As spring is now well underway, and we move rapidly towards the summer months, it is easy to become complacent around health and safety and forget about some of the less obvious dangers associated with lone working.
So, as we like to do every month, here in the Safety and Security Round-Up for May 2019, we are focussing our attention on aspects of Lone Worker Safety that are particularly prevalent at this time of year.
More of us find ourselves working outside at this time of year, (whether that is by choice or a necessary part of your job role), and possibly working earlier in the morning or later at night to make the most of the extra hours of daylight.
So, amongst us needs to pay attention to the Safety and Security Round-Up for May 2019?
Almost all of us actually, so read on to find out more!
Lone Working in the Farming Industry
Okay so not all of us drive a combined harvester to work each day, but there are plenty of farmers and farm workers who do; in fact almost 500,000 people work in the agricultural industries, and over 17 million hectares of land in the U.K is dedicated to farming, which according to Government reports has increased as of 2017.
And at this time of year, whether it’s lambing season, haymaking, crop fertilizing or just generally tending to farm machinery after the winter months, many farmers and farm workers are working long hours, often alone or with just one other person, and often are in remote areas countryside.
Now, you might think well that’s okay, a burly farmer doesn’t have to worry about stalking for example, or facing attackers at night, issues that we often focus on here at First2HelpU when it comes to personal safety.
But what does happen at this time of year within the agricultural sector due to the increased working hours and vast distances that farmers work can cover, is there is an increased risk of injury or serious accident, compromising health and safety for those working in the sector, particularly when working alone.
Last year, for example, Northern Ireland saw seven farming related fatalities alone; that’s seven workers who went out to earn a living but who didn’t come home, and it’s seven too many for the families left devastated by the deaths of loved ones doing the job they cared so passionately about, especially if putting some additional safety procedures in place could have prevented any tragedy from occurring.
This is why we highly recommend putting extra safety procedures in place for lone workers within the farming community, such as the simple yet highly effective standard mobile phone solution which offers a two way audio system and countdown timers for the expected duration of a task, giving the user the ability to confirm they are safe and well or raise an escalation incident if an accident has occurred.
Summer Work for Students
Many students will be finishing their exams soon and looking for summer work; this often involves working in the hospitality sector in bars and restaurants and regularly means working unsociable hours.
For employers amongst you who need the extra help during the summer months, it is worth considering what additional safety precautions you can put in place to protect staff who may be finishing their shift in the early hours, especially as there are legal requirements to protect lone workers as set out in by the HSE.
In addition, taking on students to work in the retail sector, for example in a late night garage forecourt or in an off license, often means they will be working alone and unsupervised, so to protect their health and wellbeing, there are products available which can monitor their personal security 24/7, and rather than this being invasive, can offer a vital service to employers and employees alike.
Looking After the Mental Health of Lone Workers
13th – 19th May saw the annual Mental Health Awareness week here in the U.K. and this is another area that employers need to consider when employing lone workers in their organisation.
It is easy for people who work alone to neglect their health and wellbeing, including their mental health, and so a caring and understanding employer who takes care of their employees will be rewarded by loyal, and more productive staff, with less absenteeism and lower recruitment costs.
Ensuring regular communication between the employee and the organisation is crucial to maintain motivation and self-esteem. Organising regular training days and team meetings allow lone workers to come together and discuss the issues that affect them, meaning they don’t feel quite so alone all of the time!
And when an employer can be seen to be taking lone worker personal safety seriously, this demonstrates a commitment to the employee which will automatically have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
So, if you are an employer or an employee, thinking about personal safety this month, why not contact us here, or call us TODAY on 0333 772 9401 to discuss any aspect of personal safety, including the devices and training methods that are available to suit whichever sector you work in.
We have a dedicated team of lone working safety professionals who can offer expert advice and a wealth of knowledge, gained from years of experience to you or your organisation in order to keep employees safe; day or night, whether in a bustling town centre or in a remote landscape.
Contact First2HelpYou TODAY to find out more!
We also have a range of products and services available offering protection for those whose role involves Loneworking, so talk to us today to improve your personal safety.
Our team of experts have years of experience within the lone working safety sector, and we fully understand that it’s often difficult to consider your own safety when you are worried about paying the bills and your boss might not understand your concerns. Our advice is definitely relying on your gut instinct and ask them to talk about your welfare and protection!