Lone Worker Protection

Patrick Dealtry writes about the four key considerations in the protection of Lone Workers.

A notable feature at the recent Lone Worker Safety Conference at Olympia was the interest in training and policies and procedures.  As evidence there were three relevant conference presentations and 5 companies offering such services in the exhibition area.

In order to work out the reason for such heightened interest we should look at the concept of Lone Worker Protection.

Protection of Lone Workers is something of a contradiction; how can you protect someone who is on their own away from your premises?

The proposition is that the only practical way is to equip Lone Workers with the tools to help them to help themselves.

(This an interesting proposition in a culture which has increasingly moved the responsibility for personal safety from the individual to the organisation).

In brief there are 4 points to consider.

Prevention.  This is essentially a question of good policies and procedures.  Among other things these give the tools to a) avoid getting into a dangerous situation in the first place through b) awareness and dynamic risk assessments, c) how to manage the situation if prevention does not work, and d) in the last resort, controlling aggression.

Response.  When prevention is not enough then the Lone Worker needs the tools to call for help.  This involves Lone Worker service suppliers and a list of those meeting the British Standard can be found at www.bs8484.com and at www.BSIA.co.uk/loneworker

Training.  Neither of the above will achieve their potential without training.  This should cover a) training for managers in how to manage the Lone Workers in their teams, and b) training lone working staff in applying the procedures developed for their safety and use of Lone Worker devices designed to enable them to call for help.  

It is true to say that when something does go wrong and an employee is in trouble it is likely to be a) unpredictable and b) a situation which will only be resolved because training for such an eventuality kicks in. 

Management.  The old adage that ‘if it isn’t managed it won’t happen’ is as true here as anywhere.   The issue is how to ensure Lone Workers continue to use their procedures and devices/apps when for many of them there may be no apparent need.   Training is of course fundamental but how can that be consistently enforced and new team members not allowed to fall through the cracks?   

Management information is clearly important, especially when it informs managers when procedures and devices/apps are not being used as intended.  Also such management information can be used to justify the organisations’ continued investment in Lone Worker Protection.

Finally, not getting it right may well impact the organisation when something goes wrong.  Insurance companies are aware of Lone Worker requirements, so an organisation that cannot justify their Lone Worker policies may allow insurance companies to reject claims.


Patrick Dealtry

5 December 2014

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author.








Posted by Maybo on December 15, 2014



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