According to different studies, around 15% of employees are lone workers. They face high-end risks, including sudden, dangerous falls, electric shocks, workplace violence, stress, other medical conditions, etc. Lone workers often perform activities without the direct supervision of their boss or the manager. Although this gives them much freedom, it also involves potential risks.
While some employees work as lone workers for their job needs, this practice has been quite common due to the pandemic. People who usually work with colleagues also have to complete tasks in isolation. Thus, they are prone to mental stress and anxiety. Therefore, a safety guideline must protect experienced lone workers and those who have just started working in isolation.
Today's article will discuss the dos and don'ts of lone worker safety & why it is essential.
Working in an office has many benefits, but so does working alone. People who perform well when working in isolation can thrive as lone workers. They won’t have to interact with colleagues while completing essential tasks.
Even if they have to share their ideas with their team, they can do so with the help of a multimedia presentation and get feedback over a video call. It helps them to be on the same page as the rest of the team members.
The only downside of working alone is the dangers employees might face in isolation. When there is no supervision, the risks increase. Avoiding accidents is often tricky if there are no safety guidelines in place. Although it is up to the company to invest in safety measures, employees should also keep certain things in mind while working in isolation.
The Dos and Don’ts of Lone Worker Safety
When you are a lone worker, there are certain things that you should and shouldn’t do. In the absence of a supervisor or manager, it is up to you to pay attention to everything to keep yourself safe.
Here’s the list of dos of lone workers' safety.
1. Assess Your Surroundings for the Safety
Your safety comes first. As a lone worker, you are the only one who can assess your surroundings and identify safety problems in advance. So, before you start working, consider your surroundings thoroughly. If you have to operate machinery, run safety checks to ensure everything is in working order.
As a worker, you can identify problems that others will ignore due to their lack of relevant experience. This applies mainly when operating heavy machinery or working in an industrial area where workers are prone to high-end risk. For instance, working in a low ventilation place with highly hazardous gas emissions would be harmful. So, if you identify a safety hazard, avoid the task and inform your supervisor.
2. Share Your Location
Make sure that people know where you are, especially when working in a high-risk environment. It is better to let people know your location even when working from home. It could help you in case of a health emergency.
You can use satellite devices to share your location with your supervisor when you clock in and out of your working hours. If your company has safety monitoring personnel, you can also check in with them regularly and share your location.
3. Panic Buttons and Motion Sensors
Lone workers need access to a panic button; it’s a lifesaver. When you are in a dangerous situation, you need a way to call for help if something goes wrong. A panic button can alert your supervisor that you are in danger and need assistance.
You should also ensure that you have motion sensors that can alert your superiors if an accident occurs. Motion sensors can detect falls and let your supervisor know you need help.
4. Trust Your Gut
Workers can often tell when something is dangerous, so you should always trust your gut when working in isolation. You are probably right if you think a building is unsafe or a piece of machinery can malfunction while working.
When your gut tells you something can go wrong, it is best to avoid the task in such a situation. You can get the machinery or the building inspected by safety personnel and proceed with the study if they give you the green light.
Pay attention to the following aspects as you work as a lone employee.
1. Don’t Get Overconfident
One of the most common mistakes that lone workers make is believing they know everything and ignoring the safety guidelines. Even if you are confident in your abilities and are sure you won’t run into any problems, you should still adhere to the safety guidelines to avoid unexpected accidents.
Being an experienced worker does not mean you don’t have to share your location with your supervisor while working in isolation. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t need access to a panic button. Accidents can happen anytime, so you should be prepared for everything.
2. Don’t Do the Job of Two Workers
Sometimes companies assign a task requiring two people to a single worker to save money. But as a worker, you can tell when one worker can do the job and when it requires two. If a single worker cannot safely do the task, you should avoid doing it.
You can arrange a video call with your superior to discuss the issue. If it were an honest mistake on their side, they would make sure that you have a partner to complete the task. Otherwise, you can abandon the job instead of putting yourself in danger.
3. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
Taking an unnecessary risk can lead to disasters. Every job involves easily avoidable risks that inexperienced people become a victim of. As a lone worker, it is your responsibility to avoid unnecessary risks. You can use your observation skills to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Even if your supervisor asks you to take on unnecessary risks, protect your life by sticking to the rules. You will only end up putting yourself in danger if you participate in a high-risk activity.
4. Don’t Take the Shortcuts
Although using shortcuts sounds good in theory, it is pretty unsafe in reality. No matter how tempted you are to finish your task quickly, follow the proper steps. It would protect you from potential safety hazards and help you complete your job efficiently.
Companies should avoid the risks involved in lone working by adopting a proactive approach and evaluating the real danger. The first step is to list potential hazards, identify the solutions, and implement them for the worker's safety.
Worker safety is paramount, which is why every company has specific guidelines to protect its employees. But keeping lone workers safe is a bit more complex than that. For the safety of those who work in isolation, the company and the workers must work together.
The Dos and Don’ts mentioned above can help you navigate life as a lone worker. If you stick to the rules, you can avoid dangerous situations and keep yourself safe while working in isolation.
About the author
Mykola Haichenko is a content marketing manager at Visme. He has a thing for technology and is patiently waiting for technology to have something for him. While waiting, Mykola gets in touch with everyone interested in link building.