But knowing how difficult it is to get a signal in remote spots- especially in rural Norfolk- to check in on colleagues, relying on text and phone calls is not always the perfect solution.
Apps, such as Safepoint, keep track of workers carrying out tasks remotely. It runs unobtrusively in the background on the employees phone and shares information to appointed colleagues and managers, such as GPS Location, task duration, phone signal and battery level. Most importantly, the app alerts you if a lone worker fails to notify you that they are safe and well at the end of each task.
To find out more about safe lone and home working tips, sign up to our webinar with Callum, here: https://safeworking.eventbrite.co.uk