If you perform an activity that is carried out in isolation from other workers without close or direct supervision there is a high chance you or your team will be considered lone workers. While working alongside your team may not be an option, looking out for your staff should be a top priority.
People are classed as lone workers if they:
- Travel alone as part of the job
- Travel long distances
- Work in remote or isolated locations
- Work unsupervised for an extended period of time – this includes in a separate area away from other workers on larger sites.
- Work late night or shift work
If this sounds like your workforce, then you need to consider the following:
Naturally, lone workers need to be more aware of risks or threats to the safety of themselves or the equipment/material they are working with.
Working on your own can be lonely. With no co-workers or customers to interact with or bounce off, people can become isolated.
Make sure you arrange regular catch-ups to check-in with your team. This could be a simple phone call once a day, group messages or video calls. Don’t underestimate the power of human interaction in these times.
Remote or lone workers require the exact same level of training, development opportunities or important information, as other employees.
In times like this, keep the lines of communication open with everyone. Just because they aren’t next to you on-site, doesn’t mean they should be less informed.
Set your team up for success. Ensure all lone workers have the technology and equipment they need to carry out their jobs as usual.
Employee safety should be your highest priority. Whether they’re working on-site or in an office or remotely, all risks should be considered and managed accordingly.
Protect your team by ensuring they have access to the following:
- The necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
- Complete first aid kit and trained in first aid.
- A fire extinguisher that has been checked recently and certified (fire extinguishers need to be checked every 12-months in New Zealand).
- Means of communication in emergencies, such as a cell phone or two-way radios.
- GPS or location trackers for those working in isolated locations.
- The HazardCo app
Communication is key
Whether you have multiple staff working remotely or only a handful, set up a buddy system. It may sound basic, but this is a simple and easy way to not only increase the safety of your team but increase the lines of communication and engagement.
Have team members check in with each other on a daily basis, share their location, daily workload, and encourage a bit of banter. By doing this, you raise the likelihood that if something does go wrong, it is picked up in a reasonable time.
Develop an Emergency Plan
Use the Emergency Plan template in your HazardCo Hub to design a plan for how you can get help quickly to your workers in an emergency. Make sure that this plan is tested and all workers who need to know have been informed of the plan. The idea of having the plan is to cover how (or where) you can get help to your workers should an incident occur. As an employer ensure that you hold up-to-date emergency contact details for your workers.
The biggest tip we can give you is to look out for your team as if they were still with you on-site, or in the office.