Working alone, outside of the traditional office is commonplace, and an estimated 49 million staff around the globe fit into this category (Berg Insight Report 2013). Employers owe all staff a duty of care, and as such they need to consider the risks to lone worker’s safety in what often has the potential to become a hostile environment, leaving them vulnerable to violence, abuse, accident or injury.
Over the past 10 years, governements have implemented varying levels of legislation to protect the lone worker industry, however the core principle remains the same; to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all employees as far as can be considered reasonably possible.
There are three key reasons as to why as a business you should make it your priority to protect your lone working staff:
- The Moral ObligationThe employer holds a moral obligation to protect employees so that they are not left feeling uncomfortable or afraid by unsafe working conditions.
The moral code of an organization often affectss the overall reputation of the brand. Unhappy workers and reports of incidents could have a negative impact, resulting in loss of new or existing clients, and ultimately revenue. It may also make it harder in future to hire quality employees who are aware of your poor health and safety record.
- A Legal ResponsibilityOccupational health and safety laws differ across countries and regions however the risks are fundamentally the same for any business.
Failure to comply can result in legal action which could cost the business in fines, resources and time. The individual employer could even face prosecution and imprisonment.
Carrying out risk assessments to identify the potential problems and then taking the appropriate steps to mitgate the risks is a proven method to ensure you have acted to ensure the welfare of your employees.
- The Financial ImpactLow morale and higher stress levels can affect productivity in the workplace, harming the organization long term with a rise in employee sick leave and even high turnover of staff. Reduction in productivity ultimately affects the bottom line.
In addition, there are a large number of financial costs associated with workplace accidents, these include staff replacement, compensation, investigation etc.
Health and Safety organisations such as BSIA offer several steps that can be taken by way of a solution:
- Undertake a full risk assessment
- Develop and implement policies and procedures
- Employee training and engagement
- Supply protective clothing and quality equipment
- Establish a lone worker monitoring and management system
SL Protect™ supports businesses with the final step mentioned here, providing a cost effective, simple to use, downloadable mobile phone app combined with 24/7 emergency response in case an incident occurs. You can find out more here: