Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Loneliness of The Lone Worker, Their Security & Your Corporate Liability

STRAIGHT TALKING

The Loneliness of The Lone Worker, 
Their Security & Your Corporate Liability

Real Estate Agents attacked!  

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/Index-police-searching-driver-suv-real-estate-agents-31512929

This is not the year of feeling safe or comfortable regarding your personal security.  Physical, cyber or even family wise.  Physical attacks have increased on the streets and behind closed doors.  Domestic violence has surged and rape, including sexual assault, is off the charts.  All demand reviewing and changing society, if that were possible, in this world of anti-social communications. Believe it or not, there are answers and simple solutions.

What about the lone worker?

The Lone Worker is one who works by themselves without close or direct supervision. In fact anybody who works alone, including contractors, self-employed people and employee, are classed as a lone worker.

Lone workers include:

  • people in fixed establishments where only one person works on the premises, e.g. in small workshops, kiosks, gas stations, shops and home-workers
  • people work separately from others, e.g. in factories, warehouses, some research and training establishments, leisure centers
  • people who work outside normal hours, e.g. office cleaners, security guards, special production, maintenance or repair staff, etc.
  • people who work working away from their fixed base, e.g.  on construction, plant installation, maintenance and cleaning work, electrical repairs, elevator repairs, painting and decorating, vehicle recovery/tow truck drivers, etc.
  • agricultural and forestry workers
  • service workers, e.g. rent collectors, postal staff, social workers, children's and families services investigators, medical home helps, district nurses, pest control workers, truck and delivery drivers, engineers, architects, real estate agents, sales representatives and similar professionals visiting domestic and commercial premises.
There are many more and include those that visit homes of the disabled, mentally ill and of course the unknown.  Do we really know what we are sending our lone workers into?  Have you a prepared plan for these increased eventualities?

It is an employers compliance with Duty of Care and Corporate Governance to take the steps to evaluate for all parties, that includes the parties being visited too!  Liability is always the issue in this litigious society of ours.  Due Diligence is not just a phrase, it is there to set an example and be followed.  Negating your obligations regarding security and safety of all concerned, is not to be taken lightly, especially in the eventual court of law.

Risk Assessment shows us that we are placing our employees and ourselves in many vulnerable situations and barely escaping by the skin of our teeth.

Just what are you employer/corporate obligations and responsibilities?

The employer/corporation holds the main responsibility for protecting the safety and health of all lone workers. Nonetheless, lone workers themselves have a responsibility to help their employer fulfill this duty, and so they must:
  • Take reasonable care to look after their own safety and health
  • Safeguard the safety and health of other people affected by their work
  • Co-operate with their employer’s safety and health procedures
  • Use tools and other equipment properly, in accordance with any relevant safety instructions and training they have been given
  • Not misuse equipment provided for their safety and health
  • Report all accidents, injuries, near-misses and other dangerous occurrences

It is all well and good talking about it, it is required and demanded that actions on all sides are established and adhered to.

So what control measures should be implemented to minimize the risk to lone workers?

The risk assessment will prescribe control measures to be implemented in order to eliminate/minimize the identified risks. Control measures may include:

  • communication is very important: mobile phone, telephone, radio or Covert Blue secure unseen alarm, location and audio solution
  • controlled periodical check-in
  • automatic warning devices, e.g. panic alarms (see Covert Blue), no movement alarms, automatic distress message systems, i.e. pre recorded message sent if not actively cancelled by operative, etc.
  • instruction and training in proper procedures, e.g. code words for potentially violent situations  when combined with mobile phone communication.
  • use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (see Covert Blue)
  • health surveillance
  • first-aid kits and training
  • implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
  • locking and securing place of work
  • implementing correct incident reporting procedures
  • provision of counselling

What provisions should be in place for lone workers in the case of an emergency?
  • Lone workers should be capable of responding correctly to emergencies. Risk assessment should identify foreseeable events.  (see Covert Blue)
  • Emergency procedures should be established and employees trained in them.
  • Information about emergency procedures and danger areas should be given to lone workers who visit your premises.
  • Lone workers should have access to adequate first-aid facilities and mobile workers should carry a first-aid kit suitable for treating minor injuries.
  • Occasionally, the risk assessment may indicate that lone workers need training in first aid.

Then there is the visual record, the Objective Eyewitness, the Body Worn Camera which will record audio and video in the highest quality.  It is for the protection of all parties.  Effective and reduces incidents in the highest percentile.

The Lone Worker is more vulnerable than you think and protective measures must be taken!


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