Many people have to work alone in conditions that expose them to personal danger from work-related violence or verbal abuse, accidents, illness or injury. In fact, the Office of National Statistics estimates that there are nearly 4 million lone workers in the United Kingdom.
The vulnerability of lone workers was highlighted following the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh, the estate agent, who disappeared after attending an appointment alone. Although an extreme case, it’s estimated that over 160 attacks take place on lone workers every day!
Employers have a Duty of Care to employees to protect them from unnecessary risk. Increasing Health and Safety and HR legislation places high demands on employers’ time and resources.
Before even considering the cost of fines, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that it can cost between £17,000 and £19,000 on average just to investigate a physical assault. It can cost a lot less to prevent one. If an incident does occur, the courts will take the resources available to an organisation into consideration but it is no defence for an employer to say that they did not have the time, money or resources to do anything to reduce risk.
So how do I go about protecting my lone workers?
There are a range of companies and solutions to help minimise the risk. Personal alarms can provide lone workers with the backup and peace of mind they need to focus on their work rather than on potential problems. They enable anyone who works alone to summon help rapidly in the event of an incident that threatens their wellbeing.
Using personal safety alarms or mobile phone software downloads and apps, lone workers can communicate with an alarm receiving centre 24 hours a day. These pocket-sized devices often feature one or two-way voice communications, memo function and ‘Man Down’ – a fall detector that automatically raises the alarm in the event of a trip, slip or fall.
With the addition of GPS, employers track and locate their staff by logging onto a secure online account and viewing the location on a map. In the unfortunate event of an emergency, the position of the device is instantly relayed to the alarm receiving centre and the controllers can guide the appropriate emergency services to the exact location with minimal fuss.
Equipping lone workers with personal safety alarms also helps fulfil employer’s Duty of Care and protect organisations from potentially disastrous prosecution. This can limit or avoid the huge cost of loss of, or damage to physical business assets by enabling employees to summon fast, effective backup in the event of an incident. What’s more, these solutions are proven to help increase morale and staff confidence knowing that if they need assistance fast, there is a highly trained professional controller on call at all times to assist them in any emergency.